Housing, renter, climate, environmental, transportation, and land use groups rally to support smart housing policy

Housing legislation is officially in the works for the 2024 legislative session. Once it kicks off on February 5, housing advocates like 1000 Friends of Oregon have five short weeks to get this new bill, Senate Bill 1537, right – for our communities and the land use system that supports our well-being.

In preparation, 40-plus organizations and community groups have already joined together to advocate for practices and policies to help every Oregonian have a home they can afford, that meets their family needs, and that is well-located in a livable neighborhood near schools, stores, parks, transportation options, and more.


Read more: How we’ll solve our housing crisis (spoiler: it’s not by bulldozing our UGBs)


What it comes down to: We need to act fast and smart to build the housing Oregonians need, and so we’re calling on the state’s leaders to choose the practical, affordable option of building housing on the land we have in our cities now.

Oregon’s cities already have tens of thousands of acres designated for residential use inside their urban growth boundaries (UGBs), but the lands lack some or all infrastructure – roads, sewers, water, sidewalks. This broad base of support agrees that investing in these lands is the most important step the state can take now to unlock large parcels and get them “shovel-ready” to quickly produce housing. 

Besides, our housing policies and investments also need to prioritize opening up existing neighborhoods to those who have been racially redlined and economically excluded from areas of opportunity.

What worries us: If we sidestep land use laws to expand UGBs for housing, those lands will be used primarily for private-sector, higher-income housing. But about two-thirds of the Oregonians who need housing are people making less than 120 percent of the area median income (considered moderate or lower incomes).  Building in UGB expansion areas – where we still need roads, sewers, water, sidewalks, transit from scratch – will take too long and cost too much, and in many areas this means developing into the wildland-urban interface, putting more lives, livelihoods, and homes at risk from wildfires.


  • Overriding land use and environmental laws will not produce the housing Oregonians need, where they need it, anytime soon
  • We should not distract from building homes on lands inside UGBs where those communities have already decided they want residential development
  • Lands inside current UGBs should not have to compete with UGB expansions for scarce infrastructure dollars
  • Building at the edge increases climate change and wildfire risks to lives, livelihoods, and homes
  • Building at the edge exacerbates inequality and racial and economic injustice

We need housing legislation that puts our people first, not profit. That’ll happen when we work within the land use system that’s flexibly designed to work hard for our communities. And when we invest in our infrastructure, we’ll finally see what’s possible for addressing our housing crisis.


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