Little apartments cause big row in Portland

Portland micro apartment controversy

Apparently, strong coffee and grey skies aren’t the only commonality between Seattle and Portland. Like its northern neighbor, Portland has jumped on the micro-apartment bandwagon. More specifically, Portland is mirroring Seattle’s boarding-house style micro-apartments (often known as aPodments, which are actually the name of apartments developed by Calhoun Properties, not a general term). These apartments typically feature very small units (150-300 sq ft), a kitchenette, a shared kitchen and a personal bathroom rented at a low, all-inclusive price (often below $1000).

Just like Seattle, some Portlanders are up in arms about the perceived effects of these dainty digs. The issue, once again, is parking. Right now there are two developments causing the stir, both being developed by Snohomish, WA’s Footprint Investments. One is under construction in northwest Portland and another is looking for city approval in the northeastern Hollywood neighborhood. The apartments, enjoy a “group living” designation–the same as dormitories, monasteries and convents. As such, they are not required to provide a set amount of parking spaces. The threat of lost parking in the neighborhoods has spurred protests.

We can’t help but think this is another case of NIMBY-itis. Everyone loves the idea of more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods. They love the idea of housing that supports public transportation (both developments are close to transit hubs). And they love the idea of building space and energy efficient housing. But when these ideas include the possibility–not the reality, mind you–of fewer or further afield parking spaces, people seem all too willing to squash those ideas.

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Little apartments cause big row in Portland
Efficient, affordable, carless living? Not in my backyard say some Portlanders.

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