One subdivision and the pressure for housing – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

One subdivision and the pressure for housing

Written June 4th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Two of the three vehicles shown here Monday, in the Takena Estates subdivision, haven’t moved in months.

A new subdivision on the west side of Albany is in the final stages of being approved. Whether it and others like it remain reserved for single-family homes is something the legislature has yet to decide.

In the Broadway Neighborhood, someone asked me recently why nothing was happening at Takena Estates, a 32-lot subdivision off the west ends of 13th and neighboring avenues. Streets and utilities were put in last year but no houses have been built.

Lacey Stark, the Coldwell Banker agent whose name and picture appear on a billboard at the subdivision, told me that the developer and contractor, Empire Builders of Oregon LLC, was working on the final “punch list” from the city. “Once the city approves and signs off on the subdivision, we are planning on submitting permits for the first few homes.”

Matthew Ruettkers, the city’s development services manager, explained: “The punch list items are very minor items left (to) complete that were identified on a walk-through of the project with city staff and are typical for any site improvement project building public improvements.  Such items in particular include street signs, mailbox cluster installation, final swale stabilization, etc.”

The houses there will range from about 1,300 to about 1,425 square feet and start at $299,000, according to Stark’s Takena Estates website.

In Salem, meanwhile, House Speaker Tina Kotek’s bill to ban single-family zoning is awaiting action in the Ways and Means Committee, which has assigned HB 2001 to its subcommittee on transportation and economic development.

The bill would order cities like Albany to allow “middle housing” on any single-family lot. Middle housing includes townhouses, duplexes, row houses, cottage clusters, stacked flats and accessory units — whatever some of those terms mean. Smaller towns like Lebanon would have to allow duplexes on any single-family lot.

The goal of Speaker Kotek, a Portland Democrat, is to force housing to become more densely concentrated than has been the rule in many towns. Whether her bill makes it into law is uncertain. But as long as people keep moving to Oregon, the pressure to develop more housing will remain. (hh)

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11 responses to “One subdivision and the pressure for housing”

  1. J. Jacobson says:

    Kotek is Korect. Until such time as humans stop emulating rabbit reproduction rates, Hobbit Town must grow more dense.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      I agree with you about population, and I think I understand your position on the homeless and civil liberties. It would be really nice if one day I could understand what you would have the built environment look like. There is a limit to how far one can advance any position on only sarcasm, irony, and opposition.

  2. J. Jacobson says:

    Or, in defiance of reality, the Albany Moms and Pops could just continue expanding City limits through condemnation and other maneuvers. After all, who don’t love sprawl.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      When was the last time the City “condemned” a piece of property for the purpose you blithely came up with? “We” couldn’t even do it to make an intersection more efficient by adding a roundabout…

  3. Craigz says:

    Kotek is a liberal hack and wants Portland values to spread to all corners of Oregon. The State Legislature has NO business telling cities what type of housing should be built. Cities and communities should have the last say in how those very communities should look. Besides, this is a supply demand issue. It is apparent that families are wanting to purchase a nice sized home on a good sized city lot or they would not be selling ! If there was a demand for smaller homes and apartments then they would be built also. The State should NOT be forcing this upon cities. Supply & demand works.

  4. J. Jacobson says:

    I find this argument quite odd:

    “…Cities and communities should have the last say in how those very communities should look.”

    Why then do you trust local leadership to make the determination. Local Officialdom already holds sway, what with unconstitutional codes banning the handing of any object out a car window, or arresting citizens for allegedly violating a geographically defined space in order to protect the monied interests downtown;. Do you really believe that someday the Powers That Be will turn their eye toward you, because they will. Then you’ll be begging for Liberals in Portland to save your very freedom.

    So many Albanites objected to Kotek’s Codecs but embrace local pols who subvert our very freedoms, all in the name of local control. Be careful what you wish for.

    • Dad McKay. says:

      Thank you J. You are spot on: less government at all levels is indeed best! Also, I appreciated the clever triple-double juxtaposition of “begging,” “Liberal” and “freedom” all in the same sentence! Triple word score, dude. Two go hand-in-hand, whilst the third is diametrically opposed. You’re smart and funny!

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “So many Albanites objected to Kotek’s Codecs but embrace local pols who subvert our very freedoms, all in the name of local control.”

      “So many…” Really? You sure live in a different community than I do. You decry Salem pols making decisions, and now locally elected folks doing same. Pray tell exactly who should be the arbiter of rules by which we have a community?

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Ray recklessly throws around the word “community.”

        “Community” has become a meaningless political buzzword. It means whatever the existing power structure says it means.

        It is better to say “community of individuals” and then identify the individuals. Just know that any attempt to impose a holistic notion of “community” is virtually impossible because there are an uncountable number of complex, individual details involved.

        The next time someone loosely tosses around the words “community” or “society” your BS meter should activate, especially when the words are spewed in a political context.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          I’ll guarantee you I would not like to live in your definition of a “community!”

  5. Sidney Cooper says:

    Thanks, Hasso for asking these questions. Our neighborhood is convinced there is more here than meets the eye, or that is included in this punch list which the developer could have had done long before summer hit. When I worked framing houses, I preferred summer to wet season. Things are different now, and seasonal concerns are not what is driving this work.

    I also remain more than curious what lies beneath the soil in this subdivision, given that the fill permit required in 2006 was somehow waived for this development.


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