The Bill that Should Have Passed – HB 2564: Inclusionary Zoning

Mary Kyle McCurdy

Land Use Goal 10 requires that all cities provide residential land zoned to meet the housing needs of all Oregonians. During the 2015 legislative session, 1000 Friends worked with a coalition of organizations, individuals, local governments, and businesses that care about affordable housing in an attempt to pass House Bill 2564, which would have enabled local governments to use inclusionary zoning to provide housing opportunities for all, in every neighborhood. Local governments from Hood River to Lincoln County and Corvallis to Milwaukie supported HB 2564.

Had it passed, the bill would have removed the current state prohibition on "inclusionary zoning," which is an effective tool to provide for affordable housing that many other states and regions have successfully used for decades. Inclusionary zoning, or IZ, has two critical features: it can be crafted by local governments to fit local circumstances, and it enables every community to provide housing affordable to all. The common framework for IZ is a requirement that all housing developments over a certain size set aside a certain percentage of units for those at or below a particular income level. So, for example, an apartment building of 20 market-rate units might ensure that two of those units are affordable for sale or rent to those making the minimum wage. Most IZ codes provide that in exchange, the builder gets some sort of bonus – like a density bonus, a reduction in parking requirements, or a waiver of certain fees.

HB 2564 passed the Oregon House, thanks in large part to the leadership of House Speaker Tina Kotek and Representatives Alissa Keny-Guyer and Julie Williamson. On the Senate side, Senator Sara Gelser led the effort to pass the bill out of her committee. However, other Senators ensured the bill never came to a full Senate vote, despite efforts by many to address the home building industry’s concerns. To hear Speaker Tina Kotek discuss the IZ at a City Club event, click here.

Stay tuned – 1000 Friends and a broad coalition will be back in February 2016 to repeal the IZ ban. In the meantime, please send a thank you to Representatives Kotek, Keny-Guyer, and Williamson and Senator Gelser. For more information or to receive information about the February legislative session effort, please contact Mary Kyle McCurdy at mkm@friends.org.