A pair of bills now under consideration in the Oregon House Committee on Business and Labor would establish new standards for tiny houses, which are not defined or regulated under existing rules. Lawmakers should help with a streamlined permitting process and simpler code requirements, not throw up obstacles.
HB 2737 would allow narrow ladders or stairways for lofts and eliminate minimum ceiling height and room size in dwellings 250 square feet or less, and the small homes would not be required to have electrical service or water supply. HB 2165 would apply standards for recreational vehicles to tiny homes that are not permanently sited.
Eric Schmidt, Gresham’s community development director and president of the board of the Oregon Building Officials Association, told the committee last week that lower standards for tiny houses would somehow demean those living in them because it would send the message that it's acceptable for those people to have a lower "standard of life safety" than someone living in a conventional home.
Living in a tiny house would make a person a second-class citizen, but sleeping under a bridge doesn't?
Housing the homeless is challenging enough without the government setting standards that make a simple solution too complicated to be workable. One builder of tiny houses told the committee that he is moving his manufacturing to Idaho because he doesn't want to fight the state over what he sees as unreasonable regulations.
Lawmakers should listen to that message, and get the state out of the way.