A Nightmare Waiting to Happen: Parking at 3000 SE Powell

By Ethan Rohrbach

“3000 SE Powell Boulevard” is the name of Home Forward’s 6-year-old low-income housing development with a massive expenditure: $87 million, $75 million of which came from government tax credits and bond monies. Burdened by building height and design constraints, soil contamination worries, and delayed materials delivery, the expected opening date has been pushed back to next winter.

But perhaps the most distressing thing about 3000 Powell is parking, which seems tragically inadequate. Just 31 parking spaces will accommodate 206 housing units. Comparatively, the 90-unit Sunshine Portland Apartments, directly behind the complex, offer 34 parking spaces. Home Forward has made improvements to its parking plan, but the lot can only be accessed through a narrow road likely to be bustling with commuters.

With extra space reserved for a playground and a smoking shelter, parking is not a high priority here. Yet cars remain a crucial source of transportation for the poor. Counterintuitively, roughly 8 in 10 low-income workers have cars to drive; because they have less mobility and job stability, they must rely on them to commute.

If Home Forward’s “urgent” humanitarian aid includes accessible housing, shouldn’t it also include a convenient spot to park a car? For their safety, the poor cannot afford to miss the latter.

Ethan Rohrbach is a Research Associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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