The 2019 Oregon Legislative Session is underway and will continue through June. 1000 Friends is promoting several key bills to increase diverse housing choices in our towns and cities, reduce wildfire risk, protect farm land, and address climate change, and tracking hundreds of others. In the words of Governor Tom McCall, together we can "keep Oregon lovable and make it even more livable."
Oregon is short more than 155,000 homes, mostly for middle- and lower-income Oregonians. Every city in Oregon faces challenges to provide more housing, and more diverse housing types, at affordable prices to meet the needs of current and future families.
Statewide Planning Goal 10 requires cities to zone residential land to meet the housing needs of all Oregonians, regardless of income level, in housing location, type and density.
House Bill 2001, by Speaker Tina Kotek, would allow diverse housing types—including duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes—in most residential neighborhoods. These "middle housing" options provide homes that help meet the family sizes and incomes of more Oregonians.
Other Housing Legislation
1000 Friends will also be supporting other housing legislation, including a program for the state to to conduct regional housing needs analyses, with an assessment of housing shortages at different income levels; a requirement for larger cities to assess housing needs and adopt strategies to meet those needs; funding for cities to conduct and implement housing needs analyses; and funding to build and maintain affordable housing for low-income families.
Established by the Oregon Legislature in 2017, the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program (OAHP) helps Oregon farmers and ranchers plan for succession and maintain agricultural land for future generations.
Agricultural lands make up 25% of Oregon’s land, yet two-thirds of these lands will change hands in the next 20 years. Many farmers do not have succession plans, so farmland might be lost as the land changes hands, becoming fragmented and developed, thereby undermining Oregon’s agricultural economy.
Funding is needed now, so the OAHP can begin to permanently protect critical farmland through conservation easements. These easements can be a powerful addition to the land use program to conserve farm and ranch lands. Oregon’s funds will be matched to federal funding, including $450 million in the just-passed 2018 Farm Bill. Without funding for OAHP, Oregon will miss out on accessing these federal dollars.
A broad coalition of partners is asking the Oregon Legislature for $10 million to fund OAHP and help permanently conserve Oregon’s productive agricultural lands. This bill has bi-partisan co-sponsors and support.
Reducing climate pollution is critical for Oregon’s future, and will be a focal point of the 2019 Legislature. Senate President Courtney and House Speaker Kotek have committed to passing a “Cap and Invest” bill.
The land use planning program can play a significant role in both reducing climate pollutants and sequestering carbon, and 1000 Friends will advocate for investments that support both. Almost 40% of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions come out of the tailpipes of our cars and light trucks.
By investing in walkable, bikeable neighborhoods; transit; and communities where affordable homes, stores, schools, and other opportunities are closer together, we reduce the need for driving and build healthier places. By investing in carbon-absorbing forestry and agricultural practices, we protect land for food and fiber production and natural resources while reducing carbon.
Oregon’s climate legislation must achieve a strong and equitable clean energy economy that caps and permanently reduces greenhouse gas emissions, uses natural and working lands to sequester CO2, and builds climate resiliency statewide. 1000 Friends is working with a diverse, statewide coalition to see climate legislation passed.
In recent years, Oregonians have experienced increased risks to their health and lives, damage to natural resources, and destruction of homes from longer and more severe wildfire seasons. (Read our recent report.)
A large contributor to these conditions is the proliferation of houses in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). However, this fragmentation and residential development of Oregon’s forests is inconsistent with Statewide Planning Goal 4, which is designed to conserve and protect our forest resources, and with Goal 7, which addresses Natural Hazards.
“Template dwellings” are single-family houses that are allowed by statute on forestland under certain conditions. This statute has given rise to significant concerns, conflicts, and litigation, including contributing to the fragmentation of forestlands. 1000 Friends proposes changes to the template dwelling statute to clarify when and where these dwellings are allowed and to prohibit them from areas of high wildfire risk.
We currently have two sponsors for the HB 2225, Rep. Ken Helm and Sen. Floyd Prozanski. We are working with a coalition of partners across the state.