Anna Trevorrow and Sarah Michniewicz have the housing crunch and homeless shelters on their minds as they vie the District 1 Portland City Council seat this November.

Both candidates say the city needs to remedy the lack of affordable housing for middle- and working-class residents in their district, which encompasses most of Bayside and stretches to Munjoy Hill and throughout the city.

Trevorrow, a member of the Portland Board of Education, wants to see property tax revaluations happen more frequently than every 15 years so residents aren’t hit with a big increase all at once.

If we did revaluations every three to five years it would have a more incremental impact,” Trevorrow said.

She also wants to expand tax rebate programs.

“We have a rebate for seniors. Maybe we can expand eligibility for that,” Trevorrow said. “There is a demographic of people who’ve lived here for a long time, don’t want to sell, stay where they are and are not necessarily wealthy. That could help out during this period where revaluation has hit hard.”

To add more housing in the city, Trevorrow also supports zoning changes to enable greater density in some areas and to allow residential uses in some commercial zones.

“With more people working from home, we may find vacancies in a commercially zoned area, and we can look at how we can make it so those can be used for residential repurposing,” Trevorrow said.

She said she would also like fewer parking spaces required per residential until to allow more space for building.

Both candidates said they support creating incentives for developers to keep rentals and houses affordable.

Michniewicz wants to focus on limiting short-term rentals, like those offered on Airbnb, to keep housing stock available, and she’s concerned current limits are being ignored. She’s not talking about “a hard stop” on short-term rentals, she said, but when owners choose not to renew property’s short-term rental registration, “we can ratchet down.”

“We need to enhance the enforcement of rental violations,” Michniewicz said. “There are ways perhaps to change or create a fee structure reflecting the impact those violations are having on our housing market.”

She also wants to see more old buildings rehabbed and public transportation improved for working people without cars.

“There were programs like that in the ’90s, and it’s a very green option,” Michniewicz said. “We need to enhance public transit, do later night stops so people can get to housing that isn’t necessarily on the peninsula or wherever it is.”

Trevorrow and Michniewicz both said the 200-bed homeless service center planned for the Riverton area is the best solution for those in need, although Trevorrow also supports the idea of having smaller shelters spread throughout the city in addition to the large one.

“Socio-economic, diverse neighborhoods are healthy and the community kind of owes a debt to the homeless population,” Trevorrow said.

Michniewicz said she prioritizes the services that a larger shelter will be able to provide and that the area already has a strong “constellation of small shelters” that include those for domestic violence issues and people with substance use disorders.

“The push for more small shelters instead of the right-size service center is based on emotional response, and that’s not endorsed by housing agencies,” Michniewicz said. “Working around shelters for years, with state-level experts, and people outside my door every day, I have a comprehensive view of what we don’t have and what will serve Portland best.”

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