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Matthew Daby

Well said Brian!


Beautifully and thoughtfully written. You are an important voice in PDX, we are lucky to have you!

[also could you convince all these hipster-architects to stop making all their buildings black... Black buries the forms and obliterates light and shadow, rendering the structure two dimensional]

Fred Leeson

Driven by corporate greed and poor tax policies, we are devolving into a society of haves and have-nots. We cannot expect the City Council to solve that problem, but the council seems oblivious to it. The palaver about "affordable housing" is meaningless as long as we continue tearing down our most affordable houses. How can young people ever expect to own a house? No way....

Marlon D Warren

Great story Brian, you covered most of the concerns I have about living in Portland. To a large extent everything you said is right on topic ad brings up what needs to be addressed by our leaders, developers and Architects.

Some of the new development is well thought out with quality materials and good design. Comospolitian Tower (BOORA) , Oregon Square (GBD) and Park Ave West (TVA) to name a few.

But far too many projects lack the high quality design and quality materials that we have come to expect in Portland. Just the other day I walked by the Yards on the east end of the Burnside Bridge and it felt like I was walking on the Streets on East Berlin post WWII. Questionable small windows and poor choice of finish materials and colour palate. Just depressing on a rainy Portland day.

We should expect a higher quality of Design, at the point it appears the developers are pushing profits over people and good design is taking a back seat.

Portland Native.

David Dysert

We should be careful not to conflate homelessness with affordable housing or housing affordability. Homelessness is a multifaceted issue requiring a complex and varied response, the majority of which have less to do with physical housing and it’s costs and more to do with economic, social, mental health and addiction challenges. “Affordable Housing” is a very narrow program as it is currently practiced using limited public resources to pay a private developer to offer “below market” rent for a specified period of time (in a below market quality of building which is likely to eventually become a market rate building). “Affordability” is a vague and squishy concept most perceive as the ability of people of modest means to occupy housing in close in, desirable areas regardless of current market trends. Unfortunately there is essentially nothing in our current real estate economy, regulatory framework or zoning codes to provide for this value system. Portland has largely avoided the affordability problem until now NOT because of our values or progressive regulation. We avoided that problem by having the other big problem: a poor economy and lackluster job market. Yes greed is alive and well in our economy (is this news?). Yes we are seeing more out of town money that clearly exhibits a different timeline for return on investment and sense of contribution to the city (although we have several local architecture firms, construction firms, city planning staff and design commissioners willing to do their bidding). Yes the economic and demographic trends of the millennial cohort is dominating the new housing stock typologies (tiny cells of temporary habitation). But before we Portlanders get too high on our horses with indignation perhaps we should ask ourselves why do we not have any programs, policies or regulation to implement and enforce the values we so loudly proclaim and admonish the greedy developers and property owners? Perhaps we should get off our proverbial soap boxes and get into participating in the weeds of policy debate and implementation. (maybe we should ask why we have volumes of minutiae regulating the structures of our built environment and yet lack any jurisdiction for the topic at hand). Perhaps we should ask why we were not paying attention to the tech revolution to our North and South that has left San Francisco and Seattle high priced shells of their former states and why we spent more energy touting our affordability and weirdness instead of planning how to protect it. (Apparently we did a really good job touting it.) Relying on the benevolence of private developers and property owners may have worked out better than should be expected in our more humble provincial past but clearly it appears to be woefully inadequate in our present state of popularity.

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