Sightline Institute | News and Views for a Sustainable Northwest
A Guide to Alaska’s November 2022 Election
Mon, 03 Oct 2022 14:00:01 +0000
Save Anchorage from Parking Mandates
Fri, 30 Sep 2022 15:00:43 +0000
Anchorage needs parking. The city was built around cars and so almost everyone uses them, whether they want to or not. Naturally we need a place to put them. But who should have the power to decide how much parking Anchorage’s homes and businesses need£ It’s a question that’s come up in cities and states across the US. City zoning codes tend to dictate how many parking spaces, say, a...
Summer Recap: Changing Portland’s City Charter
Tue, 27 Sep 2022 17:30:03 +0000
When Cities Switch To One-Winner Council Districts, Housing Growth Plummets
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 18:00:12 +0000
A new 11th-hour idea for rewriting the rules of Portland’s city government has several possible flaws, but here’s one: statistically speaking, it’d be likely to worsen the city’s housing shortage. The proposal was publicly floated in a media interview three weeks ago by its loudest advocate, city Commissioner Mingus Mapps. Mapps’s idea, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive: to scrap the concept hammered out by a city-appointed citizen commission over the last...
In Seattle, Courts Might Reject Approval Voting . . .
Mon, 19 Sep 2022 14:30:56 +0000
Author’s note: A few weeks ago, I detailed why approval voting would be a risky venture for Seattle. Then, I argued that approval voting would start no sooner than ranked choice voting in Seattle, if voters chose it in November. This time: a voting-rights law firm examines the two options’ legality.  In November, Seattle voters will consider whether to stick with their status quo electoral method or switch to approval...
Seven Ways to Pay for Long Rotations
Mon, 12 Sep 2022 14:00:25 +0000
We’re Wildly Underestimating the Potential of Mobile Housing
Fri, 09 Sep 2022 19:00:29 +0000
No, Approval Voting Would Not Start Sooner than Ranked Choice Voting in Seattle
Fri, 09 Sep 2022 14:00:36 +0000
What Peltola’s Win Can Teach Alaska (and America)
Thu, 01 Sep 2022 03:40:59 +0000
 Mary Peltola is going to the US House. The former state House member will become the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress after winning the state’s first ranked choice election on Wednesday. Peltola will serve out the remainder of the term of former Representative Don Young, who passed away in March.   Peltola maintained her lead in Round 1 to beat out Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich...
Compare Cheney and Murkowski’s Political Fates—It’s All About the Primary
Fri, 26 Aug 2022 23:22:43 +0000
The following is excerpted from an article Sightline senior researcher Jeannette Lee guest-wrote for The Fulcrum.  If you want to know how to save American democracy, look no further than the cases of Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The primary elections systems in their states dictated two divergent political fates.  Both Cheney and Murkowski are established Republican incumbents from sparsely populated red states; each serves in...
Can Anchorage Bring Back the Triplex£
Wed, 24 Aug 2022 14:00:21 +0000
There’s not much consumer choice in the Anchorage housing market. Single-detached homes, or “one-plexes,” are the norm, even though residents want more options to accommodate their different life stages and budgets. So, some of Alaska’s top architects and builders teamed up with Fairview residents in a neighborhood design contest to imagine a future inspired by historic housing norms, when cities allowed a wider array of homes in American neighborhoods. In...
Approval Voting Is a Risky Prospect for Seattle
Thu, 11 Aug 2022 15:00:06 +0000
Seattle voters will decide in November whether to adopt approval voting, ranked choice voting, or no change to their primary election ballots. What do the research literature and practical experience say about these two alternatives to pick-one voting£ They say a tremendous amount about ranked choice voting (RCV), and Sightline has summarized the lessons in tens of thousands of mostly encouraging words over years. But they say much less about...
San Juan County (WA) Council Blocks Ranked Choice Voting and Other Charter Amendments from November Ballot
Thu, 04 Aug 2022 21:30:24 +0000
Author’s note, August 26, 2022: Since the original publication of this article, two members of the Charter Review Commission successfully sued San Juan County to place these amendments back on the ballot in November. On August 15, a county superior court judge ruled that the County Council was incorrect in concluding that the Charter Review Commission’s term had expired and incorrect in unilaterally preventing the amendments from proceeding (instead of...
In Alaska’s Special Election, a Bipartisan Mindset Makes Sense
Thu, 28 Jul 2022 19:00:40 +0000
Oregon Just Slashed Parking Mandates. 5 Things That Might Happen Next
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 19:05:28 +0000
On Thursday, Oregon approved the largest rollback to parking mandates in modern US history. The unanimous vote by the state’s land use commission came through an unusual channel: an administrative action, ordered by the governor, that breathed new ambition into the broadly written land use laws that have gradually shaped Oregon for 50 years. The law in question gives the state board the power to set land use rules that,...
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