Kriston Capps from City Lab (a subpublication of The Atlantic) recently came out with an article highlighting a proposal from a Seattle committee on how to combat the rising cost of housing and rapid population growth in the city. This committee, a hand-picked group of community leaders selected by Seattle's mayor and City Council. recommended that Seattle do away with the single-family residential zoning entirely and instead replace it with a "low-density residential zone", with much of the remaining residential zones being "upzoned" (allowing additional units/multifamily use in the specified zoning). This is a very controversial and cutting-edge solution and is sure to engender much debate in Seattle.
The full article can be found HERE.
So how does this relate to Portland? Portland is facing many of the same challenges Seattle is, with rising home prices, hundreds of people moving to the city each month, and limited space for horizontal growth. Compounding this is Portland's Urban Growth Boundary, which restricts the amount of land available for residential housing. More than anything, this article highlights the struggle between creating affordable housing for a booming population and retaining the historic homes, tranquil neighborhoods, easy commutes, and environmental friendliness for which Portland is known. There are certainly no easy answers for these issues, but we can cast an eye towards our northern neighbors and see how Seattle is coping with the same challenges.