On October 6th, the first of two hearings on the Comprehensive Plan Early Implementation Project were held at city hall and Portland’s Shoupistas asked city council to eliminate parking requirements in Mixed Use Zones.
At least eight Portlanders, out of approximately 40 citizens who testified on many topics, asked the commissioners to place a higher priority on housing people rather than garaging cars:
- Tony Jordan, founder of Portlanders for Parking Reform, cited the recently released Housing Development Toolkit and the failures of our current requirements to ease curbside parking anxieties as reasons to act now.
- Alan Kessler commended City Council for not expanding parking requirements into NW Portland and asked them to free the rest of the city from the burdensome 2013 requirements.
- Kiel Johnson, owner of the Go By Bike Shop and operator of North America’s largest bike valet told commissioners that he specifically chose to buy a condo in a building with no parking and pointed out that “whatever you build, people will use it and that’s what they will use to get around.”
- Chris Rall spoke as the father of three school age children. He expressed concern that parking requirements lead to more traffic and more expensive housing. In 20 years, he wondered, “will there be enough housing for [his children] or only for cars they won’t even be likely to own?”
- Charlie Tso, vice-president of Portlanders for Parking Reform, laid out the case for why our proposal is supported by the current city policy and asked council to “trade parking requirements for more affordable housing.”
- Sam Noble started his testimony by saying “I drive almost everywhere I go.” Nevertheless, he said, it is “not fair to expect residents of new mixed-use buildings to pay more rent in order to subsidize [his] on-street parking.” Noble’s testimony led to a strange follow-up from Commissioner Amanda Fritz who asked him: “Where do you park your vehicle?” Mr. Noble said he had a garage and driveway, but pays for a parking permit where he works. “All right,” was Fritz’ response.
- Margot Black spoke as a renter and a car driver who is against “anything at all that would possibly limit more housing being built or increase the cost of more housing being built”, including parking requirements and downzoning. Black said that she often hears that renters who can no longer afford to live in the “cool, hip city” of Portland “should just move.” She responded that Portland’s growth “comes with increased parking and traffic situations” and “big cities make room for people, not cars.” Perhaps, she suggested, people who don’t like not being able to find a parking spot should move as well.” Ms. Black also took time to refer to controversy earlier in the day regarding a proposed police contract. “People of color in this city who are being killed by police officers need to be heard” and “we should listen to their input and prioritize them.”
- Doug Klotz spoke later in the hearing and strongly supported our campaign to eliminate minimum parking requirements in the new mixed-use zones (Doug serves on the Mixed Use Zones Project Advisory Committee).
This in-person testimony is important, but we are asking others to submit letters to city council members and as official comprehensive plan testimony. Join Oregon Walks, Portland for Everyone, and other concerned citizens and ask City Council to trade parking requirements for more affordable housing. Ask them to eliminate parking requirements in mixed-use zones.
We have prepared a document with talking points for your convenience.
Send testimony to City Council
Before midnight on Thursday, October 13th you can send written testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Comprehensive Plan Implementation.”
Write to the Commissioners
Send an email to the members of City Council. We suggest you do this by October 13th.
Write to Commissioner Steve Novick, Mayor Charlie Hales, Commissioner Nick Fish, Commissioner Dan Saltzman, and Commissioner Amanda Fritz. Your letter doesn’t need to be very long or wonky, simply let them know that you value housing for people over shelter for cars.