HB 2001 gets us back on the housing track

March 29 update: HB 2001 passed and Governor Kotek has now signed it into law.

By Mary Kyle McCurdy

FEBRUARY 28, 2023

Today, the Oregon legislature took a momentous step toward making sure that every Oregonian has the opportunity for accessible, affordable housing choices in every community. HB 2001, if passed, will help fulfill the promise of statewide land use planning Goal 10: Housing – specifically housing for all, in every neighborhood. The bipartisan vote today by the Oregon House Committee on Housing and Homelessness passed HB 2001 out of committee, with a recommendation for passage by the full legislature. 

1000 Friends of Oregon has been a leader in achieving this outcome. Thanks to your support, we have worked for many years to reach this milestone in the implementation of Goal 10: Housing. And stay tuned – we will need you to share your support for HB 2001 as it continues to move through the legislature. In the meantime, please thank the committee chair, Representative Maxine Dexter, and co-chairs, Representative Jeffrey Helfrich and Representative Mark Gamba, for their efforts. 

Oregon’s land use planning Goal 10 requires cities to plan for “adequate numbers of needed housing units at price ranges and rent levels which are commensurate with the financial capabilities of Oregon households and allow for flexibility of housing location, type and density.” However, we have fallen far short of this – Goal 10 has not been robustly implemented at the local level or funded and enforced at the state level for decades. 

HB 2001 gets us back on the housing track. It includes the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis (OHNA) – a long-overdue update of the way the state and cities plan for and ensure that every community has accessible, affordable, and sufficient housing that is well-located to support fair and equitable housing outcomes, environmental justice, climate resilience, and access to opportunity. The OHNA also provides a system for holding cities and the state accountable for meeting those outcomes. 

When families are forced to live far from their jobs and schools, the entire community suffers from more traffic, more air pollution, worsened health, and a regional economy that is less competitive. Too many of our fellow Oregonians struggle to find a home they can afford in a neighborhood with the things they need to thrive, like nearby schools, parks, and stores, and walkable neighborhoods. It doesn’t have to be this way.

How Did Oregon Get into the Housing Crisis, and How Will HB 2001 Address It?

Today, approximately 70 percent of Oregon’s residential lands are zoned for detached single dwellings, and therefore most of our housing is a single house on a single lot – as a category this is the most expensive, land extensive, and often the largest housing. And it has been that way for many decades, often reflecting racially and economically exclusionary zoning put in place long ago and that we have never changed. That exclusionary zoning has placed homes, and home ownership, out of the reach of almost half of Oregonians today. In addition, family sizes have changed, with far more Oregonians living on their own or with one other person at many stages of their lives.

We have also seen the increase of processes, conditions, and requirements at the local
level. While some – not all –are necessary, they have hindered housing production and made housing more expensive.

The result is that Oregon has a structural mismatch between local zoning and development
practices, and changing family sizes, incomes, and needs, resulting in a supply that is not
meeting Oregonians’ housing needs at different stages of life, income levels, and walks of life. Oregon is short approximately 140,000 homes – a gap that is disproportionately affecting already marginalized populations: people with lower incomes or disabilities, older Oregonians, and people of color, especially Black and Indigenous peoples. 

HB 2001 will have a lot of ground to make up: Local zoning and other land use tools have not been revised to meet the needs of all Oregonians. The state also has not adequately enforced Goal 10 or been given all the tools it needs. And we have collectively failed to invest in the housing – and the infrastructure to make the land development-ready – that we need.

HB 2001’s OHNA provides a pathway out of the housing situation we are in and, most importantly, a way to ensure Oregon does not cycle back into it.

  • OHNA starts by figuring out what housing is needed. The OHNA methodology assesses
    total housing need, and by income category, at the state and local levels. It describes where there are gaps in meeting current and projected housing needs in every city.
  • The OHNA method then makes it easier to build that needed housing. Cities with more than 10,000 people must adopt – and implement – housing-production strategies designed to meet the identified housing needs of that city. 
HB 2001 focuses on housing production.
  • HB 2001 recognizes the critical role that state investments play in increasing housing capacity – through funding for infrastructure, transit, technical assistance to local governments, housing subsidies, and more. 
  • “Success” will be measured by actual housing production – and whether it meets the income, accessibility, and opportunity location needs of all Oregonians – in addition to actual numbers of homes built.  
  • Successful implementation of OHNA will put Oregon on the path for housing for all, in every neighborhood, by making structural changes to how we plan for, invest in, and actually produce housing.
HB 2001 recognizes that funding, innovation, and keeping Oregonians housed are key.

HB 2001 recognizes that investments and policies to keep people housed are cost-effective and critical. Therefore, the bill also includes a focus on preventing youth homelessness; grants and loans to enable production of modular housing that’s quick to build, with preference to produce homes for people displaced by natural disasters and living with low and middle incomes; and a program for financing of predevelopment costs, including infrastructure, site acquisition, and technical assessments reports, for housing affordable to those of middle income for at least 25 years.