Portland District 1 Council Candidates Offer Solutions To Housing Crisis

Anna Trevorrow and Sarah Michniewicz have the housing crisis and homeless shelters on their minds as they vie for the seat of Portland’s District 1 city council in November.

Both candidates say the city needs to address the lack of affordable housing for middle and working class residents in their neighborhood, which encompasses most of Bayside and stretches all the way to Munjoy Hill and throughout the city.

Trevorrow, a member of the Portland Board of Education, wants property tax reassessments to occur more frequently than every 15 years so that residents aren’t hit by a big increase all at once.

If we did reassessments every three to five years it would have a more gradual impact, ”Trevorrow said.

She also wants to expand tax refund programs.

“We have artear down for seniors. Maybe we can expand the eligibility for this, ”Trevorrow said. “There is a demographic of people who has lived here for allong time, I don’t want to sell, stay where they are and are not necessarily rich. It could to help during this period when the revaluation hit hard.

To add more housing in the city, Trevorrow also supports zoning changes to allow higher density in certain areas and to allow residential uses in certain commercial areas.

“WWith more people working from home, we can find vacancies in a commercially zoned area, and we can see how we can ensure that these can be used for residential purposes, ” Trevorrow noted.

She said she would also like less parking spaces required per dwelling until it allows more space for construction.

Both candidates said they support creating incentives for developers to keep rentals and homes affordable.

Michniewicz wants to focus on limiting short-term rentals, like the ones offered on Airbnb, to keep housing stock available, and she fears the current limits will be ignored. She’s not talking about a “hard stop” for short-term rentals, she said, but when landlords choose not to renew the property’s short-term rental registration, “we can reduce the number of dwellings. “

“We need to strengthen enforcement of rental offenses,” Michniewicz said. “There may be ways to change or create a fee structure that reflects the impact of these violations on our housing market.”

She also wants more old buildings to be rehabilitated and public transport improved for workers without a car.

“There were programs like that in the 90s, and it’s a very green option,” Michniewicz said. “We need to improve public transportation, make stops later at night so people can get to accommodations that aren’t necessarily on the peninsula or wherever they are.”

Trevorrow and Michniewicz both said the 200-bed homeless service center planned for the Riverton area was the best solution for those in need, although Trevorrow also supports the idea of ​​having more shelters. small distributed throughout the city in addition to the big one.

“The diverse socio-economic neighborhoods are healthy and the community somehow owes a debt to the homeless population,” Trevorrow said.

Michniewics said she is prioritizing services that a larger shelter will be able to provide and that the region already has a strong “constellation of small shelters” which include those for domestic violence issues and people with mental disorders. substance use.

“The pressure for more small shelters instead of a good-sized service center is based on an emotional response, and this is not endorsed by housing agencies,” Michniewics said. “Working around shelters for years, with state level experts and people outside my door every day, I have a holistic view of what we don’t have and what will serve Portland best. . “

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