More than 80 people attended a neighborhood meeting June 28 to learn about and discuss proposed annexation of the privately owned Oregon City Golf Club. The owners of the golf club anticipate submitting a petition in mid-July to annex to Oregon City.

The meeting was held in the event space at the OCGC clubhouse. The facility will be retained as a community center when development occurs on the property, which is designated for housing in the Beavercreek Road Concept Plan. Oregon City approved the plan in 2008, following a decision by Metro in 2002 and 2004 to add the land to the Portland metropolitan urban growth boundary.

Attendees were able to view eight poster boards showing the Concept Plan and sketches of how the plan's sustainability features could be realized in an eventual housing development on OCGC land. The plan designates the golf course for residential housing. Other land included in the plan is set aside for industrial and commercial uses.

Following a short presentation about the complete community envisioned by the Concept Plan, attendees asked questions, sparking a lively conversation about the land-use planning process and converting the golf course to a housing development.

Some attendees expressed concern about existing congestion on Beavercreek Road and a change in the rural character of the area. Others emphasized the Concept Plan was the result of an extensive community dialogue and that development following the guidelines in the Concept Plan would spur investment in badly needed infrastructure.

A statement was read by the owners of OCGC that said development of a complete community that adheres to sustainability principles is the legacy they want to leave for their property when it is sold.

The developer for the OCGC property indicated that development would occur in phases, permitting nine holes of the existing golf course to remain open after housing construction begins.

Under Oregon’s strict land-use laws, development is only permitted within urban growth boundaries in order to protect farm and forestland and prevent urban sprawl. Concentrating development in cities also helps urban service providers to deliver sewer, water and emergency response more cost-effectively.

Larger, master-planned communities, such as the one envisioned for the OCGC property, enable developers to coordinate with city officials on transportation improvements and school officials on building campuses within walking distance from nearby neighborhoods.

Oregon state economists have noted that one factor responsible for accelerating housing prices in the Portland metropolitan area has been housing construction that lags demand. In some cases, housing construction has been blocked because areas designated for urban development have not been annexed to their adjoining cities.


This is part 1 of 2 this week on housing. Given that housing and affordability are at the forefront of many people’s minds these days, I have been doing quite a bit of data work to help myself understand what exactly is going on. Affordability is a statewide issue, but our best and most timely data generally comes from the Portland MSA. While the data and focus here is on Portland, the results are generally transferable to other parts of the state, particularly other metropolitan areas.

First, what type of housing do people actually live in? Previously we took a quick look at the housing stock itself, broken down into more categories. However, here I wanted to know how housing changes by age. It’s probably what you expected with younger households renting apartments, with a slow build of single family ownership through one’s peak working and earning years. Overall 61% of Portland housing stock is detached single family homes (51% are owner occupied, 10% are renter occupied).

Continue reading

June 29, 2016

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis: Suburbs Have Jobs Too

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis: Housing Trends and Shifts

There is no question that America’s largest metropolitan areas are outperforming the rest of the nation. Job growth over the past decade is significantly stronger than small and medium sized metros and rural areas. Furthermore, much has been made of the so-called urban renaissance. Population growth has returned to cities’ urban cores, as well as the bulk of the job gains. There is a very lively debate among demographers, economists, planners, urbanists and the like over why and how these shifts are occurring. The research is fascinating and very important for policy and future economic growth. However, the simple fact that most people do not live in the urban core is lost among many of these debates. Suburbs are people too. Yesterday in Part One we examined population growth in Portland. Today in Part Two we take a look at job growth.

As with population, the relative pattern of job growth in the region is different today than during the housing boom. It is true that Multnomah County is not adding jobs at an appreciable faster rate than the suburban counties combined. However, Multnomah is growing faster today than last decade while the suburban counties are growing slower. Nationally, job growth in the city centers is surging in recent years as well, based on a City Observatory report last year.

Continue reading

January 20, 2016

Latest News and Housing Data

Neighborhood Meeting Draws Crowd, Lively Conversation

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis: The Housing Trilemma

April 26, 2016

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis: Portland Affordability in Comparison

Every city wants to have a strong local economy, high quality of life and housing affordability for its residents. Unfortunately these three dimensions represent the Housing Trilemma. A city can achieve success on two but not all three at the same time. Underlying all of these tradeoffs are local policies as well.

Inspired by Kim-Mai Cutler and Cardiff Garcia, I set out to try and quantify the Housing Trilemma across the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. It turns out to be very real. Just eight rank among the top half for all three dimensions of the Housing Trilemma. None rank among the Top 20 in all three. Unless you prefer living on the Great Plains, that list of eight metros lacks sizzle*.

Continue reading

Oregon City Golf Club Annexation

When discussing Portland’s housing affordability, the most common way is to point out prices in other major West Coast metropolitan areas. For example, according to Census figures, Portland home values are 17% below Seattle, 39% below San Diego and 58% below San Francisco. Monthly rents show similar patterns, albeit with slightly smaller differences. So while many admit Portland’s prices are high, they’re still a bargain compared to these other locales. And this is certainly true, so far as it goes. However, adjusting housing costs by local incomes, something I would argue is a better way to measure it, Portland’s affordability looks considerably lower.

To help put Portland’s housing affordability in perspective, below I detail each of the three housing measures I used in the new research. A quick refresher on box plots, or box and whisker graphs. The box itself shows the middle 50% of all values. In this case it means the middle 50 MSAs, with 25 having lower values than the box and 25 having higher values. The middle line represents the median where half of the MSAs have higher values and half have lower values. The extended lines, or whiskers, show the minimum and maximum values across all 100 MSAs.

Continue reading

April 15, 2016
December 17, 2015

Demand for housing in much of Oregon has returned in full force with population growth picking up and household formation increasing. So far the supply side of the market has not kept pace — for a variety of reasons — resulting in the nation’s lowest vacancy rate, rising prices and eroding affordability. What follows is a brief rundown of housing inventory and the future pipeline for the Portland MSA, although the state’s other metropolitan areas see similar trends.

Median sale prices are at record highs. While it is widely known that inventory is low, most usually discuss the months of inventory metric. However, not only is that low (2.0 in October) the actual number of active residential listing with RMLS is at a literal low with data back to 1999. Never in the past 15+ years have there been fewer active listing in the metro. The last time the market had a somewhat similar number of listings — 2005 — the population was 275,000 less than it is today with approximately 100,000 fewer households. Few homes for sale with strong demand is the recipe for high housing costs.

Continue reading

June 8, 2016

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis: Housing Inventory