STATE SPOTLIGHT Capitalism vs. Conservation Civil War Keeps Portland Housing Weird
By Daren Blomquist, Executive Editor
Portland real estate investor Justin Grubb finds himself in the middle of a “civil war going on between capitalism and embracing Portland’s weirdness.” “They talk out of both sides of their mouth, and they say you can’t tear down that home and build four in its place — and you also can’t raise rents,” said Grubb, co-owner of Bulldog Capital Partners, who added that he is all for preserving quirky Portland properties with architectural significance provided that they are not beyond repair. “I don’t like knocking down houses. I fix up houses and make them look great, and sell them to those hipsters who complain about tearing down houses.” The frontline of this civil war is an invisible wall encircling the city roughly 30 miles from downtown in all directions that protects the surrounding forests and farms from the otherwise-inexorable spread of urban sprawl.
Called the Portland urban growth boundary, this barrier to new building is required by a 1973 state law to “control urban expansion onto farm and forest lands,” according to Metro, the Portland area regional government entity that manages the boundary. Every six years, soldiers on both sides of the civil war gear up for a major battle as the boundary line is re-assessed based on forecasted population and employment for the next 20 years. One such re-assessment battle occurred in 2015, with the boundary line giving up no additional ground. In its fact sheet explaining the decision to keep the urban growth boundary status quo for another six years, the Metro Council explained that despite an expected influx of 400,000 people and 195,000 new households over the next 20 years, there is
Justin Grubb Co-Owner Bulldog Capital Partners Lake Oswego, Oregon “ I don’t like knocking down houses. I fix up houses and make them look great, and sell them to those hipsters who complain about tearing down houses. ”
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Portland Urban Growth Boundary
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