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City introduces new tool to address affordable housing shortage

Last spring the State Legislature adopted SB 1533 that enabled local governments to require affordable housing units be included in new multi-family developments. Under the direction of Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the Portland Housing Bureau is undertaking a process to develop an Inclusionary Housing program that is expected to be adopted by the Portland City Council in December.

As part of this program, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has proposed changes to the Zoning Code that will require new development with 20 or more units to set aside up to 20 percent of the new units as affordable for households earning 80 percent of the median family income (MFI), which is about $58,650 for a family of four. As part of the program, developments will be eligible for density bonuses, fee waivers and tax abatements.  As an alternative, developers will be able to provide affordable units off site, but nearby, or pay a fee into an affordable housing fund.

Read the Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project Proposed Draft.

The public is invited to testify on the Proposed Draft at the upcoming Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) hearing.

Public Hearing: Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project Proposed Draft
Tuesday, Oct.  25, 2016, 4:00 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500A

Check the PSC Calendar one week prior to the scheduled hearing to confirm the date, time and location. Learn how to testify to the PSC; read Tips for Effective Testimony.

The PSC also invites testimony on this proposal through October 25, 2016, in writing:

  • By Email: psc@portlandoregon.gov.
  • By U.S. Mail
    Planning and Sustainability Commission
    City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
    1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201
    Attn: Inclusionary Housing

Note: All testimony to the PSC is considered public record, and testifiers' name, address and any other information included in the testimony will be posted on the website.

Next steps

Following the PSC’s public hearing, the Commission will hold a work session on November 8, 2016, and vote on a recommendation for City Council to consider in December 2016. 

Background

On February 10, 2016, through Resolution No. 37187, City Council asserted its intention to engage in a fair, deliberative, data-driven community discussion of enabling ordinances resulting from the removal of the preemption on inclusionary housing in the 2016 State Legislative Session.

Under the direction of Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the Portland Housing Bureau has introduced the recently formed Inclusionary Housing Program, which mandates the provision of affordable units in new multi-dwelling residential development through changes to the Zoning Code.

In response, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has proposed a set of new regulations to ensure the City complies with the Inclusionary Housing Program and SB1533. The Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project Proposed Draft requires that new construction of more than 20 units include a share of affordable units. The developer may also pay a fee in lieu of constructing affordable units, which will go into an affordable housing fund.

The Inclusionary Housing program is expected to be adopted by the Portland City Council in December, and is one of several tools available to the city to address the shortage of affordable housing.

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