The Portland Chronicle has listed the 376 homes that were demolished last year, many in close-in neighborhoods with historic fabric. The Chronicle also notes that the year before, 326 homes were demolished. That is a pace of about 3,500 homes per decade.
Is this destruction needed to accommodate new growth, as some claim? The evidence is not there. According to a housing supply background study done for the Portland Plan in 2010, infill without demolition could accommodate large numbers: “Construction on underutilized lots alone could add more than 120,000 units. ” An informal survey of the large number of parking lots and under-utilized sites across the city seems to confirm that enormous untapped capacity.
In related news, five adjacent historic homes in Goose Hollow were slated for demolition as the result of a preliminary proposal for redevelopment of a condominium tower at SW 18th and Madison. The plans were disclosed in a pre-application meeting at the City of Portland on December 16. There were later reports that the proposal is temporarily on hold, but the ultimate fate of the buildings does not appear positive:
Ironically, the homes are immediately adjacent to an empty parking lot. There are no known plans for development for that site.