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Oregon Legislature considers bill to prohibit most single-family zoning to create more housing, but affordability questions continue

PMG FILE PHOTO - Rezoning opponents protest in Southwest Portland.

A bill to prohibit single-family zoning in most cities in the state stalled when a hearing at the 2019 Oregon Legislature ran out of time on Tuesday.

Supporters and opponents of House Bill 2001 battled it out before a Ways and Means subcommittee on June 11 before members had to leave for other legislative business. The hearing and a possible vote on the bill is scheduled for Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland, is intended to increase the supply of housing by requiring that relatively small multifamily housing projects be allowed in neighborhoods zoned for single-family housing. Supporters says it will not only increase the supply of homes, but reduce housing costs. Opponents say it could destroy the character of existing neighborhoods without guaranteeing that lower-income residents can afford the new units.

Both sides testified at the Tuesday hearing. Jim Peterson, chair of the land use committee of Portland's Multnomah Neighborhood Association, said there is already more than enough zoned capacity in the city to build more housing. Affordable housing advocates said it would reduce future carbon emissions while integrating existing neighborhoods.

The bill is similar to the controversial recommendations of the Residential Infill Project to be considered by the City Council later this year. It is unclear how the bill's passage would affect the recommendations, which have been in the works for years.

You can read a previous story on the issue here.

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