SE Uplift Land Use & Transportation Committee (LUTC) wrapped up a four month learning and discussion series on housing, displacement, and our single-dwelling zones. The focus of our series was to better understand the history and impacts of our current land use patterns and explore current policy proposals (HB 2001 and Residential Infill Project) in those zones. The group also expanded upon the scheduled conversation and explored displacement impacts and potential solutions, climate change and land use patterns, the urban growth boundary, affordable housing policies and strategies, ownership options, financing options and more. The group also took and unexpected deep dive into housing data. However, the conversation is by no means over, and the LUTC will likely continue to explore these issues and invite additional experts and professionals to unpack displacement, the many aspects of housing, climate change, and more. For a summary of the sessions and additional resources, review the information below and continue to engage with the Land Use and Transportation Committee at SE Uplift.
Understanding the context
June 2019 Session 1: Exploring the History of our Single-Dwelling Zones
Meeting Summary: At the June Land Use and Transportation Committee (LUTC) Allen Lazo from the Fair Housing Council of Oregon summarized the evolution of how single-dwelling zones came to be from the 1920’s to now. Also how their formation contributed (along with a number of other housing and finance policies and practices) to the stark neighborhood segregation and wealth inequality we see still in our neighborhoods today. He also shared some current policy proposals across the state and locally that are challenging our understanding of “normal” land use patterns and housing policy, but are in fact rooted in a racist and elitist past. The group was very focused on the issue of displacement and how to prevent that moving forward with any policy proposal.
Learn More: If you were not able to attend the June Session, watch these two short videos: (1) Segregated by Design and (2) “Zoning Matters: How Land-Use Policies Shape Our Lives”. These videos summarize the history of zoning and housing policies and practices that intentionally segregated people by race and income over the last century which has had devastating and lasting effects on African Americans in particular. If you’d like to dive into the history further, “The Color of Law, A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein is an excellent in depth examination of that history. Additionally, the Fair Housing Council of Oregon has resources and occasional training/presentation opportunities that dive into this topic and other Oregon-specific tactics to discriminate within the housing sector.
July 2019 Session 2: Reviewing the Housing Data
Understanding the Present and Looking to the Future
August 2019 Session 3: Diving into Displacement & Exploring other Planning Tools for Housing (Urban Growth Boundary)
September 2019 Session 4: Discussing the Future – Housing Policy & Residential Infill Project (RIP)
Meeting Summary: City of Portland’s Housing Bureau has been working to understand and solve the housing crisis in Portland and, in particular, for the most housing insecure in our community. They produce an annual “State of Housing” report which contains much needed understanding and data on housing need. In September, Jessica Conner, Senior Policy and Planning Coordinator at the Housing Bureau provided the group with an overview of affordable housing and displacement programs the Bureau has available, how they work in partnership with the other Bureaus to support renters, increase access to ownership, implement supportive policies, build affordable housing, and help people who have been previously displaced return to their neighborhoods.