On a rainy spring day, Anyeley Hallovà and I are strolling around her inner Northeast Portland neighborhood.
In front of a dilapidated cottage, we halt. She visited occasionally when a second house was being built in the backyard. She expresses awe at how expertly the new house was integrated into the existing landscape.
If we had been walking by, you might not have noticed it, adds Hallovà. It is situated in the back, has lovely architecture, is well-scaled, and is surrounded by a lovely garden. On the walk, she enjoys seeing a lot more.
She commends a brand-new, eight-unit apartment complex that is situated back from the road so that it doesn’t encroach on the properties on either side that are single-family houses. Even an outdated housing complex is defended by her.
The deal is that affordability increases with supply. Competition from new buildings, allows older buildings to essentially start lowering their prices.
Hallovà appears to spot opportunities wherever she turns. It makes no difference if it’s a backyard or an overgrown vacant lot. She intends to build numerous additional homes in already established areas. She envisions denser cities with fewer racial and economic disparities.
She claims that one of her main areas of interest is how to utilize the potential of a lot of the undeveloped land in our cities.
Hallovà has a lot riding on how the state and cities develop. The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission, which is in charge of regulating the state’s growth system, is presided over by her. She is the first person of color on the panel and is concerned about housing, especially for marginalized Oregonians.
She tells me, “I think we’re going to be a leader in housing equity, just like we were a pioneer in thinking about protecting farms and forestland.
I’ve previously written on the development of Oregon’s land-use system and how it has shaped the state in which we now reside. The system’s future will be discussed in the final chapter.
A half-century ago, when Gov. Tom McCall oversaw the establishment of the ground-breaking system of state growth limits, he made a commitment to defend the landscapes he thought the state risked losing to out-of-control development.
However, he avoided discussing how keeping development off so much of Oregon’s land would affect living in the cities and suburbs, at least publicly. Oregonians have come to realize that cities look and feel different when people live more densely together. There are more apartments and fewer single-family home lots available. Additionally, there are more ardent initiatives to remodel Oregon’s current neighborhoods in order to fit in more homes.
In her new role, Hallovà must also deal with another pressing issue: Oregon is experiencing one of the greatest housing shortages in the country. Many of those shortages have nothing to do with our growing system.
But important choices regarding Oregon’s land regulations must be made by state officials. Do they make it simpler to purchase cheaper land outside the growth boundaries for housing? Do they put forth greater effort to cram more houses of all kinds into the communities that already exist?
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