The Redevelopment of Portland

By Liv Phillips

Catlin Gabel School, Catlin Speak

The small peaceful neighborhood of Eastmoreland in inner southeast Portland is known for its historic houses, large yards, and massive trees. However, recently the character of the neighborhood is changing as old houses are being torn down.

This is a problem facing not only Eastmoreland; it is affecting all of Portland’s historic neighborhoods as the city rapidly changes.

In the past couple of years, as economic growth has spurred development, the rate of residential home demolitions has skyrocketed. Many people in the greater Portland area are feeling frustrated about the demolitions that they see destroying the unique look, feel, and livability of these irreplaceable historic neighborhoods.

According to CNN, since 2013, more people have moved to Portland than any other city in the nation.

Many people are attracted to the low home prices in Portland. According to Zillow the median house price is $302,400. Seattle’s median home price is $456,400 and Los Angeles’s is $525,200.

But as more people move to Portland, local citizens are worried about residential demolitions changing the face of Portland and the rising of home prices.

Developers are not only targeting rundown old houses. The historic Marquam house in the Laurelhurst neighborhood was recently bought buy a developer who wanted to tear it down and subdivide the lot. Luckily the house has been saved from the chopping block.

This story is just one example of many historic homes across Portland that have either been demolished or threatened with demolition as land becomes more valuable than houses.

The median home price in Eastmoreland according to Zillow is $568,000. A recent tear down in Eastmoreland sold for 1.5 million dollars.

A small single-family dwelling on 3621 SE Glenwood St. recently was torn down. Its market value was $313,580 according to portlandmaps.com. While a new house with four stories recently sold for $990,000 according to Redfin.

This is not a single occurrence. Another Eastmoreland single family dwelling located on 6810 SE 31st Ave was recently torn down. The lot was subdivided. The original house’s market value was $331,460 according to Portland maps. One of the houses that replaced that house was for sale for $1,049,800, while the other house sold for $924,800 according to Redfin.

These new houses are driving up prices in neighborhoods as demonstrated by these two houses.

Recently, CatlinSpeak interviewed the president of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, Robert McCullough.

McCullough spoke about the negative impacts that the redevelopment of Portland has on the city.

“The issue of ‘infill’ in Eastmoreland and neighboring areas is more likely to be an issue of reducing zoning and building standards to allow larger homes on smaller lots. A common victim of this policy is the elimination of trees and green spaces.”

As increasing numbers of people move into the area, it leads many Portlanders to think about the rise in home prices and the infill of older homes.

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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