This progression of the urban growth boundaries, infill, and the Living Smart program
showcase Portland’s dedication to constantly
evolving as a sustainable, livable city.
As the city continues to grow, the urban
growth boundaries are revisited every twenty
years to assess the population growth within
the city, and adjust the boundaries if necessary.
To better manage the expansion of boundaries over time, urban and rural reserves were
created. These reserves currently exist outside
of the urban growth boundaries, but designate
land that is of high value for farms, or of high
potential for urban growth.
These reserves do not change existing
zones, but they enable better long-term
planning by predicting which land must be
preserved and which land can potentially be
utilized for urban expansion in the future.
Portland density currently hovers around
4,740 people per square mile, but thanks to
thoughtful, sustainable planning, Portland
has been able to maintain its European vibe
with friendly, accessible streets and efficient
TINY HOMES AND ADUS
As sustainable living becomes an increasingly
prevalent topic in today’s society, Portland
leads the pack in many urban sustainability
movements. The tiny house movement is no
exception. Tiny houses, also called “
accessory dwelling units” or “ADUs” were born
out of a desire to limit consumption and
decrease the environmental impact of homes
by building very small houses that optimize
space and reject the idea that bigger is better.
Tiny homes are typically 200 to 800 square
feet, and they’re becoming increasingly prevalent on the Portland housing market. Not
only are Portland residents typically progressive in their sustainability efforts, the city of
Portland has made it easier than many cities
to place tiny homes on property and reside
in them or rent them out, legally.
Portland, unlike most cities, allows for the
rental of both the primary property and
an ADU built on the property, without the
owner residing in either. This is making
ADU’s a popular investment for Portland
homeowners, who can easily rent them out
while complying with the city’s zoning codes.
GREATER PORTLAND AND
Portland has plenty of variation in housing
opportunities, but attractive homes and
communities lie beyond the city limits of
Portland as well. While the city of Portland is
a highly desirable place to live with plenty of
diversity in housing options, there are homeowners who still prefer to live further from
urbanity, with the opportunity to own bigger
homes and more land, while still remaining
close enough to work within the city.
Vancouver, Washington is a popular option,
right across the Columbia River. Vancouver
is a small city with a population of approximately 175,000. The population density
of Vancouver (as of the 2014 census) was
3,564 residents per square mile.
Many tall condominium structures were
built in Vancouver in the early 2000’s, in
alignment with efforts to draw more people
to the city’s downtown area. At that same
time, the city saw a revitalization of the local
art scene. Vancouver’s proximity to Portland
has made it a popular place for commuters
who seek more affordable housing with a
similar but smaller city environment.
Beaverton is another popular suburban option
for Portland workers who wish to live elsewhere. Without traffic, Beaverton residents can
reach Portland in about 12 minutes. Located
in the Tualatin River Valley, Beaverton was
named among Money magazine’s top 100
places to live in the country. TriMet’s light rail
makes it easy for commuters to come in and
out of the city, without facing Portland’s infamously bad traffic.
Portland has always marched to the beat of its
own drum — hence the slogan, “Keep Portland Weird.” It’s known as the most European
city in the United States and even though it
ranks at the top of many “great cities to live
in” lists, it doesn’t look like any other.
Portlanders may tend to talk about the Portland of yesterday, before Portland culture
became popular culture, but the heart of the
city remains true to itself. You won’t find
sprawling developments of cookie cutter
homes, in or around the Portland area. Our
neighborhoods each maintain a distinct
flavor, our houses are colorful, and our streets
are friendly and accessible.
People live in tiny houses, bungalows,
converted lofts, and apartment buildings.
They live in the Southeast side where quirky
shops and street performers keep things
colorful, and they live in the Pearl District
where sidewalk cafes and art galleries maintain a high-class vibe, while others live on
the fringe, where there is a little more room,
closer to the beach or mountains.
No matter what you’re looking for in a
house and a neighborhood to call your own,
you’ll find something that is uniquely Portland, and something that is uniquely you.
The city might be a little weird, but it’s also
welcoming of all types of people. It can’t wait
to welcome you. l