Letters to the Editor January 2019

Dear Commissioner Eudaly,

Thank you for having a staff member write to answer my concerns about the Residential Infill Project (RIP).

I wrote to you and the other Portland Commissioners because I feel very strongly that RIP will mainly benefit developers, will not meaningfully increase affordability, and will have many unintended and undesirable side effects.

Let’s focus on my concern that, in many neighborhoods, a standard 50’ X 100’ lot -– zoned for one house (R5) only a few short years ago – has already been rezoned to R2.5 and under RIP’s ‘a’ overlay would allow two duplexes, each with an ADU. That is a six-fold increase in density. I am pretty familiar with this as it pertains to my own block.

Your friendly, reasonable letter via your Constituent Relations Specialist states: “An extra living unit (such as an ADU) could provide affordable housing to a family member or friend in need. It could also be used as a rental property, providing a new stream of income for existing property owners.”

And further: “I support adapting existing structures to accommodate an attached ADU or build an ADU in a yard.”

I believe that most Portland residents, including myself, would agree entirely, but this is not what RIP proposes.

RIP is a wholesale experiment allowing super-densification, while guaranteeing nothing in the way of affordability, and almost certainly having detrimental impacts on infrastructure, parking, green spaces, and more.

RIP will incentivize demolition, even though the greenest home is an existing home. Do you not understand what RIP would truly accomplish? Or if you believe I misunderstand, please feel free to educate me.

There are so many red flags, I will consider just one more: Trees lower city air temperatures, reduce air pollution, and play an important role in mitigating climate change.

Whenever we see a small affordable bungalow demolished to make way for tall, skinny townhouses (often selling for around 1 million dollars each) or duplexes (wherein one of the units often becomes an Airbnb rental), we also watch the removal of yards (with their greenery and permeable surfaces) and trees.

Please do not allow RIP to move forward. Instead advocate for what your letter to me mistakes for RIP. Yes, make it easier for homeowners to add an ADU and develop a basement apartment. Find ways to, as you state, “strongly advocate for policies that will prevent homes from being demolished.”

I applaud you for the goals in your letter to me. I beg you to re-evaluate RIP in light of your own stated values.

Thank you so much. I know there are many pressing issues facing the City Council. I thank you for your service and urge you to allot the time needed to fully understand RIP.

Observe who is pressing for these changes to zoning. Please be on the right side of the history of our city.


Carol Poliak, SE Portland Resident

Letters to the Editor January 2019

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