The conversation shared below was part of the YIMBYtown 2022 conference, cohosted by Sightline Institute and Portland: Neighbors Welcome.*
Who decides what housing gets built, and for whom? How do our electoral systems intersect with housing policy at the local and state levels? This panel included Verde’s Candace Avalos, board member for Portland: Neighbors Welcome who also serves on Portland’s Charter Commission; and Jeannette Lee, a researcher with Sightline Institute who covers Democracy and Housing from Anchorage, Alaska. Alex Zielinski of the Portland Mercury moderated the panel.
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Lee discussed how changes to electoral systems in Alaska can create a more favorable environment for helping to increase the supply of attainable housing in neighborhoods with great amenities like schools, trails, and restaurants. Avalos described how Portland charter reforms can make the city’s housing policy more responsive to the needs of renters and low-income residents.
*YIMBYtown 2022 occurred April 11–13 in Portland, Oregon, the fourth annual gathering (after some COVID delays) of “Yes in My Back Yard” (YIMBY) community leaders, organizers, planners, policymakers, educators, and housing providers eager to share resources and strategies for building more affordable, sustainable, and equitable communities.