This is our “I Told You So” episode
Join Jonathan and Sara from Portland Assembly to examine how the YIMBY movement got one over on us.
We’ve spent the last few months talking about how our current housing crisis and everything bubble were manufactured and inflated. We talked about how after the crash in 2008 banks and major companies bought up cheap properties, bundled them into portfolios and then created an entirely new rent futures market to facilitate massive displacement and wealth extraction.
We talked about how Portland’s developer friendly-policies and our elected leaders’ cozy relationships with big money acquisition companies made Portland a lawless frontier for companies like Blackstone as they drove huge rent-increases, further destruction of non-white neighborhoods, and the construction of thousands of units of housing no one can afford to live in. We talked about the highly questionable decision to invest millions of dollars of Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement fund (PERS) that Ted Wheeler made while state treasurer.
We’ve also called into question both the NIMBY and YIMBY rhetoric that strips nuance from our discussions around housing, ignores the needs of poor and cost-burdened renters, not to mention the unhoused, and uses corporate PR tactics to advance the ends of developers and corporations.
Well, last week a Republican senator introduced a “YIMBY Bill” (1), Trump signed an executive order aimed at easing regulations for poor, underworked developers (2), and it became clear that our own YIMBY nightmare, HB2001 will be signed into law.
What does all this mean, now that it seems like it’s too late? And what can we still do to fight back and establish housing as a human right rather than an ever-inflatable commodity?