BBPDX Testifies to the Planning and Sustainability Commission
On May 8th, several BBPDX members and staff testified before the City of Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) regarding the proposed Residential Infill Program.
We encourage the PSC to "act boldly now to ensure that Portland continues to be a great place for all to live and do business."
Read our full testimony below:
"My name is Ashley Henry. I am the Chief Collaboration Officer for a nonprofit called Business For A Better Portland. We are a membership organization comprised of over 200 Portland companies that came together in 2017 to address some of Portland’s greatest challenges including affordable housing, homelessness, transportation and economic development. We are testifying today because we know that it is critical to the future of Portland’s economy that City policy stimulate the development of market-rate ‘workforce’ housing.
Already, our members are finding that it’s difficult to find qualified workers for their businesses due to rapidly increasing rents. As renters are pushed to Portland’s outskirts, it is challenging to sustain entry level jobs in the urban core. As our workforce is driven farther from our business centers, people are forced into longer commutes and increased auto dependence, compounding our region’s transportation challenges. You have the opportunity to address both housing and transportation challenges with your policy decisions.
In order to keep our testimony brief, we encourage you to refine the policy in the following ways:
1. Expand ‘housing options’ and internal conversions to the entire city. Internal
conversion are the likeliest way to create affordable housing because of their relatively low cost of construction.
2. Eliminate parking minimums. arking minimums increase costs by lowering buildable housing area or else introducing a sunken garage structure
Lastly, we ask you to consider the social and economic cost of failing to meet this goal. We recognize that you are on the receiving end of a lot of pressure from people who would like for things to remain the same. Their voices are loud, and unlike our members who are busy running their businesses, employing thousands of Portlanders and creating economic opportunity for the entire region, they do not have time to attend and testify.
In the absence of bold action on your part, Portland will succumb to the same fate as other cities where only the most wealthy can afford to live. onsider that the loudest voices you hear today are the voices of those who are not yet Portlanders. Please do not place politics above prosperity. Act boldly and act now to ensure that Portland continues to be a great place for all to live and do business.