2016 Legislative Agenda

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Wed, 01/27/2016 (All day)

It's time for inclusionary zoning, a healthy climate, and affordable housing for all Oregonians

Legislative Update: February 24, 2016

1000 Friends and a diverse coalition went into the 2016 Oregon legislative session supporting an affordable housing bill on inclusionary zoning that would benefit low and moderate income Oregonians.  Goal 10 of Oregon’s land use planning program requires all cities to ensure they have land –inside their UGBs – zoned to meet the housing needs of all.  Unfortunately, that bill, SB 1533, has been loaded up with conditions and restrictions that benefit developers, and other provisions have been watered-down, making the bills a pale imitation of what we wanted.  The City of Portland will work hard to make this work for Portlanders. However, we have heard from cities outside Portland, throughout the state, that the conditions loaded on to the bill make it functionally unworkable for them.

That doesn’t mean we are done with this session. One major bill (HB 4079) still in consideration threatens the integrity of Oregon’s Urban Growth Boundaries. It purports to act as an affordable housing bill, but it will do nothing for the affordable housing needs of our communities, while creating a precedent for cities to avoid their existing responsibility under Goal 10 to provide housing land for the needs of all. HB 4079 is unneeded and uses affordable housing as a ruse to open farm and forest lands and natural areas to urban sprawl. There is still time to contact your representative on this issue, and ask them to vote no on HB 4079!

January 27, 2016

Fifteen state legislators from the greater Portland region heard from dozens of speakers and a room of over three-hundred citizens about the affordable housing issues facing Oregonians - not only in the Portland area, but around the state. The lack of affordable housing has been building for a long time, and it has come to a head with more and more families having to look for housing far from transit, jobs, and everyday needs like grocery stores. Our communities need a full tool box to ensure all Oregonians have safe and affordable housing - and that includes land use tools. Oregon's land use Goal 10 requires that cities and towns provide land zoned for the full range of housing needs - including smaller housing options. Our communities need a tool that every other state allows - except Texas - inclusionary zoning.

Through inclusionary zoning, local governments can require that new housing developments include a certain percentage of units that are affordable to those of modest means. In exchange, builders usually get some other benefit, liked a reduced fee, an expedited process, or a density bonus. 1000 Friends has joined with other organizations to push legislation in February 2016 to lift Oregon's current ban on inclusionary zoning.  Please contact your legislator and ask them to support SB 1533. Learn more about inclusionary zoning here.

Other topics that you should pay attention to this session include:

The Healthy Climate Bill – This bill adds accountability to act on the state’s climate goals. “It will limit climate pollution and account for its cost, accelerating the transition to clean energy and creating a healthy future for our children.” 1000 Friends supports this endeavor, as do a great number of diverse interests, from the Coalition of Communities of Color to Oregon Rural Action. There is a rally in Salem on February 3.

Housing Relief Act – This omnibus housing bill is important for providing quality, affordable housing to Oregon families and for protecting renters from no-cause evictions and steep price increases. This legislation will empower local governments to incentivize developers to focus on affordable housing through land use regulations or plan provisions, making it easier and more cost effective to build housing that more people can afford. These stipulations are critical for Oregon’s housing crisis and we encourage you to have your voice heard – contact your legislator today and tell them to support Housing Relief!

Yet another attempt to dismantle Oregon land use – Every session some legislators attempt to exempt portions of Oregon from our state's 40-year old land use planning program. Every year, 1000 Friends of Oregon and allies across the state - from Eastern Oregon ranchers to Portland bicycle commuters to Willamette Valley farmers - successfully thwart these brazen attempts to devalue and pave over farmland, create more sprawl, and add hidden tax burdens for citizens. This year, several attempts are being made to dismantle the UGB while hiding it behind superficial IZ proposals. Don’t let them undercut Oregon’s land use and say NO to LC 203, SB 1548, and SB 1575. 

We encourage everyone to contact their legislator this session and let them know that you want them to vote for inclusionary zoning and other tools that help create affordable housing solutions and you want them to honor Senate Bill 100 and keep our land use planning in place!