February 23, 2015
 

Chair Alissa Keny-Guyer and Committee Members

House Committee on Human Services and Housing

State Capitol

Salem, OR
 

Re: HB 2564 – Inclusionary Zoning

Dear Chair Keny-Guyer and Committee Members:

1000 Friends of Oregon is a 40-year old, non-profit, statewide organization.  We advocate for livable urban and rural communities, protecting family farms and forests, and conserving natural areas, largely through the implementation and improvement of Oregon’s land use planning program.  That land use program includes Goal 10, Housing, which requires that all communities plan their land and transportation systems to ensure the provision of housing for all, including affordable housing.  Having the right land use and zoning tools in place is a necessary, but by no means sufficient, element in providing affordable housing in all communities. 1000 Friends has worked, since the beginning of our organization, for a robust implementation of Goal 10.

1000 Friends of Oregon supports HB 2564.  Local governments in Oregon lack a key tool in the affordable housing tool box – that of inclusionary zoning.  Since 1999, this tool has been prohibited under ORS 197.309, making Oregon one of only two states in the nation to ban this tool.  Passing HB 2564 means that this tool is available to local government to use or not.   If a city or county chooses to use it, there are many ways in which it can be fashioned, often including pairing the tool with incentives and bonuses for builders.

Inclusionary zoning (IZ) is a market-based, land-use housing policy that provides the opportunity for individuals and families of all economic levels to live in the same neighborhoods. It is a tool local jurisdictions can use to ensure that public investments in transportation and other amenities are available to all.  Inclusionary zoning has been in widespread and effective use for decades around the country, in many states, regions, and cities of all sizes. Over 400 jurisdictions in the US have some form of inclusionary zoning policies, which have produced tens of thousands of units of affordable housing, in neighborhoods that are not isolated by income and lack of opportunity. This demonstrates the variety of ways in which local governments can craft the tool to meet local needs.

It is time to lift the prohibition and leave it to each community whether or not, and how, to use inclusionary zoning to ensure that all residents have access to good housing, neighborhoods, transportation, and other amenities.

Sincerely,

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Policy Director and Staff Attorney