Will City Council Impose Rent-Raising Minimum Requirements In NW PDX?

On July 6th at 2PM City Council will consider a Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) recommendation to allow for more flexible and efficient uses of the existing parking supply in NW Portland, a smart move. During the hearing, however, Northwest Parking Stakeholder Advisory Committee (NW Parking SAC) members will ask council to amend the proposal and add back in minimum parking requirements.

In March, Portlanders on the NW Parking SAC asked the Planning and Sustainability Commission to recommend new minimum parking requirements for multi-family developments in northwest Portland.

The Planning and Sustainability Commission declined to make the recommendation due, primarily, to concerns about the effect of parking minimums on housing affordability.  Furthermore, as Commissioner Chris Smith pointed out, the NW Parking SAC could have requested higher monthly parking permit fees or denied access to permits in new developments without parking, both would be more effective at solving the perceived problem than minimum parking requirements.

Parking Garage

Photo By Jesse Schoem

It’s possible that the committee will eventually look to market-rate permit prices to manage the on-street supply, but apparently not until they are sure they can’t pass the cost of parking onto new residents instead.

According to the minutes from the committee’s May meeting, they will give testimony concerning “affordable housing, market behavior, car ownership, and permit restrictions.”

This will be an important test of City Council’s resolve to deal with the affordable housing crisis.

Mark your calendars and prepare testimony, all the Shoupistas in Portland can send a strong message to council that we don’t want to see another step backwards with parking policy.  The way forward is with market-rate permits and other progressive parking policy.

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