Middle Housing Has Developers And Investors Salivating

Colin Dean’s nostalgic take on “middle housing” and street-car neighborhoods (“Middle Housing is the Key,” Letters 10/21) is an appealing fantasy, but Dean’s descriptions have no relationship to city planners’ recommendation for radical deregulation and gentrification of those same older neighborhoods for which Dean pines.

While misappropriating the term and exploiting images of modest two- to-four-unit apartments interspersed amongst single-family homes, planners are actually recommending that a “fourplex” be redefined as four detached dwellings, up to 42 feet high, each on a lot of only 844 square feet.

Without any analysis of impacts or proposals to protect low-income households against demolitions of lower-cost rentals, eviction, or big rent increases, staff recommends that the allowable density across all of Eugene’s established single-family neighborhoods be increased by five times. There is also no limit to the use of middle housing for Airbnb’s.

Huge private equity fund investors are salivating at the prospects for redevelopment.

Meanwhile, staff, investors and self-serving developers, architects and others looking to profit are pushing the code with extreme deregulation far beyond what HB 2001 requires. Today “middle housing” in the staff’s minds has value only as an empty myth they can use in their propaganda campaign.

Deregulation without accompanying affordability measures will inevitably produce expensive housing and benefit only investors and their clients.

The reality, rather than the myth, is at Housing-Facts.org.

Carolyn Jacobs