Last week, ULC’s Vice President of Master Site Development Tony Pickett was invited to give a keynote address at a Business & the Environment Speaker Series. The event was hosted by the Oregon Environmental Council (OEC), a nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the advancement of “innovative, collaborative and equitable solutions to Oregon’s environmental challenges for today and future generations.”

The discussion was MC’d by Kimberly Schneider Branam, the Executive Director of Prosper Portland, and focused on providing solutions to the issues that threaten quality of life such as housing costs, traffic congestion and social inequity. Pickett’s keynote speech “Housing, Transportation and Social Equity: ‘Win-Win-Win’ Solutions for Fast-Growing Communities” touched on each of these points and more.

Pickett’s address emphasized that “land is power”, highlighting the importance of community land trusts – while also noting that these are not the only answer to address a housing crisis, as affordable housing is typically a political problem, not a technical one. Pickett also reminded his audience of the importance of housing and transportation as the key to true affordability. He explained the outdated notion of spending 30% of your income on housing, as many low income persons are facing increased transportation costs as they are pushed further and further from their jobs/schools/early childhood education facilities/grocery stores/etc. Thus, the development of affordable housing along transit corridors provides even more affordability with individuals and families struggling to afford a car, which adds an additional 15% cost burden on average.

Prosper Portland's Kimberly Schneider Branam (left) and ULC's Tony Pickett (right) at the 2017 Oregon Environmental Council's Business & the Environment Speaker Series.
Prosper Portland's Kimberly Schneider Branam (left) and ULC's Tony Pickett (right) at the 2017 Oregon Environmental Council's Business & the Environment Speaker Series.