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What we now refer to as the Portland Metro area sits on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other tribes.


Sightline Institute and local pro-housing group Portland: Neighbors Welcome are excited to host YIMBYtown 2020 this April, in the wake of some major housing wins. This summer, Oregon became the first state to legalize middle housing statewide, and Seattle passed the nation’s best ADU policy. There has been more inspiring progress on housing in the Pacific Northwest and around the country, including Oregon’s passage of anti rent-gouging protections, Austin’s plan to unlock all neighborhoods for below-market homes, and Minneapolis’ triumph making space for more neighbors by legalizing triplexes citywide.

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YIMBYtown is the national convening of the pro-housing “yes in my backyard” movement. It’s a three-day gathering for grassroots community organizers, political leaders, educators, housing providers, and everyday people to identify problems, create solutions, and share resources and strategies. YIMBYtown offers inspiration, tools, and a network for those working to advance abundant, affordable housing and sustainable development in cities across the United States, Canada, and beyond.

At YIMBYtown 2020: Fair and Sustainable Cities, we will spotlight and build on this year’s major wins, bringing successful housing campaign leaders to share policies, tactics, and lessons learned for local and statewide action. The 2020 elections also present a unique opportunity to influence the national housing policy agenda (we already are!): We will make sure that housing is a priority for ALL our elected leaders.

Lastly, we will focus on two (inextricably linked) issues that demand our attention:

Climate change: The IPCC has concluded that we have less than 11 years to avoid climate catastrophe, leaving us little time to sufficiently decarbonize our economy. If we are to succeed, more efficient land use will be a key strategy, supporting effective public transit, enabling walking and letting more people live car-free. As Grist recently put it: “You can’t tackle climate change without tackling sprawl.” Local housing movements are increasingly also advocating to improve transit, remove parking regulations, and combat freeway expansions, in favor of building more equitable, sustainable neighborhoods. Housing and climate movements can work together to achieve more energy-efficient, climate-resilient cities, from the Green New Deal to rethinking federal housing and land use, transportation, and infrastructure policies. Our survival may depend on it.

Community stabilization: For many communities who have been discriminated against, and for low-income people, “the housing crisis” is nothing new. Today’s housing shortages demand not only that we build enough housing for everyone who wants to live in our cities; they also demand policies that alleviate the immediate suffering that the housing crisis is having on our most vulnerable residents; decrease segregation; expand access to areas of opportunity; redress past harms; and avoid future ones. At YIMBYtown 2020, we will share successful models for building enough housing at all prices, fully implementing Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing laws, and actively fighting displacement citywide. We will explore how these strategies can work together to house our full communities stably and affordably.

We look forward to hosting you in Portland soon!

About the venue: YIMBYtown 2020 will be hosted by the Eliot Center. Located in downtown Portland, the Center is committed to hosting events that support sustainability, social justice, the arts, community, and education. The Center was founded by the First Unitarian Church of Portland, but the venue is nondenominational, includes no religious iconography, and explicitly welcomes all regardless of faith. The First Unitarian campus is also host to Outside In, a nonprofit that helps homeless youth and other marginalized people move towards improved health and self-sufficiency.

Code of conduct: As with prior YIMBYtowns, we will treat each other with respect, open hearts and minds, and assume best intentions. By registering for YIMBYtown 2020, you will agree to the following (and when we post registration, there will be a check box to verify it!):

  • YIMBYtown is a supportive, safe, welcoming environment for all, regardless of level of political involvement, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, personal appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, nationality, or other personal characteristic.
  • Please be kind and courteous to each other. No personal attacks. There’s no need to be mean or rude. Don’t be ashamed to celebrate the work of others.
  • Political debate is greatly encouraged and part of how we learn. Be respectful, use healthy forms of discourse, and be open to new ideas.
  • Respect that people have differences of opinion and that every decision carries a trade-off and numerous costs. There is seldom a perfect answer, especially in political activism.
  • Please keep unstructured critique to a minimum. If you have solid ideas you want to experiment with, be prepared to do the work yourself, if you have an idea, don’t be afraid to bring it up to see if you can build some kind of team/work group.
  • Do not take photos or video without asking first.
  • You will be asked to leave the conference if you insult, demean, or harass anyone. Our definition of harassment includes:
    • Violence, threats of violence or violent language directed against another person.
    • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, ageist, or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language.
    • Sharing or displaying sexually explicit or violent material.

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