Chamber backs Housing Regulatory Relief Project, amendments

By Portland Metro Chamber

On January 10, the Portland Metro Chamber testified to the Portland City Council to express support for the Housing Regulatory Relief Project in addition to recommended amendments. The Chamber, along with coalition partners, commends the City of Portland’s focus on increasing housing production as a pivotal strategy to tackle the housing affordability crisis, reduce homelessness, and foster economic prosperity.

“Portland urgently needs more than 20,000 affordable housing units in the next decade, coupled with a demand for new moderate-income and market-rate homes,” said Jon Issacs, PMC Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “Housing production has seen an alarming 80% decrease in the past five years. While market-driven forces contribute to this decline, certain barriers imposed by local policies, many of which are addressed in the recommended draft, have exacerbated our region’s housing crisis.”

The Chamber urges support for the recommended draft, with three essential amendments:

  1. Temporary Waiver of Bird-Safe Glazing Requirements: Reintroduce a five-year temporary waiver of bird-safe glazing requirements in the Central City plan district and River overlay zone. The cost of bird-safe glazing places Portland at a competitive disadvantage and discourages investors.
  2. Temporary Waiver of Ecoroof Requirements: Reinstate a five-year temporary waiver of ecoroof requirements in the Central City plan district. This flexibility is vital for stormwater management and efficient use of roof space, without compromising the city’s overall goals.
  3. Eliminate 35-Day Delay in Neighborhood Contact Signage: Remove the required 35-day delay between posting neighborhood contact signage and submitting a building permit or land use application. This change retains the sign requirement but streamlines the process, avoiding unnecessary delays and additional costs.

While advocating for these amendments, the Chamber also supports various other regulatory relief proposals outlined in this project, including changes to bike parking requirements, ground floor active-use waivers, loading zone adjustments, and streamlined design review procedures.

The Housing Regulatory Relief Project will play a role in the city’s comprehensive strategy to address housing supply and affordability in Portland. The Portland City Council will vote on this recommended draft and amendments next week.

Read the full letter to Portland City Council.

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