What Does Metro Have Against Single-Family Homes?

CascadeNewLogoBy John A. Charles, Jr.

For more than a decade, the regional government, Metro, has been quietly herding people into high-density neighborhoods. For those unaware of this policy, the recently announced plans for 80 acres of development near the light rail station at Sunset Transit Center should be a wake-up call: The developers plan to build 2,175 new housing units, and none of them will be single-family homes. In order to meet Metro-imposed density requirements, the project will be dominated by mid-rise apartment complexes, along with commercial and retail buildings.

Metro anticipates that virtually all future development projects will be similar. In draft documents for a planning exercise called “Climate Smart Communities,” Metro notes that the current number of Portland-area households in mixed-use neighborhoods is 26%. By 2035, that number likely will rise to at least 36%. No options for reducing density are being studied.

Metro’s vision of ubiquitous apartment bunkers means that the region will slowly become a childfree zone, because few parents wish to raise their children in vertical housing. Portland parents, and those who hope to become parents, should ask hard questions about why the Metro Council thinks this is a great leap forward for livability.

John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

Learn more at cascadepolicy.org.


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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Government Regulation, Housing, Land Use Laws, Metro, Portland | Tagged , , , , | 454 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    Metro is the antonym to freedom. It sprung from a period when there was a mass exodus from the City of Portland by baby boomer families seeking more space for their children and the advent of road capacity expansion. So, the City of Portland having seen its influence pummeled went about helping create this communist outfit called Metro. Metro created this artificial wall called the urban growth boundary just as the Soviets erected a wall to keep in its people from fleeing for freedom.

    Maybe one sweet day we can tear down Metro’s walls, and regain fuller freedoms.

  • guest

    Governmentium and Metro go hand in hand in hand and not unlike the ACA (ObamaSnare) all manifest metastasizing tumors threatening our our Constitutional embodiment.

  • Burton Keeble

    That plan works very well for low-income immigrant families with lots of family members. Close to light rail.

  • redbean

    Metro’s urban growth boundary created an artificial shortage of single-family homes, which contributed to Portland’s ridiculously inflated home prices prior to the bust. This was a boon to those who bought cheap Portland homes in the 70s and early 80s and then resold them at high prices just in time. This same trend led to gentrification on the northeast side, pushing out lower income people. Sometimes it seems that ideologues have quite a materialistic bent.

  • freal

    As large cities become unable to sustain their high cost of operation they will accelerate their efforts to force the population into high density living where the cost of everything (income tax, property tax, sales tax, parking fees, etc.) are inescapable and revenue generators to sustain what’s broken.

  • Francis Pettygrove

    In my neighborhood they’ve been tearing down single family homes on 15000 sf lots and putting up 10 row houses in their place. Ten to twenty times the property tax revenue.

    • Hello Submarine

      Ten to twenty times the pressure of confinement and mounting pressures to wit.

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