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  • Peter Ettro

Big Changes Ahead for Oregon Cities With Sweeping New Land-Use Bill, 2001

After a last minute push, the new Land-Use Bill (HB2001) that allows construction of duplexes and other small multifamily structures in single family zoned residential neighborhoods has passed the Oregon Senate.


Oregon will now become the first state that allows the building of duplex, triplex and fourplexes in residential areas, with the main requirements being the city has a population of 10,000 or greater, or be zoned residential within the Portland Metro area.


Some residents in Portland's historic urban districts claimed the bill would change the character of their neighborhoods, but housing and tenant advocates argued that affordable housing in Oregon, especially the Portland metro area, is simply unaffordable or unattainable for most residents. 


The bill was backed by House Speaker Tina Kotek and other Democratic leaders, and came as Portland advanced its own Residential Infill Project with similar provisions for increasing housing density.


Portland has faced an affordable housing crisis and new home development shortage for many years, now it has until June 2021 (or June 2022 depending on the cities size) to bring it’s land-use rules into compliance with the new HB2001 bill.


Housing analysts also pointed to Portland’s experience with corner-lot duplexes, which have been allowed for years.


“In general, we haven’t seen a mass demolition and new development of duplexes on corners,” said Tyler Bump, a project director for ECONorthwest.


In many cases, it makes sense to leave single-family homes in place, Bump said.


“When we look at development feasibility of middle housing, it’s still challenging,” he said. “The existing single-family house is the highest and best use in most transactions, most sales. There’s a lot of value in single-family houses, and there’s a lot of demand for that still.”


For developers, investors, contractors and architects, middle housing is likely to be the domain of small operators. The projects are not large enough to generate returns that would interest major investors and firms, housing professionals said. Portland is expected to grow by about 123,000 households by 2035, according to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.


One of the greatest challenges Ettro Capital faces is dealing with the bureaucracy of local government agencies, Portland has long been known for it’s slow-to-react approach to housing and new development, which lead to this housing crisis in the first place. With the help of law makers and housing advocates we hope this is the beginning of the changes required to combat the plethora of housing issues the state currently faces.


See the full details of HB2001 here






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