By David Krogh

Several bills in both the State House and Senate are being considered which will provide major changes to how future planning occurs and housing needs are met in Oregon.

Certain of these are highly controversial and all will impact SE Portland in various ways.

HB2003: This bill was discussed in The Southeast Examiner last month in great detail. It requires cities to redo their housing needs assessments to better address the State Housing Goal in order to meet “missing middle” obligations.

This bill was sponsored by House Speaker Tina Kotek and is specifically intended to require cities to do better in addressing housing needs than has occurred thus far.

A public hearing was held by the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use on March 5 and continued to March 21. Additional information and testimony is available at bit.ly/2TotuY4. The Committee is discussing modifications to this bill.

HB2001: Like HB2003, this bill was originated by Speaker Kotek and requires cities with populations greater than 10,000 and counties with populations greater than 15,000 to allow middle density types of housing in lands zoned for single-family dwellings within urban growth boundary.

Middle density housing includes duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes. This bill is a State legislative mandate on cities and counties and, per Taylor Smiley Wolfe of Speaker Kotek’s office, is intended to require jurisdictions to address missing middle densities not adequately accommodated by local comprehensive plans.

The House Committee on Human Services and Housing held a hearing on HB2001 on February 11 and is reviewing potential modifications March 18.

Additional information is available at the following link: bit.ly/2uoJ7EH.

Much controversy has come out of this bill, and some aspects of which have been added to Portland’s proposed Residential Infill Project (RIP), which will be considered by the Portland City Council this summer.

Misinformation abounds regarding both the rationale and potential results from both HB2001 and RIP. If HB2003 is adopted, it could negate the need for HB2001 by mandating fresh housing need assessments statewide.

HB2075: This bill establishes a Development Readiness Program within the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to assist local governments with land use goals relating to housing and economic development.

It establishes a Development Readiness Fund to fund this program with $2.03 million, to be transferred from the State General Fund.

DLCD has a history of providing planning assistance to local jurisdictions, especially when they need to comply with State planning mandates.

This bill would provide assistance, particularly in terms of complying with HB2001, HB2003 and SB10, which create planning and housing mandates to cities.

Governor Kate Brown requested this bill for DLCD and the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use held an initial hearing January 29.

To keep track of this bill and testimony for it, see: bit.ly/2HV5Znc.

SB10:  This was sponsored by Senator Peter Courtney and establishes density requirements within urban growth boundaries in the Metropolitan Service District (Metro) as well as with populations of more than 10,000, in areas adjacent to transportation corridors and zoned to allow residential development.

Areas residentially designated within a quarter mile of a priority transit corridor (light rail, bus rapid transit, or 15 minute bus service during peak periods) would be required to have a density of not less than seventy-five units per acre.

Areas out to a half-mile radius would be required to have a density of forty-five units per acre.

For cities not within the Metro area, densities for such proximities to priority transit corridors would be fifty and twenty-five units per acre respectively.

This bill is being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Housing and scheduled for a public hearing April 1.

Testimony thus far has been mixed, but with concerns over a lack of citizen involvement and  increased density does not consider light rail station and transit access locations.

Information about the SB10 review process is at: bit.ly/2HAa2WM.

The mandated planning processes for all these bills and construction activities from new housing requirements will take years to accomplish. None of these will provide an immediate resolution to Oregon’s housing crisis but are intended as  goals to be attained.

To search for State bills and to track their progress and to provide testimony, go to: bit.ly/1E68b0a.