By Midge Pierce

The Residential Infill Project (RIP) was presented to Council at a February work session as part of a broader Housing Opportunities Initiative. It now moves toward adoption and the public has another chance this month to weigh in on the pros and cons of Planning Bureau amendments. 

Initially scheduled to review Bureau of Planning and Sustainability technicalities, several public proposals are under consideration that could significantly impact the level of densification allowed in formerly single family residential neighborhoods. 

A Deep Affordability concept that emerged at the last public hearing stands out for advocating that allowable units expand from four to six, or potentially more. 

The proposal includes additional height and mass for dwellings when at least half of the units are affordable to those earning no more than 60 percent median family income. A visibility requirement would also be applied to two units. 

To satisfy those concerned about demolition, the Historic Resource Disincentive Amendment was introduced to encourage adaptive re-use and rehabbing buildings for multi-unit uses. It would prohibit more than two units on sites formerly occupied by an historic resource.  

While advocates say more housing will lead to more affordable housing, critics point to the lack of affordability guarantees, the recent spike in vacancies, the environmental damage of new construction and downward projections in the number of Portland newcomers. 

Community members can testify to Council on the amendments Thursday, March 12, 2 pm. For more information on the City perspective, see portland.gov/rip.