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The cost to purchase a home in Portland, Oregon has increased significantly since over the last decade. The median price to purchase a home (condominium, townhouse, duplex, single family home, etc.) has increased from $157/square-ft. in January 2012 to $277/square-ft in January 2018.
Portland Is Making Housing Unaffordable by Jack Kerfoot
The reasons for the significant increase in home purchase price included dramatic jobs growth following the 2008 Financial Crisis and demand for homes out pacing supply. However, recent increases in home prices are also being driven by dramatic increases in fees by the Portland city government.
The city's inability to manage a multi-billion-dollar budget has resulted in a quest by the members of City Council to squeeze more revenue from the private sector. The Bureau of Development Services has more than doubled fees for permits to build homes in Portland.
In the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood in Southeast Portland, a project has begun to build two new homes on a large lot with an existing home. Portland City Council have actively supported small scale infill housing projects, like this current development.
Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has mandated an enhanced sidewalk be built during the construction of the two new homes. The new sidewalk will improve pedestrian safety in the neighborhood. However, the construction of the sidewalk will result in the removal of two mature trees from the lot.
Although PBOT has mandated the removal of the two trees, Portland Parks & Recreation (PPR) has now accessed a substantial fine to the builder for the removal of the two trees. The total cost for the building permits, construction of the enhanced sidewalk, removal of two trees and fine for the removal of the two trees will increase the construction cost for the two modest homes by over $300,000!
Collaboration between Portland City Bureaus is nonexistent. Collaboration with major construction organizations representing the private sector and the city's bureaus that develop the processes and write the building codes is also nonexistent. The end result are inefficient, dysfunctional city bureaus which are contributing to the dramatic rise in housing costs.
If you agree with me and want to see our city find solutions to more affordable housing in our city, please consider adding your name to my list of public supporters for my campaign.
Together we can find solutions to the issues facing our city. Thank you for reading this blog and thank you for your support.
This article was reprinted with permission from Jack Kerfoot. Jack is a candidate for Portland Commissioner.
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