Oregon Nixes Single-Family-Only Zoning in Cities Over 10K

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

EUGENE, Ore. (CN) – Single-family zoning is a thing of the past in Oregon, the first state in the nation to require cities with more than 10,000 people to allow duplexes in neighborhoods that were previously zoned for only one home per lot.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed four bills Thursday aimed at easing Oregon’s housing crisis, including bills to increase funding for housing, study regional housing needs and produce strategies to increase available housing and help people experiencing domestic and sexual violence find housing. The zoning bill also allows triplexes and fourplexes in cities of more than 25,000.

“This session, we committed to significant investments that will help every Oregon family have a warm, safe, and dry place to call home,” Gov. Brown said in a statement. “No one single solution will address our housing crisis, and this legislation tackles the whole spectrum of issues, from homelessness, to stable rental housing, to increasing home ownership.”

Oregon already passed first-in-the-nation legislation to restrict rent increases and prohibit no-cause evictions.

Opponents said lawmakers should instead push the boundary that prevents Portland from sprawling into the forests and farmland that surround it outward.

Portland resident and former Colorado planning commissioner Frances Moore said that was causing a shortage of buildable land and that the state should leave local planning to local communities.

“I am also concerned that increasing urban density without making corresponding changes in infrastructure will cause major problems, especially in transportation (road congestion, parking) and water/sewer adequacy,” Moore wrote in public testimony.

But advocates said the bill will reduce soaring home prices and increase the number of homes available where they’re needed: near jobs and in walkable neighborhoods.

Garlynn Woodsong, land use and transportation committee chair for Portland’s Concordia Neighborhood Association, said workers at local shops and restaurants have to commute from towns outside the city because they can’t afford to live where they work.

“We want to see more homes for regular folks, rather than just more homes for the very well-to-do,” Woodsong wrote in her public testimony. “We must protect our environment by ensuring enough flexibility for more affordable home types and more compact, inclusive neighborhoods.”


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