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Stephanie Reyes analyzed 1,379 policies and programs last year, all dedicated to inclusionary housing, the mandatory or voluntary inclusion of affordable housing units as part of market-rate or luxury developments.
One of the insights she came to realize: it’s important for cities to provide certainty in the market about whatever policies they choose to adopt. If developers think they can wait out a policy that the city might change its mind about, they’ll try to. Inclusionary housing policies need to be seen as a permanent part of the regulatory environment before they can work, she says.
So what does it mean when Portland appears now to be doubling-back on the inclusionary housing policy it adopted a year ago? Were the critics correct who said the policy would backfire?
“I can say with a huge amount of certainty that the answer is: We can’t know yet,” says Reyes, state and local policy manager for the Grounded Solutions Network.
When Portland voted to enact a mandatory inclusionary zoning policy late in 2016 — requiring some developers to set aside 20 percent of new apartment units for families earning less than 80 percent of median income — it was coming off half a decade of growth in multifamily construction. According to a report in The Oregonian, the city permitted an average of 3,200 apartments a year over the five years from from 2012 to 2016. In 2017, the number of permitted units shot up to 6,250, according to the report. But in the year after the inclusionary housing policy took effect, developers sought permits for only 12 projects that met its 20-unit threshold, totaling just 654 units.
“Before we enacted inclusionary zoning in 2016, a mad rush of developers and property owners and architects pulled out an enormous amount of permits—a historic number,” says Brendan Finn, chief of staff to Portland Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “We obviously were informed of what was happening, and kind of referred to it as the pre-inclusionary zoning pipeline.”
But while the number of multifamily permits has fallen dramatically in the last year, many developers have yet to move forward on projects that were permitted before the inclusionary zoning policy was enacted. So last month, the city council voted to reactivate its old incentive program for projects that were permitted under the former regulations, in an attempt to both kickstart those developments and squeeze a measure of affordability out of them. The program, called MULTE, offers tax breaks for multifamily projects that set aside 20 percent of units for reduced-rate rents. The incentive will only be offered for projects permitted in the run-up to February of last year, when the inclusionary zoning policy took effect.
Finn says Portland is not abandoning its inclusionary zoning policy. The city is offering MULTE for certain earlier projects because it wants to keep encouraging a growth in housing supply. It might make changes to the inclusionary zoning policy as it gathers more data on the impact it’s having on the real estate market, but the policy is here to stay.
Reyes says that every city that’s considering mandatory inclusionary zoning needs to find a balance that promotes affordable housing without preventing growth in the market-rate housing supply. In Portland’s case, the past year’s drop in permits might be dramatic, but it’s not necessarily evidence that the inclusionary policy as a concept is hurting the market.
“The question in Portland is, did they find that line correctly?” Reyes says.
There’s no question that the advent of the inclusionary zoning policy caused the rush to pull permits, both Reyes and Finn say. Developers would naturally want to avoid any such regulations if they could. But the fact that so many projects were permitted in such a short time is probably contributing to the current slowdown in the market, along with increases in construction costs and other variables.
Reyes highlights the distinction between those who own property and those who build on it.
“Over time, what studies have shown throughout the years, is that generally, the cost of providing the affordable units ends up getting passed back to the landowner in the form of reduced land prices,” Reyes says.
Landowners can’t simply take their business elsewhere the way that developers can. So ultimately land costs need to adjust so that developers can still make their financing work, Reyes says.
“It’s confusing,” Reyes says. “It’s this new thing. It takes time for landowners to face up to the new reality.”
Finn says that despite the slowdown, and the city’s effort to overcome it, those adjustments are starting to happen.
“[Inclusionary housing] is already part of the nomenclature of the development community,” Finn says. “It’s already there. It’s already built into the pro formas. We still have a lot of cranes in the air.”
The city may adjust the incentives that are included in the program or make other changes to the policy based on market studies, to make sure the requirements are balanced. But Finn believes that Portland officials are in it for the long haul, and in fact are braced for a much bigger slowdown in the market. Construction and land costs, housing supply, and policy changes could all be affecting the local market in Portland. But the national economy is bound to take a downturn sooner or later, Finn says, and when it hits the Portland development market, some people are going to blame inclusionary housing.
“There’s a firm belief amongst Portland City Council members that that’s going to happen …” Finn says. “I think the council is pretty solid in the fact that they’re not going to be pressured to change the policy because of what’s happening on a national scale.”
Dr. Steven Holt chairs an affordable housing oversight committee for the city of Portland.
We discuss the latest regional business news with Suzanne Stevens, editor of the Portland Business Journal.
In 2015, Portland kicked off a multi-million dollar affordable housing strategy in North and Northeast Portland that had a groundbreaking idea built in: give preference for housing and home loans to those who’d been displaced from the historically black and gentrifying neighborhoods. Three years later, the latest report from the strategy’s oversight committee expressed concern that it’s not helping people fast enough. We hear from Dr. Steven Holt, chair of the oversight committee, and Leslie Goodlow, business operations manager for the Portland Housing Bureau, ahead of a city council presentation this week.
As a follow-up to our recent look at Measure 11 sentencing for juvenile offenders, we look at another part of juvenile justice in Oregon — probation. Meant to intervene in youth’s lives before they escalate towards incarceration, probation officers are tasked with balancing accountability and rehabilitation. We hear about probation practices in Multnomah County with the county’s Juvenile Services Division Director, Deena Corso, and Sang Dao, a formerly incarcerated youth who now works for the county as a Juvenile Court Counselor.
Thousands take to downtown Portland in national March For Our Lives event (Photo: Tristan Fortsch/KATU)
Thousands take to downtown Portland in national March For Our Lives event (Photo: Tristan Fortsch/KATU)
PORTLAND, Ore. —
Thousands of people marched through downtown Portland Saturday as part of the national March For Our Lives event.
The national movement was organized by the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The Portland march kicked off at the North Park Blocks at 10 a.m. and ended with a rally in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Portugal. The Man will perform a free concert for the attendees.
Portland-area students made speeches in Pioneer Courthouse Square as the crowd continued to grow throughout the morning.
Several other marches happening around our area on Saturday. Click here for a complete list.
Traffic and TriMet Impacts
A number of streets closed in downtown Portland during the event.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation said all lanes on West Burnside is closed from 9th to Broadway, and all lanes of Southwest Broadway will be closed from Burnside to Yamhill.
The march is also affecting bus and MAX lines. The 15, 17 and 20 bus routes will be detoured from about 10:30 a.m. to noon. Also, TriMet is closing both Pioneer Square north and south MAX stations. that means anyone riding the Blue or Red line will need to get off prior to or after Pioneer Square. That’s expected to last from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
You can watch live coverage of the march right here on KATU.com and on our Facebook page. .
PORTLAND, Ore. — The city council said no Wednesday to a plan to build a 17-story high rise along Naito Parkway and the waterfront in the Pearl District.
While blocking a beautiful view was the main issue for some residents, that was not what bothered the city council. It was mostly about how close the building would be built to the river.
The council talked about their concerns before voting, and then approved an appeal by neighbors, to stop the development.
Background: 17-story tower could block NW Portland view
City leaders were most bothered by the width of the greenway between the building and the Willamette, down at one spot to just 13 feet. That’s too narrow for bikes, walkers and others to share; the city wants the path to be closer to 50 feet.
There were other issues, too. But not centered on the fact that the view of the Fremont Bridge would be lost for some, including those visiting The Fields Park.
One opponent of the plan said sending the developer back to the drawing board will give everyone a chance to come together on a better plan for the Fremont Apartments.
“We need to be able to make decisions for density and for views. It’s not one or the other, there’s a compromise. So many groups ore in one end zone or the other; let’s play in the middle of the field. Everyone can win,” said John Hollister, a Pearl District resident who wants to see some affordable housing included in the plan.
The city council voted unanimously to approve the appeal. and will finalize a vote in a month. The developer is expected to make changes and reapply to build at the waterfront location.
Two properties close to the Preble Street day shelter and soup kitchen in Portland’s Bayside section – 19 Preble St., right, and 255 Oxford St., the yellow building at left – are now owned by T International Realty LLC.
Staff photo by Ben McCanna
A mystery developer is buying up properties in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood as part of an ambitious, long-term plan to rebrand and remake an area that has long been home to a network of social service agencies.
Recent purchases near the Preble Street day shelter and soup kitchen generated buzz online this week after it became known that the buyer is a company named T International Realty – the same name used by the family of President Trump for several companies registered in other states.
Speculation about the Trump family’s possible interest in Bayside real estate was welcomed by Josh Soley, who is listed as an authorized agent for the Maine-based limited liability company. He would neither confirm nor deny an affiliation with the Trumps when questioned about the deal Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I think speculation is great,” said Soley, 23, on Wednesday. “I think any attention is good, whether it’s about the owners, or whether it’s about what’s going on here, or whether about rebranding the area – I think any attention is good.”
NO AFFILIATION WITH TRUMP GROUP
Despite the speculation, however, public documents filed in Maine and several other states where the Trumps own properties revealed differences and raised doubts. In other states, Trump companies typically list their New York City address and name their managers, including Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. The Maine-based T International Realty lists a Portland address and only Soley and his brother, Daniel Soley, as authorized agents.
On Wednesday afternoon, Josh Soley’s father, David Soley, an attorney representing T International Realty, confirmed in an email that the group has “no affiliation whatsoever with The Trump Organization or its affiliates.”
A representative with The Trump Organization also said in an email Wednesday afternoon that it was not involved in the project, but did not answer questions about whether it was concerned about someone using the same name.
Josh Soley said he is the broker and manager for the Maine company. He and others representing the company declined to answer questions about who owns and controls it, saying the developer or developers want to remain anonymous.
“I’m overseeing everything going on in Maine,” he said.
When asked why the group chose the same name as a Trump affiliate, Soley said those questions would need to be answered by the members, whom he would not name.
Soley, who launched his own real estate firm called Maine Realty Advisors this year, said T International Realty is looking to rebrand the 19 Portland St. block, which includes Preble Street’s day shelter and soup kitchen, and rename it the “Flat Iron Block.”
EYEING PREBLE STREET’S PROPERTY
The company is currently gutting the first floor of the apartment building at 19 Portland St. and will begin advertising for a retail tenant, he said. Next week, he plans to begin advertising for retail tenants at 255 Oxford St., an apartment building across the street.
Soley said the subsidized housing there will stay – at least for now. According to the city’s rental registry, 19 Portland St. has nine residential units and 255 Oxford St. has 17.
Soley said the group is looking to position itself for a major redevelopment, should Preble Street ever leave downtown. Preble Street is a nonprofit agency that has long anchored a variety of social services in the Bayside neighborhood.
“Right now, we’re looking to buy everything possible in the area,” Soley said. “I do know that if Preble Street were to leave, we would immediately look at buying that property as well.”
Preble Street has no plans to leave its location at 5 Portland St. anytime soon, Executive Director Mark Swann said. He said Preble Street would re-evaluate if the city ever moves its adult homeless shelter, which is located a block away on Oxford Street.
“There’s no imminent plan to move,” Swann said. “If the Oxford Street Shelter moves, we will cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Soley said the owners of the properties want to remain anonymous to avoid any potential negative publicity or criticism from residents who might be unhappy with the group’s long-range plans, which would include market-rate housing.
“Portland is very judgmental,” Soley said. “Any attention on this project is going to be construed as negative.”
Most developers form LLCs for individual development projects and their names are disclosed on certificates of formation filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. So it’s unusual for an owner to go through such lengths to remain totally anonymous.
Soley and his brother, Daniel Soley, are the only two authorized parties on the Maine company’s filed certificate. And both of their names have appeared on mortgages associated with the purchase of 19 Portland St.
However, Josh Soley said the company has an operating agreement with the real owners that is not public.
“I wouldn’t say there’s been great lengths being taken at all,” he said of the owner’s efforts to remain anonymous. “I think it’s pretty standard for developers to not want to be bothered by the media or the people in the area.”
Soley is the grandson of Joe Soley, who purchased many buildings in the Old Port before it became a shopping, drinking and dining mecca. Joe Soley, who has a history of clashes with city officials, also owns the People’s United Bank building, which is a block from Preble Street.
Josh Soley’s two uncles – Tim and Jack – are also well-known real estate developers and managers. Tim Soley is the president of East Brown Cow Management, and Jack is a partner who also does his own independent property developments. Both said they are not involved with their nephew’s Bayside project.
‘FUTURE OF PORTLAND REAL ESTATE’
Last year, Tim Soley added solar panels to his Fore Street parking garage to power the nearby Hyatt Hotel. And in 2016, he floated the idea of building a 20-story building on an undeveloped portion of the block bounded by Union, Middle, Exchange and Fore streets, but never submitted any formal plans.
More recently, Jack Soley submitted a successful bid to redevelop 60 Parris St. into workforce condominiums. It’s believed to be the first time such a project has been proposed in Portland without relying on a government subsidy. Jack Soley said he is not involved with his nephews’ project.
The Parris Street property, which is two blocks from Preble Street, is part of the city’s former public works campus in Bayside. The city has chosen developers for four of the six sites and is still negotiating with potential buyers for the others.
The city is currently seeking a location for a larger overnight emergency shelter to replace the old, cramped quarters at Oxford Street. It also has stepped up efforts to address nuisance behavior in the area, although residents say more needs to be done.
For Josh Soley and his anonymous clients, it’s only a matter of time before Bayside begins seeing some of the rapid development activity overtaking much of the peninsula.
“It’s been an eyesore on this entire peninsula,” Soley said. “And I think with the future movement of the facilities down here – the soup kitchen and the Oxford Street shelter – this area is going to be the future of Portland real estate.”
Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:
A worker enters one of the rooms at Daggett Townhomes, under construction in Bend, on Feb. 19, 2018. (Andy Tullis/Bulletin photo)
Twenty-four families in need of affordable housing will soon be able to move into townhomes on Daggett Lane in Bend, a project that’s about six months overdue.
The delay is a result of last winter’s severe weather, site-specific setbacks and the Portland-based general contractor’s inability to recruit enough subcontractor labor, according to officials at Housing Works, the Central Oregon public housing agency and owner/developer. Continue reading →
This month’s National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable discusses millennials in real estate.
Christina Pappas, District Sales Manager, The Keyes Company, Miami, Fla.; Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, NAR
Lennox Scott, President, John L. Scott Real Estate, Seattle, Wash.
Joe Clement, CEO, RE/MAX Properties, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Jason Waugh, President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate, Portland, Ore.
Christina Pappas: Some millennials are taking a bad rap as being lazy, self-absorbed or entitled. But as the Pew Research Center and other respected pollsters are reporting, the nation’s 75.4 million millennials—larger in numbers now than either Gen X or the baby boomers—aren’t lazy or entitled at all. They very much want, in fact, to be achievers. Continue reading →
Level Angsty Description
Here’s a scale on which to determine a crisis level of your favorite NBA team:
1 We’re Winning ‘Chips / We Have a Chance at Marvin Bagley Jr. 2 We’re Going to the 2nd Round of the Playoffs 3 Makin’ Playoffs, Probably No Chance at 2nd Round Any Time Soon 4 Playoff / Non-Playoff Purgatory; Franchise Player is Frustrated 5 Franchise Player Asked for a Trade, Somebody Hold Me
The Portland Trail Blazers are somewhere in between Stage 4 and 5 on this crisis scale. Recently Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers’ franchise player, had a sit down with owner Paul Allen in regards to the future of the team. The conversation stopped just short of Lillard asking for a trade away from the team. Continue reading →
A Fight Over The Height of Portland’s Skyline is Raging. Who Wins May Determine Whether The City’s Housing Crisis Ever Ends.The prospect of skyscrapers along the Southwest bank of the Willamette River has alarmed tower residents. (Abby Gordon)
Stanley Penkin, a transplanted New Yorker who lives on the fourth floor of Cosmopolitan on the Park, the tallest condo building in the Pearl District, is on the front lines.
He and his wife, Susanne, have a panoramic view: dogs cavorting in the Fields Park, sailboats rolling down the Willamette River, and the graceful arches of the Fremont Bridge.
Portland, Oregon has become a city with some high property values. For instance, average home values are over $400,000. Zillow expects these values to rise slightly within the next 12 months. The higher home prices also support a fairly high price of rent, but rental units in Portland aren’t as expensive as they are in some other major cities.