Testimony for Oregon House Bill 2001

Oregon’s House Bill 2001 would re-legalize “missing middle” housing across the state (previously). It’s in committee right now, and they’re accepting testimony on the bill. Here’s what others have said. And, after the break, here’s what I just submitted!

I’d like to add my testimony in support of HB 2001. While the bill’s specific details certainly would benefit from deliberate discussion, I think it’s critical that the state re-legalizes duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in single-family housing zones.

Why does the state need to mandate this? Because Oregon’s cities have proven themselves incapable of changing their zoning to allow for more homes to be built. In fact, it’s often the case that a city’s incentive is to restrict additional homes; the existing citizens don’t want to let anyone else in.

As an example, Tualatin (the city where I live and grew up) did literally the bare minimum to comply with Oregon Senate Bill 1051 (legalizing ADUs within single family housing zones). Because Tualatin still imposes a parking requirement for ADUs, only 44% of existing homes (based on research I did) are eligible to build an ADU. I personally would have to pave another driveway spot in my front lawn, which I don’t think my neighbors would appreciate.

When my wife and I bought our home in 2015, the sellers had six offers in twelve hours. We weren’t even the highest bidder — my sister played soccer with their daughter, so we played the family connection. And we closed the deal by putting 20% down on a $465k house. Is this attainable for most people?

In 2015, we had a tight, overpriced market. In 2019, we still have an overpriced market. Construction isn’t anywhere close to meeting the demand for the livable, walkable communities people want. And cities aren’t close to producing the necessary policies supporting this development. Legalizing missing middle housing is what’s necessary to provide more housing options, and it’s the responsibility of the state to step up when cities have fallen short.

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