HB 2007/SB 1051: Policies to meet Oregon’s housing needs

This post is the second in a series explaining key housing bills that passed during the 2017 legislative session. Thank you to Housing Alliance member 1000 Friends of Oregon for their contributions to this post.

In addition to investing in affordable homes, the 2017 Oregon Legislature passed an important policy bill, SB 1051, to help ensure Oregon’s communities are meeting their housing needs. House Speaker Tina Kotek, a leading legislative champion for affordable homes, introduced HB 2007 to support the creation of more housing, including homes that are affordable to families with low and moderate incomes. While HB 2007 did not pass, many of the key provisions in this bill were passed in SB 1051.

Oregon’s land use Goal 10 calls for adequate housing in all price ranges and rent levels, with flexibility for housing location, types of housing, and density. Yet the gap between existing housing and the need is substantial—and increasing. For every 100 families with extremely low incomes, there are only 26 affordable units that are available. Even middle-income families face a lack of affordable homes. There simply is not enough housing for all Oregonians to afford, and identifying strategies to increase the number of homes, especially affordable homes, are badly needed.

Housing Alliance member 1000 Friends of Oregon was one of the leaders in developing and advocating for HB 2007 and ultimately SB 1051. They provide context on the context and purpose of the bill:

“We are not meeting the types of housing that many Oregonians need. Every community in Oregon has a similar profile, in which approximately two-thirds of all households are 1 to 2 people in size, a long-term trend and a percentage that is growing. These are the young couple who has not yet started a family, an older couple whose children have grown, the 20-something just starting out, the 70-something widow, the single parent with 1 or 2 children – they are nurses, teachers, electricians, medical technicians, the person who waited on you somewhere today. They want to live in walkable neighborhoods with good schools, age in the neighborhood they raised their children, live near the place they work […] We have zoned most of our residential lands in ways that functionally exclude a large percentage of Oregonians at any price point by not offering the type of housing they need, and certainly economically excludes many.

 “Failure to increase both the supply and diversity of housing for lower and middle income Oregonians will increase the price of all existing housing, regardless of its condition. HB 2007 took important steps to better ensure our towns and cities are providing for the housing needs of all, in every neighborhood.

HB 2007 was amended as it moved through the legislative process and while it received a hearing before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources, it did not move forward. Important elements of HB 2007 were kept and moved into SB 1051, which ultimately passed out of the Legislature. SB 1051 will:

  • Expedite affordable housing permits
  • Strengthen requirements for clear and objective review standards for housing developments
  • Streamline local government procedures to make it easier to provide more housing, and especially affordable housing, in all Oregon communities
  • Allow accessory dwelling units in single-family neighborhoods
  • Allow religious institutions to use their property to develop affordable housing
  • Changes how local jurisdictions meet state land use goals by requiring that they plan for the full spectrum of housing needs, requiring them to identify housing needed for every income level, including housing that is affordable to residents with low, very low, and extremely low incomes.

This bill was the result of extensive collaboration among stakeholders, and the Housing Alliance included HB 2007/SB 1051 on its support agenda. Going forward, the Housing Alliance is excited to continue working with its members on housing policies that will help meet Oregon’s housing needs. Thank you to 1000 Friends of Oregon for its leadership and advocacy on this bill to increase Oregon’s supply of affordable homes and create more inclusive communities, and to the legislative champions for HB 2007/SB 1051: House Speaker Tina Kotek, Representatives Duane Stark, Susan McLain, and Pam Marsh.

You can read 1000 Friends of Oregon’s summary of HB 2007/SB 1051 here.