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Housing hits hot buttons

by: Jim clark, In Southeast Portland, duplexes rise next to older homes, proof of a still-hot housing market. Readers happy in their neighborhoods, frustrated about their inability to buy, and curious about where the increased tax revenue goes, sound off on these issues and more.

Your recent Rethinking Portland article 'Area has identity struggles' on housing was slanted, contradictory and already a bit out-of-date.

I live just north in South Tabor (literally, I'm one house up from Southeast Powell Boulevard) and despise the depiction of the neighborhood I've enjoyed for more than eight years. Looks like you found a couple who think the area is not trendy enough.

I walk daily down the same block they live on to incredible, affordable child care at the YMCA (which also offers adult classes). Most of the houses I see are quite nice (and accessible to only middle-income families).

Sure, you'll find a few homes in disrepair - but they're present in any Portland neighborhood (including Alameda).

Also within walking distance: an excellent sushi restaurant, arguably the best Chinese food in Portland, a fabulous (and now expanded) coffee house, tango lessons, a public pool and antique shops.

This neighborhood is hardly the meth hole province of icky strip clubs as it is depicted in the article.

It's especially ironic that the couple in your article were parents and would have preferred North Mississippi Avenue. All those trendy bars also equal loud nightlife.

And as parents they need to look at something else: In three short years their child can walk to Atkinson Elementary School, an excellent school with strong community involvement.

As far as neighbors go, when I was pregnant seven years ago, I received gifts from nearly every family on the block. We had only lived here for a year at the time.

Yes, there were neighbors who were less than desirable, but for the most part this is, was and always will be a family neighborhood, with good schools and friendly people.

Now had this article focused on a homeowner next to Southeast 82nd Avenue or stretching farther south to, say, Southeast Rex Street, I could see the argument. But much like a fashion article that talked about (gasp!) women now wearing jeans to parties, this piece was sadly out of touch with the times.

Melinda Piette

Southeast Portland

Lenders put people in homes, at a cost

When someone makes $50,000 or $60,000 a year and can afford a home that costs the same amount as someone making $100,000 or $120,000 - you've got way too much demand for the supply (ReThinking Portland, June 26).

That's what 'nothing down' and 'no interest' loans have done to the housing market over the last five years. I hope interest rates go up to 15 percent, and all of the speculators lose their shirts.

But I do feel bad for folks who bought their first home because a lender just wanted to make a sale. Now they have to contend with rising interest rates.

I lived in Portland/Hillsboro for 30 years and now reside in San Diego. The housing market is coming to a crawl down here. But in Portland, where I still own a place, prices keep climbing.

Many current home buyers in Oregon are from out of state. On the Oregon Coast, is seems everyone is from California, moving north to buy up 'cheap' homes.

Hey, if I could sell a two-bedroom condo in an OK part of town for $700,000 down here, then move to Oregon and buy a new five-bedroom house with a three-car garage, I would, too.

Portland is still very anti-business and thus has very few high-paying jobs. Salaries cannot sustain the current housing growth in the Portland area - only those house-poor and California folks can.

Eric Endicott

San Diego

Where's increased property tax revenue?

In regard to the Rethinking Portland article 'Density plan cuts both ways,' I'm pretty sure the single most important factor here is dramatically increased property tax revenue.

When you see a small, single-story older home sandwiched between two tall, skinny houses, you know character counts for nothing. When you see six skinny houses standing where one home previously stood, you know livability counts for nothing.

Where there was one or two cars there are now eight, 10 or even 12. Residents of skinny houses near me rarely use their garage for a car; rather, the garages are all full of stuff. So one car is parked in the driveway, and the other is either also in the driveway blocking the sidewalk or on the street.

So where did the increased property tax revenue go? The residential streets are not being widened to accommodate all these additional cars, the potholes are just growing in number and size and no additional street lighting is being installed.

In my neighborhood, it seems every skinny house is built on a 2,500 square-foot-lot, not the '3,000 to 4,000 ' mentioned in the article.

I really don't think the politicians care. It's getting pretty ugly out here.

Roger Hull

Northeast Portland

Families are edged out of the market

What a shame!

My husband and I make a combined income of $72,000 a year before taxes. We are college educated with four kids, both working 40 hours a week. And you know what? We can't even afford to buy a home in the city we live in.

Wake up, Portland! Families are what make a community.

Nicole Garcia

Northeast Portland

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