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City Council adopts Oregon’s first Inclusionary Housing Program

New mandate will serve as critical tool for increasing Portland’s affordable housing supply

On December 21, City Council voted unanimously to amend Portland’s Zoning Code and Housing Code to implement an Inclusionary Housing (IH) Program. The new program requires all new multifamily or mixed use development with 20 or more units to set aside some of the units as affordable housing. The new rules go into effect on February 1, 2017.

Watch the videos of City Council sessions about the Inclusionary Housing Program (November 29 and December 14).

Acknowledging that the city is experiencing an unprecedented housing affordability crisis, Mayor Charlie Hales said before he voted, “We’ve committed hundreds of millions of dollars to add more affordable units to Portland’s inadequate supply, but the lack of local policy tools to address the issue continues to price renters and low-income families out of their neighborhoods." 

"Inclusionary Housing is a big and important step that will add another strategy to help provide more affordable housing in Portland. The program will leverage private development to provide affordable units, helping to create the diverse neighborhoods that Portlanders value, and keep Portland a livable city for all."

What is the Inclusionary Housing Program?

The Council-adopted program requires new multifamily development to provide housing affordable to households below 80 percent of median family income (MFI) or $58,650 for a family of four. The program includes an incentive for projects that provide units for households at 60 percent MFI or $43,980 and below.

Specifically, the program will provide:

  • Incentives to offset the cost of providing the affordable units, including Construction Excise Tax (CET) waivers, System Development Charges (SDC) waivers, density bonuses and property tax exemptions.
  • An exemption from minimum parking standards for development projects that are close to transit and provide on-site or off-site affordable dwelling units. This exception applies only to affordable dwelling units that are located on sites that are far from transit. This exception does not apply when a fee-in-lieu of affordable housing is paid.

New construction of 20 or more units must provide those units on-site, off-site or pay a fee in lieu of constructing affordable units, which will go into an affordable housing fund. An “offsite option” allows developers to comply with the inclusionary requirements by either building new units or dedicating existing units at a site that is near the development site.

Acknowledging the difference between the Central City and the rest of Portland

The IH Program identifies two “inclusion rates” to account for the difference in scale and development costs of multifamily development in the Central City versus the rest of Portland.

  • In the Central City: Require projects with 20 or more units to provide 20 percent of units at 80 percent MFI or 10 percent of units at 60 percent MFI.
  • Outside the Central City: Phase in a lower inclusion rate, starting at 15 percent of units at 80 percent MFI and 8 percent of units at 60 percent MFI. On January 1, 2019, the rates will increase to match those in the Central City.

In addition to the Title 33 Zoning Code amendments, other parts of the Inclusionary Housing Program will be implemented through revisions to Title 30, the Housing Code. These provisions include the incentive packages offered to offset the costs to development and a fee schedule for the in-lieu fee option.

Next steps

Changes to the Zoning Code and Housing Code will become effective on February 1, 2017.

Background

The Oregon State Legislature passed SB 1533 on March 3, 2016, authorizing local governments to create inclusionary housing programs. Key provisions of SB 1533 established the level of affordability (80 percent MFI), the maximum share (20 percent), and the requirement that local governments provide incentives to offset some of the costs of providing the affordable units.

Under the direction of Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the Portland Housing Bureau led the community discussion on the proposed Inclusionary Housing Program.

In support, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability proposed a set of new Zoning Code regulations to implement the Inclusionary Housing Program consistent with SB1533.

For more information, visit the Inclusionary Housing Program website and/or the Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project website.

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A final message from Portland Mayor Charlie Hales

The Mayor reflects on the exciting work accomplished by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability during his four-year term.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales

As 2016 and my term come to an end, I’d like to say a few words about the exciting work we’ve accomplished with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

It’s been incredibly satisfying to partner with Director Susan Anderson and her staff on so many groundbreaking projects. From the City’s new 2035 Comprehensive Plan to the globally recognized Climate Action Plan, these plans paved the way for many other outstanding planning and sustainability projects.

Accepting the C40 Cities Award in Mexico City for the best climate action plan was definitely a career highlight for me. It was no single individual effort, though; it was because of BPS staff and all of your hard work to turn these renowned climate and smart growth plans and policies into action.

Already we are checking off some significant actions from the Climate Action Plan “to-do” list, including:

  • A ban on new bulk fossil fuel terminals, another first for our city.  
  • A new Home Energy Score policy that requires home sellers to share information about their home’s energy use and costs.
  • Commercial Building Energy Reporting to help renters and buyers of commercial space make informed decisions while recognizing the most efficient buildings.
  • An Electric Vehicle Strategy that focuses on converting the remaining City vehicles on the road to electric vehicles.
  • New solar panels on City-owned buildings that doubled the amount of solar power we can generate.

At the same time, housing supply and affordability reached crisis levels this past year, and the City and BPS responded with the tools at our disposal. We increased the number of mass shelters and the beds they can accommodate to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. We created new rules requiring older homes to be deconstructed rather than demolished. Through the Residential Infill Project, we’re protecting our neighborhoods with new proposals for single-dwelling zones that will reduce the scale of new homes and additions, and create more housing choices for households of different sizes, needs and preferences. And we responded to state legislation authorizing local governments to create inclusionary housing programs with new rules to support housing developers as they build more affordable units.

On climate and housing, we’ve made great strides.

But it’s no secret that I have a strong inner planner. And I think this has made my partnership with BPS incredibly fruitful as we prepare for a quarter million more people over the next 20 years. The team that worked on the 2035 Comprehensive Plan included many people, from land use and economic planners, demographers and communicators, equity and public involvement specialists, district liaisons and an award winning GIS team (for the Map App). Portland is lucky to have some of the best planners in the country — and we’re blessed to have some of the most committed civic leaders, like the all-volunteer members of the Planning and Sustainability Commission, and community members who provided over 10,000 pieces of testimony on every aspect of this landmark plan.

City Council will next turn its attention to the Central City 2035 Plan in early 2017. Portland’s urban core is the city’s biggest neighborhood, and BPS is working to ensure that it becomes even more accessible, vibrant, walkable, bikable and full of amenities. In line with Portland’s other award-winning plans, CC2035 promises to take Portland’s city center well into the 21st century.

I’d say we’ve had a pretty good run. I’ll count my four years working with the infinitely intelligent and passionate people of BPS as some of my very best. Thank you for helping to make Portland an even better place to live, work and play — today and for the next generation.

Happy Holidays!

Charlies Hales
Mayor, City of Portland

City Council to cast final vote in Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan

Adoption of Recommended Early Implementation Package is the last step before the 2035 Comprehensive Plan is sent to state for acknowledgement

Last Wednesday, December 14, 2016, marked the beginning of the Comprehensive Plan Update’s final chapter. That afternoon, City Council formally accepted the substitute ordinance and exhibits reflecting their November 22 amendments to the Recommended Early Implementation Package. This package includes:

  • Zoning Code changes
  • Zoning Map changes (including Major Public Trails)
  • A new Community Involvement Program
  • Transportation System Plan – Stage 2

Together these will implement the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, adopted on June 15, 2016.

This Wednesday, December 21, City Council will consider Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan for the very last time, as they vote on the new Zoning Code and Map. Built on a solid foundation from the 2012 Portland Plan, the Climate Action Plan and Portland’s 1980 Comprehensive Plan, the 2035 Comprehensive Plan represents the input of tens of thousands of Portlanders to make Portland more prosperous, healthy, educated and equitable, as well as, continuing the commitment to linking land use and transportation decisions.

City Council Vote on Comp Plan Early Implementation Package
December 21, 2016, 2 p.m.
City Hall Council Chambers
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, OR 97204

Time and date are subject to change. Check the Auditor’s website to confirm meeting details. The Auditor’s website also allows you to watch a live stream or recorded video of the meeting. 

Final Steps
In early 2017, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will organize the legislative record and transmit City Council’s decision to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development for “acknowledgment.” Once transmitted, a “Notice of Adoption” will be mailed to all who testified on the Recommended Early Implementation Package.

Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan will tentatively take effect on January 1, 2018, following state acknowledgement.

Questions
Call the Comp Plan Helpline at 503-823-0195.

Got extra garbage that won’t fit in your cart?

Homeowners and renters have options for taking care of extra holiday garbage and bulky items.

image of extra garbageAfter holiday entertaining and gift giving, you may find excess packaging and bulky items filling your garbage can. Here are some options:

  • Set out an extra garbage can or bag on your collection day for a $5 fee. Extra can must be 32 gallons or smaller and weigh 55 pounds or less.
  • Items that are too big for your garbage container (such as appliances or furniture) can be picked up for an extra charge. Find your garbage and recycling company and call them a week in advance for a cost estimate.
  • Renters: Talk to the landlord about setting out large or bulky items or extra garbage for collection. There is a fee for these services.
  • Apartment residents can alert the property manager to the need for an additional pickup if there is excess garbage and recycling.

Reminder: Contact Metro’s recycling hotline at 503-234-3000 to learn where to recycle items that cannot be left at the curb.

Recycling options abound for holiday related materials like spent batteries, strings of lights, electronics, Styrofoam™, packing peanuts, non-curbside plastics and other items not accepted in your blue Portland Recycles! roll cart.

Need help remembering garbage day?

Visit www.garbagedayreminders.com to receive free email reminders.

Have a question for our Curbside Hotline Operator?

Submit your question online or call 503-823-7202.

Portland reaches 100 percent renewable goal for City operations

Combining onsite renewable energy generation, like solar, with the purchase of renewable energy credits, City operations are now powered completely by clean electricity.

The City of Portland will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy for fiscal year 2015-2016. Last year (FY 2014-15), the City got very close, reaching 71 percent, but this is the first year that Portland has met the 100 percent goal.

In 2015, Portland City Council adopted the Sustainable City Government 2030 Environmental Performance Objectives, directing City operations to purchase or generate clean power for 100 percent of electricity needs.

The 2015 Climate Action Plan further calls for 15 percent of the City’s electricity use to be from onsite generation of renewable energy, like solar and biogas. For this current fiscal year, seven percent of the City’s electricity came from onsite renewable energy generation assets.

Thanks to Mayor Charlie Hales’ staunch support of solar for City operations, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has been working steadily to increase the amount of solar electric capacity installed on City facilities. Two new installations currently underway move the City closer to achieving our onsite energy generation goal of 15 percent.

North Police Precinct

Currently under construction and expected to be completed by mid-January 2017, the North Police Precinct station will be topped off with a 63 kilowatt solar electric system, which will produce about 70,000 kWh annually. This translates into a reduction of the power purchased from the electric utility by approximately 6 percent and will save about $6,650 in annual electricity costs.

Funded through a generous grant from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program, all of the renewable electricity produced onsite will be used by the North Police Precinct building. Savings from the onsite energy production will flow through the operating budget of the Portland Police Bureau, city General Fund and ultimately passed on to taxpayers.

The North Precinct site at NE Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and NE Killingsworth streets was chosen because of its prominence in the neighborhood and its suitability as a solar system host. The building has excellent access to the sun, a brand new roof and approval from Police Bureau leadership and the facility managers. Further, the project has strong support from the local businesses, schools and neighbors.

Fire Station 1

Last month, the City was selected for funding from Portland General Electric’s Renewable Development Fund grant program to pilot our first solar-plus-storage facility at Fire Station 1. Located at SW Naito Parkway and SW Ash Street, Fire Station 1 is the main incident command post for Portland Fire & Rescue.

This project is intended to increase the resiliency of critical City infrastructure in the event of a prolonged power outage, like the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. Unlike traditional back-up generators that run on fossil fuels, solar plus storage installations are designed to keep critical power loads functioning with a renewable power source (the sun!) for a prolonged period of time. The new system will save $3,300 annually in electricity costs.

As more photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage systems come online, the importance of training first responders how to use these types of systems will continue to grow. The Fire Station 1 installation will help others in the firefighting and emergency response communities learn how to design and use solar-plus-storage installations.

This project would not be possible without the grant from PGE. Energy Trust of Oregon will provide technical assistance with the design and feasibility analysis.

Purchasing Renewables

The remainder of the City’s renewable electricity goal is being met by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs). The City purchases RECs to address the remaining electricity purchased from the utility companies. RECs offset the City’s use of fossil-fuel based power.

RECs represent the environmental, social and non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. They are the accepted legal instrument used to substantiate renewable electricity use claims. 

For fiscal year 2015-16, the City is purchasing 128,383 megawatt-hours (128,383,000 kWh) of renewable electricity use in City operations. That’s enough electricity to power about 1,300 Portland homes for one year!

RECs represent a majority of the City’s renewable electricity portfolio for the time being. However, the City intends to keep adding more onsite renewable energy generation so that over time, the REC portion of our electricity mix will decrease.

Thanks to installations like North Police Precinct and Fire Station 1, and with thanks to Office of Management and Finance, Portland Water Bureau, Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Parks and Recreation and Portland Fire and Rescue for purchasing RECs, the City will meet its 100 percent renewable electricity goal for the first time!