Gov. Tina Kotek’s One And Only 2024 Proposed Bill Seeks To Increase Primarily Affordable Housing

With housing being her key focus for 2024, Gov. Tina Kotek plans to introduce just one bill in the  2024 legislative session. In the bill, she will be calling for $500 million to create more housing, particularly affordable housing.

With housing as her key focus, Kotek sees the housing bill as catalytic. And hopes to see a lot more housing starting by the middle of 2025. She said, “Local government has to move faster.” To address the financing needs for workforce housing that is not currently happening in the state, infrastructure spending will be necessary.

But the bill does have more stipulations, for example, cities would have to provide evidence that there is a need for additional land supply and affordable housing,  Establishing a one-time exception for local governments to more easily expand their urban growth boundary by 75 or 150 acres, the new package has some similarities and key differences from her priority bill that died at the end of last year’s session. Opposed by environmental groups and others, it was argued that House Bill 3414 didn’t establish adequate housing density or affordability requirements.

According to the draft bill, if cities have expanded their urban growth boundaries in the last 20 years, they won’t be eligible for the program, unless they have begun the process of developing houses in 75% of the expansion area. Only cities with a higher percentage of households that are extremely cost-burdened (i.e. who pay more than 50% of their income on housing) than the state average will qualify for the one-time expansion.

Developers will be required to designate 30% of all housing units in the intended expansion area to households that earn 80% or less of the area median income. High-value forest or farmland that is not already zoned as urban reserve land will not be included in the proposed expansion.

Allocating $200 million for infrastructure, the Legislature already asked cities in November to submit information on local infrastructure projects, such as sewer, water, and transportation projects, emphasizing projects that related to housing development and could be completed within two years. Helping developers build more climate-friendly housing, the bill sets aside money to subsidize heat pumps and other components.

Creating a state housing accountability and production office by mid-2025 will help local communities navigate state housing laws and be empowered to investigate violations of housing law. Technical assistance is also part of the draft bill, with proposed grants to help cities apply for funding, and $200 million is earmarked for moderate-income housing intended to keep rents and housing prices low for the workforce population.

Kotek’s bill would channel $400 million into local infrastructure projects and middle-income housing, establishing a tool for cities to expand their urban growth boundaries. But with stringent affordability requirements for new homes, the grants seek to provide climate-friendly housing and also create a state housing accountability and production office. Kotek said, “If the bill stays the way it is, we’ll have some of the strongest affordability requirements around new production in the country.”





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