Oregon Governor Tina Kotek prioritizing housing production this year

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(The Center Square) – Oregon Governor Tina Kotek unveiled her 2024 legislative housing production proposal this week, part of Senate Bill 1537, the only bill she plans to introduce this year.

“Decades of underbuilding have left Oregon with a severe housing shortage that is driving up rents, home prices, and worsening our homelessness crisis,” Governor Kotek said. “People that are ready to transition out of homelessness struggle to find housing. Meanwhile, employers – both public and private – in Oregon struggle to hire due to a lack of workforce housing for rent or purchase, harming local economies across the state. That’s why SB 1537 is my top priority in the short session, and I look forward to working with legislators to make progress this year.”

One provision in the bill would establish a Housing Accountability and Production Office. The Office would “support housing production in local communities with a more definitive structure and process to address complaints, concerns, and issues from local governments and developers about compliance with state housing law,” according to a release.

Additionally, the bill would offer a one-time tool for cities that need land and affordable housing to add land for housing to their urban growth boundary.

“Any land added would need the consent of the property owner and could only be urban reserve, non-resource land, or exception land – not high value farm or forest land except land in urban reserves already designated for future urban development,” the release said. “A city must meet land and affordability eligibility metrics in order to qualify to use this tool.”

It would also require 30% of housing units in expansion areas to qualify as affordable housing.

“Affordability requirements exist in over 800 jurisdictions and 25 states, but most programs require between 10-20% of units as affordable,” the release said. “A 30% requirement in Oregon would be one of the strongest requirements in the country. Oregon has a critical need for guaranteed affordability, as existing land within UGBs (outside of Portland) has no affordability requirement.”

Additionally, the bill would offer grant funding for affordable housing construction to feature energy-efficient designs.

“These incentives will help reduce the energy burden for low-income Oregonians across the state,” the release said.

The bill provides $500 million for housing from previously existing state funding. Here is how that funding would be used:

• Housing infrastructure financing: $200 million

• Moderate-income housing financing: $200 million

• Site acquisition: $40 million

• Climate-friendly incentive funding: $20 million

• Site mitigation and readiness funding: $10 million

• Local housing planning technical assistance funding: $10 million

• Local housing infrastructure planning capacity: $5 million

• Housing Accountability and Production Office: $5 million

The bill will be posted publicly on the legislative website in the near future.

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