development should be affordable, high-quality and
Many Portlanders appreciate the need for density and
understand that growth will lead to an increase in the
housing stock. However, they want new development to
match the character of the surrounding area, to be environmentally
sensitive and to be accompanied with the appropriate
and necessary infrastructure. Many people are worried
about the character, quality and price of current infill
development, as well as the recent surge in condominium
development. They are also very worried about gentrification
and maintaining neighborhood diversity and affordability.
Respondents would like the Portland Development Commission
or the City to provide financial relief to long-time
residents of gentrifying neighborhoods while reducing
tax breaks and incentives for developers. They would
also like to see development dollars spread more equitably
among Portland’s different neighborhoods, with more
focus on neglected areas in North Portland, East Portland
and Southeast Portland and less focus downtown.
quality of residential infill can be improved.
are concerned about accelerating condominium development.
- Portlanders value diversity
and want neighborhoods to house residents of varying
- Development spending should
be focused on residential improvements in neglected
quality of residential infill can be improved.
- Many respondents envision residential infill
that is architecturally varied, environmentally
conscious, sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood
and affordable to individuals across a range
- However, much recent infill development
does not match the character and charm of
surrounding historic houses.
- There are many specific complaints about
infill that is architecturally inappropriate,
- Large houses on small lots (“McMansions”)
- “Tall, skinny” houses in Northeast
and Southeast on subdivided lots; and
- Row houses that appear cheap and unattractive.
- There are also complaints about infill
stressing established neighborhoods because
new developments frequently do not offer adequate
access to parking, greenspace and other amenities.
have noticed a trend that has me very
discouraged. High density buildings are
being built in the old-house neighborhoods.
These new buildings completely dwarf the
houses around them and block the views.
Staring at a 40 ft. wall that’s 10 ft.
away from your window does not improve
don’t mind the idea of smaller homes being
infilled on larger lots but Portland needs
to develop stricter design and materials
standards to make these homes a nice place
to live and something that will be nice
addition to the neighborhoods instead
of a poorly designed eye sore.”
see nicer structures built in neighborhoods
where values are higher, why can’t the
same care and standards be given to neighborhoods
that aren’t quite there yet? This neighborhood
is full of early 1900 houses, someday
values will be quite high here and there
will be these ugly cheap houses in amongst
the nice ones that don’t fit the character
- Develop more multi-family courtyard
living that offers a small number of units
with shared garden and greenspace.
- Create more multi-use buildings in neighborhoods.
- Provide incentives to make high-quality,
“green” infill affordable to middle-class
- Require developers of condos and other dense
infill to pay for upgrades to neighborhood
infrastructure such as roads and schools and
to include adequate parking and greenspace
in their developments.
- “Find out how to make compromises and 'build
up' in places that people might not want that.
Find out the root of their concerns. If it
is that they don’t want busy streets filled
with cars, then find a way to improve mass
transit to the area, etc…”
are concerned about accelerating condominium
- Condos are being built in subduction zones
on the waterfront.
- Condo development is being subsidized by
the City when many people feel that developers
could easily afford to build them without
- Some condo developments lack sufficient
greenspace or play space for children.
- Condos are unaffordable to middle-class
families with children.
- Condo developments are perceived as catering
to people from out of town.
- Condos on the South Waterfront block cherished
views of Mt. Hood.
- Large glass condos create a “yuppified”
feeling like Hong Kong or Seattle.
- Condos are replacing affordable rental
units and pushing lower-income people out
of the downtown area.
- Some condos are not supported by sufficient
parking or public transportation.
would like the powers at be to leave alone
the quirkyness that makes this city unique.
Too much condo style development is destroying
this beautiful city. Too much money is
being wasted on huge projects that benefit
only a small few individuals.”
- Condos are aesthetically homogeneous and
are accused of ranging from architecturally
boring to ugly.
- Condo developments create neighborhood parking
hassles because they lack sufficient parking.
would like to see] zoning laws where people
can’t destroy historical old homes and
replace them with dense condos – it makes
the city unlivable. Greed is getting in
the way of our lifestyle, like in NoPo:
don’t destroy it and turn it into a snobby
eclectic 23rd Avenue. Preserve what we
density housing would be a lot easier
to appreciate if it were affordable for
those working a low wage job, and if it
came with a corresponding commitment to
providing open natural spaces within our
- “For every new condo built, I’d
like to see the owner provide an enjoyable
urban open space within easy walking distance
for the public to enjoy at no cost.”
value diversity and want neighborhoods to
house residents of varying income levels.
- Portlanders value that anyone can live in
the city and want to protect that idea. There
needs to be places where people with low incomes
can co-exist with those with more income.
- A large number of respondents express concerns
regarding gentrification and the negative
impact this has on long-time residents.
- Respondents want to see neighborhoods improve
but they also want long-time residents to
continue to be able to afford to live in these
improved neighborhoods. This is summed up
by one as a request to “revitalize, not gentrify.”
- For more on this topic, see Urban
Livability: Neighborhood Livability and
2030] Development of neighborhoods can
happen and former residents can still
live in those places.”
driven housing and gentrification of neighborhoods
does not create good urban conditions.
Portland needs to maintain diversity.”
- Focus City assistance on tax breaks
and other forms of help for long-time residents
of gentrifying neighborhoods as opposed to
tax breaks for developers and purchasers of
spending should be focused on residential
improvements in neglected areas.
- A significant amount of frustration is
voiced over the subsidization of residential
improvements downtown and in the Pearl.
- Portlanders want the City to focus first
on uplifting neglected parts of town and
developing housing that is affordable to
a wide range of Portlanders.
- These topics are discussed in more length
in the chapters on Government:
Spending and Urban
Livability: Neighborhood Livability.