Governor Wins Battle to Provide Oregon with More Housing

Governor Tina Kotek’s long-fought high-ticket battle to provide more housing throughout the state has been approved by the Senate. The proposals will now be referred to the House for final approval. Gov. Kotek staked her political career to deliver on her promise to improve the state’s homeless and housing crisis.


State Approves House Bills Totaling $376 Million

The $376 million project will produce more housing, assist in upgrading facilities at existing homeless shelters, introduce a new state agency, and allow cities to bypass Oregon land-use laws to accelerate the construction of new housing.

Last year, the governor’s request for $500 million to help solve the housing crisis failed to gain approval. Earlier this week, however, House Bills 1530 and 1537, together with House Bill 4134, were supported by lawmakers, and $376 million will now be plowed into producing more housing and providing additional infrastructure.


Senate Bill 1530

Senate Bill 1530 includes expenditures amounting to $279 million.

  • $131 million has been allocated for housing and projects to assist the homeless population.

This includes Project Turnkey which sets aside funds to buy hotels for renovation into emergency shelters for homeless people.

  • $123.5 million has been set aside for the acquisition of land and the construction of “shovel-ready” housing projects in various counties.
  • $24.5 million for air filters and air conditioners to support lower energy consumption and to provide cooling and warmth in homeless shelters.


Senate Bill 1537

This bill will finance the creation of the Housing Accountability and Production Office, a new state agency that will assist local governments in streamlining building processes.

The bill also provides $75 million to create interest-free revolving loans to local governments to fund affordable housing projects.

Related: $20M Awarded For Affordable Housing By Oregon Housing And Community Services

Initially, several senators voted against the bill give cities a chance to bypass land-use laws by expanding urban growth boundaries. Cities with populations exceeding 25,000 can now utilize 100 acres, and cities with populations below 25,000 can incorporate 50 acres into urban boundaries.

For the last 12 months, Gov. Kotek has visited the state’s 36 counties and says no matter where she traveled the general discussion was about housing.


Homes Of All Types Needed to Solve Housing Crisis

The answer to the housing crisis is more homes of all types says Jenny Pakula, Oregon Realtors Association CEO. Representing 18,000 realtors, Pakula says what is needed is more single-family homes, condos, townhouses, duplexes, and triplexes.

Pointing out that the shortage of houses in Oregon has been ongoing for years, Pakula says real estate professionals work with people daily who either cannot find a home or who must live many miles from their place of employment.

Related: Massive Tax Increases To Meet Housing Production Targets Being Considered By Gov. Kotek’s Advisory Council

The chairman of the Senate’s Housing and Development Committee, Sen. Kayse Jama, says Oregon must build more affordable housing and increase its housing production output. Sen. Jama-D-Portland stated that “nothing else matters” if people do not have a roof over their heads. He applauded the bill, adding that it offers immediate relief to the state’s homeless population.


Opposition to Urban Boundary Expansion

Several people have voiced their opposition to the bypass rule that will allow cities to expand urban areas by incorporating outlying land.

One of the opponents is the president of the Oregon Land and Water Alliance, Paul Lipscomb. In a letter to lawmakers, Lipscomb says Oregon has set itself apart from other states because of its natural resources, such as farmlands and forests.

Lipscomb says allowing boundary expansion by building suburban homes on farmland will not solve the housing crisis in Oregon. He says apart from destroying farmland, suburban sprawl, energy consumption, and pollution will increase.

Morning Brief Newsletter
Sign up today for our daily newsletter, a quick overview of top local stories and Oregon breaking news delivered directly to your inbox
You can unsubscribe at any time
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.