Beaverton Wants More Affordable Housing

beaverton-oregon-logo1By Doug DeFilipps

The Beaverton City Council is considering exempting non-profit organizations that open new affordable housing units from paying the city’s property tax. An associate planner for the city said that “affordable units [are] going to be a major challenge in the future” because “[t]he housing market is tight, and a lot of affordable units in Beaverton are occupied by residents who could pay more but opt for cheaper housing.”

If the goal is affordable housing, then the city should ease the tax and regulatory burden on all development and businesses. That way it would be easier for developers to build new housing, and housing would become more affordable. If a major cause of the lack of affordable housing is “people who could pay more but opt for cheaper housing,” then it makes sense to try to give everyone more, less expensive options.

Developers of affordable housing should not be given special treatment. Why should other developers, not to mention businesses and residents, be taxed more than these affordable housing groups? Why should they be forced to make up the shortfall?

Government entities, including the Beaverton City Council, have an obligation to treat all citizens and businesses fairly and equally, and not to pick favorites.

Doug DeFilipps is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute. He is a graduate of Santa Clara University.

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  • Hmmm….. expand the available land and make it easier to build for the market. Seems simple to me.

    • marvinmcconoughey

      It should be that way, Mr. Winningstad, but in practice continually expanding regulations and restrictions conspire to make new housing very expensive, even with the best of intentions.

  • marvinmcconoughey

    Beaverton is a city that adopted a stringent rental housing maintenance code, and now, perversely, worries about a shortage of affordable housing. Low cost housing comes from the private marketplace where renters accept lower quality in return for lower rents. It is a situation that works to the benefit of the renters and to society.

    As naive and nobly-intentioned leaders progressively eliminate small mom and pop landlords, the higher cost landlords with ample staff to cope with complex legislation progressively take over the housing market. They charge more, arguably provide closer compliance to added laws, and worsen the affordability equation.

    Beaverton leaders need look no farther than the nearest mirror to find ou who is the cause of falling affordability in Beaverton.

  • DavidAppell

    Which part of the “regulatory burden,” exactly, is not needed? I would think any opinion article would at least mention a few….

    • Permit charges would be a good place to start. Inspections for safety and charges to reflect actual cost of inspections would be a place to start. For instance a ~$500.00 charge to have a deck inspected seems a bit steep.

  • DavidAppell

    If only they received the huge housing subsidies the affluent do in America, huh?

  • Myke

    Here’s a simple solution. Spread the cost of city services equally across the full spectrum of members of the community. That way, everyone’s housing becomes “affordable.” It could be based on square footage, so that those who have less, pay less. The city would not loss revenue by exemption, and those that that use a greater share of city services, higher density housing, would still pay a reduced share per unit to provide the services that they require. And, those with the ability to have more, would pay more. NOT HARD.