Portland looks to increase density, limit home size as population soars

(KATU Photo)

Portland's population is expected to grow by roughly a quarter million people over the next 20 years and the city is working to find space to fit all those people.

"We can potentially put more units in that same envelope size, then we're accommodating more families," said Morgan Tracy, a city planner with Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

The zoning changes are in the planning stages, and it won't be until early next year that City Council will vote on whether to approve the changes.

New zoning laws could limit the size of homes, allowing single-family homes to be half the size of the lot. A standard lot in Portland's inner eastside, which is primarily zoned for single-family homes, is 5,000 square feet. The proposed zoning code would limit that home to 2,500 square feet.

"We're trying to find a way to accommodate more of those people in those great neighborhoods without disrupting that neighborhood character," Tracy said.

The city says it's heard complaints over so-called "McMansions," or homes that are much larger than the rest of the houses in a neighborhood.

"I feel like a part of Portland is going away," said McKayla Periera. "Because they look like we're in California."

The new zoning proposal also calls for increased flexibility in building duplexes, and on corner lots triplexes could be built. The city says increasing density will give families more options where to live.

"I don't like regulations like that," said Paul Maurin, a 23-year resident of Northeast Portland. "I think it's a lost cause."

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