Cranes and construction crew are a common sight in Portland these days, and you can blame it on the building boom. Since the 1980’s our city has been committed to density over sprawl, and now a revitalized market and shifting demographics are ushering in an age of taller building, condos, ambiguous architecture and re-imagined neighborhoods.

Building and demolition permits are being handed out at a red-hot rate, and in the city center alone we’ve seen the highest number of active construction projects in 15 years. As buildings go up (and are torn down) it seems inevitable than in the next decade, Portland is going to be refashioned into a denser, taller, tighter city. But is it a Portland that we want to see built?

As with any city-wide evolution, there are many with stakes in the game. Advocates of low-income housing are pushing for affordable projects – yet many developments are aimed at well-heeled newcomers. We historically condemn sprawl with our urban growth boundary, but some want to preserve our lush, characteristic neighborhoods. Then there’s the increasing parking shortage, questions of environmental sustainability, and quality of life.

Meanwhile, the buildings continue to rise.

Join us this week on Portland Radio Project between 1-2 p.m. for our Biz503 episode on Portland’s building boom. Co-hosts Rebecca Webb of PRP and Suzanne Stevens, editor at Portland Business Journal will dig into the issues raised above, and ask what kinds of solutions exist at the end of the line.

Joining us as panelists this week:

Jon Bell – reporter at Portland Business Journal

Paul Scarlett – Director of Portland Bureau of Development Services

Andy Peterson –  Plan Review and Permitting Services Division Manager at the Portland Bureau of Development Services

Morgan Tracy, Project Manager for the Residential Infill Project 

Vivian Satterfield – Deputy Director of OPAL