2022 Legislative Review

The Oregon Legislature’s 2022 session opened on February 1 and will close by March 7. Traditionally, the “short” session is used to make technical changes to past legislation, handle emergency matters, and pass non-controversial legislation.

This year, we will probably also see legislation related to the recently-passed federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — a bill that invests in priorities ranging from transportation options (including ones that mitigate climate change) to broadband access.

Below is a review of land use-related legislation 1000 Friends expects and supports. We also know of one bill that we oppose, and there might be others. We will keep you updated through our email action alerts!

Click here if you would like to see the testimony we have submitted on some of the bills we are tracking.


LEGISLATION WE SUPPORT

legislative preview housing block
HB 4064: Expanding Affordable Housing Options

This bill both clarifies existing and expands opportunities for siting of manufactured/prefabricated homes. HB 4064 modifies some definitions and clarifies that local governments must allow siting of manufactured and prefabricated homes in single-family dwelling zones inside urban growth boundaries (UGBs). It prohibits local governments from applying standards to prefabricated and manufactured homes that are located outside mobile home parks, other than standards applicable to single-family dwellings on the same land. It also clarifies what site improvements are not the tenant’s responsibility.  

Finally, the measure expands the manufactured dwelling replacement program to borrowers whose manufactured home or prefabricated structure was destroyed by a natural disaster and allows an eligible replacement home to be located either inside or outside the natural disaster area. Click here for more information. 

HB 4037: Under-used State Land for Transitional Housing in Salem

HB 4037 requires the state of Oregon to use reasonable efforts to lease unused or underutilized state property to the city of Salem for use as transitional housing for people experiencing houselessness.

 

working lands half tile
SB 1532: Supporting Oregon's Farmers, Ranchers, and Foresters

Oregon State University provides support for all Oregonians, and especially for the Oregon families who depend on our working lands, through several programs that include the Forest Research Laboratory, the Agricultural Experiment Station, the Extension Service, and the Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems. The 2021 Legislature failed to fully fund these services, creating a $2.2 million shortfall, which resulted in a decrease in programs and service. We are part of a coalition of about 40 organizations statewide that have signed on to a budget request to fill this budget gap and restore these programs to full capacity. 

The priority is for that overall funding. But once it is secured, SB 1532 would add an additional five positions to allow these services to increase programs and support for Oregon farmers and ranchers.

Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program Funding

In 2017, the legislature created the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program (OAHP) with significant bipartisan support. OAHP was designed by agricultural and conservation groups to protect farm and ranch land, keep it in production, and enhance its natural resource value. The program provides voluntary incentives to farmers and ranchers to support practices that maintain or enhance agriculture and natural resources, such as fish and wildlife, on agricultural lands. OAHP is administered by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and is ready to implement. It has yet to be funded. 

The funding request is for $5 million, to create grants for conservation management plans and working lands easements/covenants. This would allow OAHP to leverage a federal match for 50% of the value of a project with a state contribution of just 25%, providing a powerful and supportive tool to current land use protections for working lands.

 

Climate block
SB 1534: Oregon Global Warming Commission Natural & Working Lands Bill 

This bill is brought by the state’s Oregon Global Warming Commission. The Commission engaged diverse audiences statewide, including Tribes, landowners and managers, federal and state agencies, conservation organizations, environmental justice leaders, technical assistance providers, and scientists to inform its Natural and Working Lands Proposal

The proposal recognizes that Oregon’s natural and working lands — including forests, grasslands, rangelands, farmlands, tidal and subtidal wetlands, and the parks and open spaces in urban environments — provide significant opportunities to increase carbon sequestration and storage.

SB 1534 advances several key recommendations from the proposal, it:

  • Defines natural and working lands and waters in Oregon statute.
  • Declares that it is the policy of the state to advance natural and working lands strategies.
  • Directs the commission to create a Natural and Working Lands Advisory Group.
  • Directs the Institute for Natural Resources at Oregon State University to provide certain technical support to the commission 
  • Directs state agencies to report on metrics and the inventory.

 

legislative wildfire
SB 1533: Technical Fixes to SB 762 on Wildfire Resilience

SB 762, passed by the 2021 Legislature, was a comprehensive bill impacting many aspects of wildfire resilience and preparedness and impacts almost a dozen state agencies. As the bill is now being implemented by these agencies, a few non-controversial technical fixes have been identified. SB 1553 covers these fixes, it:

  • Makes federally recognized Indian tribes in Oregon eligible for grants related to clean air shelters and smoke filtration systems.
  • Increases minimum age for participation in Oregon Conservation Corps Program from 13 to 16 years old.
  • Clarifies that the Department of Land Conservation and Development will identify and recommend changes to statewide land use planning program and local plans and zoning codes related to wildfire risk, and report to the 2023 Legislative session and others by October 1, 2022.

 

EJ
HB 4092:  Expansion of Broadband Access

Many parts of Oregon — especially rural areas — still do not have adequate broadband access, a disparity that has been highlighted during the past two years of remote school and work. Lack of connectivity also hampers farmers and rural businesses. Recent federal legislation allocates broadband funding directly to the states, and Oregon is poised to receive more than $200 million to invest in building these services. This provides an exciting opportunity for Oregon, but we must be prepared. HB 4092 would ensure that a system of robust, sustainable and statewide broadband services connects all Oregonians.

HB 4077:  Governor's Environmental Justice Bill

HB 4077 creates the Environmental Justice Council within the Department of Environmental Quality, which would support the work of all the natural resource agencies by:

  • Creating a centralized data and information hub to inform environmental justice.
  • Directing the creation of a mapping tool to measure environmental science and health data with socioeconomic information.
  • Assisting in developing a community engagement and outreach plan to inform the development of a statewide environmental vulnerability assessment tool.
HB 4093: Genuine Progress Indicator

HB 4093 would require Oregon state agencies to collect data on Oregon's economic, social, and environmental gains and losses, which the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis would research and compile into a report on Oregon’s Genuine Progress Index on an annual basis.

Standard economic metrics like the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) are used by the government as a primary measure of economic health, but these narrow metrics do not reflect the true environmental, social, and economic well-being of our state.  In contrast, the Genuine Progress Index can quantify such things as aspects of public health related to air and water quality, the costs of lack of affordable housing or lack of access to transit, progress or lack thereof  in protecting working lands and natural resources, and more.

Annual data from the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) would support more comprehensive and effective planning and policy making for economic health and community well-being. You can read more about the bill and GPI here. 


LEGISLATION WE OPPOSE

HB 4118: Bypassing Land Use Laws to Expand Urban Growth Boundaries

This bill is well-intentioned: to provide more “workforce” housing.  However, the proposal unnecessarily pits two good things against one another: housing and farmland. And, it establishes new mechanisms that are not practicable to actually deliver housing for middle-income Oregonians.

HB 4118 provides that a private landowner may request that a city expand its urban growth boundary (UGB), into a city’s urban reserve, by up to 100 acres for “workforce housing” and/or “workforce commercial” uses without going through the land use planning process.

HB 4118 would make it easier to expand a UGB into an urban reserve. Today, urban reserves exist to be used after the current 20-year land supply of a UGB is utilized. Normally, expanding into an urban reserve is through a UGB expansion when a city determines, through a public process, that there is a need. Under this current process, some or all urban reserve lands may never actually be incorporated into a UGB and will continue to be utilized for their original zoning — often farming. Urban reserves have been designated in many areas, including around the Metro Portland UGB and around the cities of the Rogue Valley, as well as other cities.

1000 Friends opposes HB 4118 for the following reasons:

  • These UGB expansions will be driven by individual private landowners, not a public process.
  • HB 4118 would override the community process by which urban reserves were originally designated, by allowing an individual landowner/developer to try to bypass it, including to possibly develop the land for a use the community had not intended for a particular area.
  • Urban reserve areas often contain substantial expanses of farmland, in addition to forests and natural areas. These are areas providing food, fiber, habitat, and carbon sequestration, and should not be paved over without going through the land use evaluation process.
  • HB 4118 creates a new structure that makes it unlikely it can even deliver on what it promises. The bill requires that cities hold a covenant on the land brought into the UGB so the land is used solely for workforce housing or workforce commercial.  This is not something cities typically do and would require cities to set up and staff a system to oversee and enforce these covenants.
  • The bill requires a ”commitment” that once the land is brought in, it will be provided with “all necessary urban services” within two years of approval to come into the UGB. It is very unlikely that urban services — pipes, roads, utilities, and more — can be provided within two years, as demonstrated by almost every recent UGB expansion. What happens then? The land is already inside the UGB —if the various service providers are not able to meet this deadline, does that break the agreement and the land can be developed for any uses, including higher cost housing? Does it sit idle? Is it removed from the UGB?

HB 4118 risks distracting cities from taking real actions to increase diverse and affordable housing options where people need and want to live, inside UGBs — near work, school, shopping, and more.

SB 1537: Undermines Legislation on Wildfire Preparedness, Energy Efficiency, and More

SB 1537 expands what must be included in a housing cost impact statement required for proposed rules, by adding burdensome and nebulous assessments that must be made. It also adds state agencies required to prepare this statement. This housing analysis must be made for single-family homes, looks only at short term costs to individual houses, requires hard to assess evaluations, does not take into account benefits to either the resident or to the community at large from the proposed regulation, and does not look at long term benefits. It requires expensive assessments that seem to be aimed at undermining efforts to make homes and communities more energy efficient and wildfire resilient, among other things.