TLDR: Outside of the regular circular arguments around housing we have in Portland what are your thoughts on building effective and equitable housing infrastructure for the cities future?
I think about housing a lot in Portland. We have obvious symptoms of poverty which need to be addressed, and we also have a housing market that is unsustainable. The housing market doesn't create enough vacancies that those who need homes can actually afford. Also, the ways new developments are built often both drive out marginalized communities and demolish historic structures. So, what do we do?
As a life long Portlander and a far-leftist, my bumper sticker solutions are usually of the form "we have enough houses for everyone so just put people in them", but that doesn't really get at the underlying problems and how to build reasonable housing infrastructure into the future.
I think the problem lies with how we address housing with a market and a market alone. Our options are limited into giving subsidies to land speculators and developers to coax them into building something "affordable" or at least "affordable" for a few years. We get stuck in this situation, because federal guidelines like the Faircloth amendment don't allow for new public housing being built without first removing existing public housing. Even when new public housing was being built it was being structured in a way that would lead to loss of community, neglect, no new investment, and blight. A future of mixed public housing where grants are given to both those that need a fully subsidized living situation and those with higher income who get smaller grants to live in the same community seems like a way forward, but again that is blocked at a federal level.
Is there a pathway forward for Portland housing infrastructure that can work within federal rules, and move money away from land speculators to helping people become home owners? These solutions don't seem often talked about. I think in combination with programs to treat the symptoms of poverty (investment in mental health programs, drug and alcohol addiction clinics, more sanctioned public facilities like bathrooms and community spaces to hangout and be less isolated) could go a long way compared to the circular argument we seem to get in between NIMBYs, YIMBYs, and advocates for the houseless like myself.
Maybe I'm dreaming IDK. What do you all think?