Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission, on March 8, heard staff recommendations to impose mandatory minimum parking requirements in densely populated NW Portland.
Northwest Portland, because it is in a plan district, was left out zoning changes passed in 2013 which required parking in new multi-family developments with more than 30 housing units. Neighbors argued that the region was short 2000 parking spaces already and that new developments proposed would exacerbate the problem further in the future.
Housing affordability advocates, transportation activists, and Portland Shoupistas countered that minimum requirements were a step in the wrong direction during a housing crisis. Portland Shoupistas pointed out that there are many parking management strategies available to the district, such as limiting the number of permits and charging market rates, that would lead to right-sized parking being built at the developer’s discretion.
Commissioners agreed with concerns about the effect of minimum requirements on housing affordability and cited lack of any data or studies on the impact of the 2013 requirements as a reason to proceed with caution.
Commissioner Chris Smith moved to recommend only the shared parking provisions of the staff proposal, which would allow for more flexible use of off street parking. The commission also recommended that the process to gain approval for shared parking be streamlined.
The recommendations will be heard at City Council where it is likely some NW residents will attempt to convince city commissioners to impose requirements contrary to the recommendation of the PSC. Such an outcome, however, is far less likely now due, in part, to the work of Portland Shoupistas and our allies.