First Advisor

Alex Stepick

Date of Publication

Spring 7-14-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Sociology






Regional planning -- Oregon -- Portland, Housing -- Oregon -- Portland, Cities and towns -- Growth, Local government -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 135 pages)


The Portland metropolitan region has seen unprecedented growth in the last three decades, resulting in both economic expansion and considerable gentrification. While lauded for its commitment to sustainability and a "smart development" ethos, many questions remain for the city with respect to the needs of displaced residents and a burgeoning population of young professionals. This study examines how various levels of government implement growth management policies to accommodate these demographic changes, and aims to assess whether and how the consequences of growth, especially gentrification and displacement, are meaningfully addressed. Qualitative interviews were conducted with staff members and elected officials from city, county, and regional government structures across the Portland metropolitan area to investigate the "regional housing crisis." Inductive analysis of these data considers the implications of Portland's layered government structure for making equitable growth-related decisions.

Participants expressed a mismatch in what was expected of them--both from higher levels of government and their constituents--and their perceived capacity to do so. While government officials advocate the need for new development of affordable housing units, they see themselves as limited by a series of technical barriers in the stratified planning process, as well as an unequal distribution of influential power in public involvement processes. Findings are synthesized to offer policy recommendations and consider alternative government responses to public housing issues.


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