Readers respond: SB 10 crams apartments into every bare inch

A set of duplexes on North Mississippi Avenue in Portland.

Letter writer Roger McCracken (“Legislature’s mixed messages,” March 2) thinks homeowners will welcome House Speaker Tina Kotek’s statewide rezoning bill because he believes no new homes will be added and that will increase home values. However, the rezoning bill, like Portland’s badly planned infill project, adds apartments and multiplexes into every bare inch of existing land in cities over 10,000. For neighbors, that means increased density, more cars parked on our narrow streets and more traffic.

Many close-in east Portland neighborhoods are made up of charming vintage houses with nice yards and mature trees. When developers — with the help of our city commissioners’ bad planning — knock down affordable houses that are inexpensive to buy or rent and put up ugly, modern boxes, they ruin the beauty of the neighborhoods, and they pull out trees and plantings that keep Portland cool and beautiful. This short-sighted plan misses the point that older houses and apartment buildings are more affordable, and those tenants will be displaced when the building is demolished.

The new apartments won’t be affordable to “un-rich” Portlanders — low and modestly paid working families, low-income elderly and college students — which is why we are seeing an increase in homeless families. Old buildings can be remodeled into multiple units for less money and less cost to the environment. So, yes, Kotek’s rezoning proposals are bad, but not for the reasons McCracken thinks.

JoAnne Knowles, Portland

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