“We’re thrilled that it passed this first hurdle,” said Cameron Herrington to the Portland Tribune. Herrington is the “anti-displacement coordinator for Living Cully,” which is described as a coalition of nonprofits campaigning to create the new protections for residents.
“In 2016, the Portland Housing Bureau worked with a few nonprofits to buy Oak Leaf Mobile Home Park in Cully to prevent it from being sold to a developer. Despite that small victory for affordable housing advocates, the number of mobile home parks in the city has shrunk from 62 to 56 in the past two years, according to PSC’s website,” said Oregon Live.
The Portland City Council will now consider a proposal to create a “new manufactured home park zone for about 56 of the city’s mobile and manufactured home” communities. The goal is to keep communities from being sold by their owners for redevelopment “for other, more lucrative uses and allow more stability for some 3,000 families,” said the Portland Tribune. “The new zone was endorsed Tuesday by the Planning and Sustainability Commission in a 7-2 vote, sending the idea to the City Council for final vetting and approval.”
So even as some cities and towns in the U.S. are fighting to close MH Communities, others are seeking ways to preserve them as a smart option for affordable housing.
Those manufactured home communities “provide some of the most affordable housing in Portland,” said Herrington, per OL. “Certainly, the most affordable private market housing in the city.”
The battle for preservation vs. allowing property owners to sell as the law allows played out in the comments posted by readers.
Laura Hallett, the on-site manager at Arbor Park – who explained that she does not speak on behalf of the community’s owners, worries that when owners need higher profits, they will raise rents, making it a high-end property, said Oregon Live.
But that isn’t the message that the owners of the community are promoting with their YouTube video.
The video candidly admits to a significant rise in site fees after the new owners took over, but also stresses the improvements that have improved living conditions, and made it a far nicer place to live.
The dynamics of community ownership in areas where prices are rising are complex. Many of the solutions that local jurisdictions seek – like rent control – actually makes the problem of sustaining affordable housing worse.
What is certain is that addressing land-use, resident tenure, and property owners rights is an ongoing battle that routinely arises in various parts of the U.S. So the plan in Portland will have forces on both sides, for and against, lining up for the next round of the struggle. For more details, see linked stories. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)
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