By David Krogh
A stress filled and sometimes chaotic 2019 Oregon State legislative session is now over. Several bills that passed are noteworthy and will be briefly examined as follows.
HB 200: proposed by House Speaker Tina Kotek to mandate densification of single family zoning in most cities within the State in order to address housing shortages.
Palmer Mason with the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), says cities over 25,000 in population and cities in metropolitan service districts (such as Metro) are mandated to update zoning codes and plans by June of 2022 to allow middle density housing within all areas previously zoned for single family housing.
Middle density housing includes duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and cottage clusters. Cities outside of metropolitan service districts and with populations of between 10,000 and 25,000 shall modify codes and plans to permit duplexes where single-family housing is allowed by June of 2021.
DLCD is required to develop a model-housing ordinance to address the requirements of this bill by December of 2020. Cities would need to follow this model unless they adopt their own versions.
This bill and HB2003 (see next discussion) will greatly change the future of residential planning and zoning in Oregon.
HB 2003: requires the State Housing and Community Services Department to develop a regional housing needs analysis by September of 2020 in order to establish guidance for cities to better address housing needs.
DLCD is required to report on the analysis as it relates to the housing assessments of cities. Cities of 10,000 or more in population will be required to adopt housing capacity analyses and housing production strategies in response.
SB 870: signed by Governor Brown, makes Oregon the 15th state to approve a measure honoring the national popular vote. This means Oregon’s seven electoral votes would all go to the popular vote winner for US President.
If enough states adopt this measure so they represent the amount needed to elect the President, the controversial Electoral College will be sidestepped in favor of popular vote counts.
SB 320: has been approved and would allow daylight savings time to be maintained year round in Oregon. All but one of Oregon’s thirty-six counties would spring forward and never fall back, but only if Congress approves the time change and neighboring Washington and California also adopt daylight time on a permanent basis.
At present, Washington has adopted this measure and it is expected to pass in California.
HB 2699: allows local governments to offer property tax breaks for clean up of polluted brownfield sites; an incentive for encouraging property owners to do the clean up as opposed to necessitating enforcement action.
HB 2209: requires contingency planning for rail companies that haul oil for the purpose of addressing incidents involving oil spills. Largely intended for preventative purposes, the contingency plans will need to be submitted and approved prior to transportation permit issuance.
HB 2007: regulates diesel truck emissions with the intention of requiring updated engines and emission systems over time so as to reduce excessive exhaust emissions.
HB 2716: a bill that imposes transparency for campaign advertising. Campaign ads or messages must clearly identify the names of the primary donors or campaign committee.
HB 3427: creates a Corporate Activity Tax based on commercial activity conducted by businesses for purposes of school programs.
The tax is $250 plus 0.57% on taxable commercial activity above $1 million. It reduces the Personal Income Tax rates for the three lower brackets from 5%, 7%, and 9% to 4.75%, 6.75%, and 8.75% and creates a Fund for Student Success to allocate funds/grants for school class size reductions, special needs assessments, and other program improvements. These tax changes first take effect with tax year 2020.
SB 608: caps how much landlords can raise rent and makes it harder for them to evict tenants without a reason. The State Housing Division will conduct monitoring.
HB 2005: establishes a means for allowing up to twelve weeks per year of paid medical leave for qualified individuals. It sets up procedures for filing such claims and establishes a payment mechanism funded by employers and employees based on income deductions not to exceed one percent.
SB 8: deals with affordable housing projects and allows attorneys fees to be awarded to opponents who lose on appeal. Its direction is to prevent frivolous appeals primarily intended to delay projects.
HB 5027: establishes DLCD’s budget, at $22 million in the coming year. Of this amount, $6.5 million is earmarked towards implementation of HB’s 2001 and 2003. As Mason of DLCD notes, $4.5 million would go towards technical support to cities, $1 million for grants, and $1 million for seven additional support staff.