Moving testimony from park residents, housing advocates and others convinced the Portland City Council of the importance of protecting manufactured dwellings as a type of affordable housing – and mobile home parks as strong communities.
After hearing public testimony on Wednesday, August 22, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to adopt zone changes that would create a new base zone for Portland’s manufactured dwelling parks. The intent of the zone changes is to increase housing security for people living in mobile home parks. The emergency ordinance went into effect at 12 a.m. on Thursday, August 23.
Dozens of park residents and low-income housing advocates turned out to testify to City Council. Many of them shared the sentiments of East Portland resident John Mulvey, who said, “These parks can be the only homeownership option for many people. They are multigenerational communities, where people look out for each other."
After hearing testimony from residents as well as park owners, Commissioners thanked community members who testified and praised the tactical significance of using the zoning code to protect vulnerable Portlanders.
"The City wants to support the long-term stability of these parks," Mayor Ted Wheeler said.
Commissioner Amanda Fritz was more sanguine. "These are wonderful communities, wonderful places to live, with a real sense of belonging," she said.
Why this is important
Today, roughly 3,000 households live in manufactured dwelling parks (MDP), mostly in East Portland. The zone changes will support the continued operation of these mobile home parks. They will:
- Resolve nonconforming uses, ensuring the parks will not be converted to other uses such as single or multi-family housing.
- Create an affordable housing bonus to incentivize the creation of affordable units.
- Increase density at 52 MDPs, providing financial incentives for park owners and allowing more housing units to be created on these sites.
- Expand density transfers to any other sites outside the Central City, thus monetizing the property even if additional units cannot be supported.
Together, these changes should help protect the residents of these communities from displacement.
As Anthony Knoke, a resident of Arbor Lodge Mobile Home Park and disabled veteran, said before the Council vote on August 22, “We are the poor, the elderly, the mentally ill and the disabled. In my park, there are five families that own about half the park. Whole families. Grandmothers, mothers, daughters, brothers-in-law, sisters, children. They take care of their elderly, they take care of each other, they help take care of me.”
Read media coverage of the deliberations and vote
Local media covered the project and the vote. Read their stories:
- OPB: Portland Approves Protection for Mobile Home Parks
- OPB: Will Rezoning Portland's Manufactured Home Parks Help Save Them?
- Tribune: Portland enacts new zone to prevent redevelopment of mobile home parks
- Tribune: Council mulls rezoning to shield residents of affordable mobile home parks
- Oregonian: Portland approves plan to preserve mobile home parks
For more information, visit the Manufactured Dwelling Park Project home page.