The Oregon Legislature and local jurisdictions are scrambling for solutions to what they’re calling a housing crisis. House Speaker Tina Kotek claims, “The reality is we’re just not building enough housing… and if we’re going to grow as a state we need to change that.”
Even if, for example, changing that “reality” results in the aesthetic and cultural degradation of historical single-family neighborhoods.
But the housing problem is only a symptom of the larger population problem, political turf most fear to tread. Politicians and administrators consider it their charge to promote and accommodate growth, but, as air, water and ground pollution increase and the planet continues to heat up, growth has shown it will not be accommodated, nor, for those increasingly feeling its pinch, tolerated.
Despite a common refrain to the contrary, overpopulation and the growth it spurs are not inevitable; they’re a matter of choice, a matter of policy.
Overuse and abuse has led to quotas in popular hiking and boating areas. To meet the goals of our land use protection system legislators would do well to forego accommodation for restraint.
Tom McCall, where are you when we need you the most?