Housing Issues Take Stage in Final Days of Legislative Session

| July 1, 2019

It was a busy weekend for the Oregon Legislature, which adjourned sine die on Sunday evening. The Senate Republicans returned to the capitol on Friday after spending nearly a week in protest of HB 2020, the carbon cap-and-trade bill that ultimately died due to lack of sufficient support in the Senate. One of the most significant bills to pass over the weekend was HB 2005, a new statewide paid family and medical leave program.

Several housing related bills and budgets also passed and are on their way to the Governor. HB 2001 requires cities with greater than 25,000 population, and all cities in Metro, to allow for the building of townhomes, duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes and cottage clusters on land current zoned for single-family homes. Cities with populations between 10,000 and 25,000 are required to allow for duplexes. The bill also requires changes to the way that cities and Metro determine their housing needs and buildable lands inventories.

HB 2003 requires the State to work with cities and Metro to estimate existing housing stock, establish housing shortage analysis, estimate needed housing units affordable to people with a range of income levels, and adopt a housing production strategy to meet the estimated housing needs.

The Legislature authorized $150 million in state-backed bonds for affordable housing development via the Local Innovation Fast Track Program (LIFT), $5 million to invest in workforce housing development in rural areas where the lack of housing development is constraining economic growth, and tens of millions of dollars in homelessness prevention efforts.

Stay tuned for a full OAR report on the 2019 legislative session later this summer.  For now, here is a wrap-up from the Oregonian.