Portland is now desperate for affordable housing and says it’s at least 23,000 units short. But its policies discourage investment in housing for low- and middle-income families. Its land-use zoning is more restrictive than more than three-fourths of other metropolitan areas examined in a new working paper by Harvard and University of Pennsylvania researchers. Since 2017 Portland has enforced an “inclusionary zoning” requirement on new residential buildings with 20 or more units. The city now compels many landlords to rent up to a fifth of new units at below-market rates.
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