Housing MarketReal EstateRegulatory

Oregon tweaks restrictive land use law to address housing shortage

The bill will allow cities to acquire new land for development purposes

Oregon lawmakers last week approved a landmark $370 million housing package, The Associated Press reported. The vote followed an intense 35-day legislative session. 

Introduced by Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek, the bill aims to invigorate home construction in the state. Central to the bill is a revision of Oregon’s distinctive land use law that was passed in 1973. The law curbed urban sprawl to safeguard agricultural and forested areas.

The newly approved bill grants cities a one-time exemption from long-standing regulations to acquire new land for housing developments. In exchange, it requires that 30% of new units in expansion zones meet the definition of affordable housing. 

Rentals in these areas must remain affordable for at least 60 years to households earning 80% or less of the area’s median income, while homes for sale must cater to those earning no more than 130% of the median income.

Furthermore, the bill allows municipalities to exchange land both inside and outside their boundaries. The measure is designed to facilitate residential development on more suitable terrain outside city limits.

Beyond land use revisions, the comprehensive housing package allocates more than $370 million for infrastructure projects, such as water and sewer systems. Additionally, funds will be allocated toward homeless shelters and eviction prevention measures. 

Similar steps elsewhere

In December 2022, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass signed a directive requiring city departments involved in planning and decision-making to greenlight 100% of affordable projects, circumventing codes and regulations that are traditionally responsible for long delays and additional costs. 

As a result, Los Angeles now has more affordable housing units in the pipeline than in 2020, 2021 and 2022 combined. Since the order was issued, more than 16,000 affordable housing units have been approved without requiring any new funding, public subsidies or tax credits, according to a Bloomberg report.

Housing is gaining significant political momentum and is the target of a new funding package by President Joe Biden.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular Articles

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

Log In

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Please