Portland, Oregon, the nation’s most livable city, may be the most affordable to live.
But it’s also home to some of the worst air pollution, traffic jams, traffic congestion, and climate change impacts.
So why are Portland’s air quality so bad?
That’s what we’re going to find out, and we’re also going to take you inside one of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods, the Portland Housing Authority.
Reporter: This is a neighborhood of houses, small businesses, and homes.
But its been hard hit by the rising temperatures.
The average house has been over 50 years old.
It has a median price of $1,200, which is a big jump from the median price in 1990.
The city’s housing market has been one of the biggest sellers.
But the boom is over, and the housing is starting to take its toll on the health of the neighborhood.
The first report of the health crisis comes in October of this year.
There are some really unhealthy neighborhoods, particularly in the east end, in particular, the northwest end.
Reporter.: And that’s what the new report is all about.
It shows the impact of pollution on the community.
And this is the healthiest neighborhood in the city.
The worst neighborhoods have very, very high rates of asthma, and they have high rates and rates of COPD, coronavirus.
Reporter:”It’s the kind of environment that has the highest incidence of respiratory illness, and that’s really the only reason why I’m here.”
We know that the city’s population has been growing.
And in 2016, there were about 4,500 people moving into Portland.
But for many, the increase was a disappointment.
“We don’t want people moving in who aren’t ready.”
And the housing shortage is not helping either.
In 2016, the city had nearly 1,200 vacant homes.
They’re being rented out to families and seniors.
Reporter.(Inaudible) Reporter:”The city has been in a rental crunch.
And it’s a very hard one for renters, and for families.”
But they have a solution.
They put a moratorium on new homes in the neighborhood, and set aside a lot of the land for affordable housing.
Reporter(Inaudable): But some are calling the moratorium a win for the neighborhood and the city, and a win to the city and to the country.
It’s a win, in part, for the city of Portland, because it prevents new homes from going in the way of affordable housing in the community that was supposed to be a housing boon.
But at the same time, the moratorium does nothing to help the people that are being left behind.
It doesn’t address the root cause of the problem.
The biggest challenge in this neighborhood is the lack of affordable affordable housing, so it’s really a problem of displacement, not just a problem in a city.
Reporter:(Inaudibly) Reporter: So the moratorium has been a huge success for the housing authority.
The number of units that have been created through the moratorium is up a whopping 400%.
And that is a huge increase from last year, and it’s one of only a handful of cities that have had such a huge housing boom in the past five years.
That’s because housing is so cheap here.
Reporter”(Inaudibles) Reporter”(Ashes to ashes) Reporter:(Chuckles) Reporter(Chuckles)”I think what the city is doing is very important, and I think that’s why this city is so successful.”