Legislation Drafted to End Single-Family Zoning in Oregon

Legislation Drafted to End Single-Family Zoning in Oregon

Oregon House speaker, Rep. Tina Kotek (D-Portland) is drafting legislation that would signal the end of single-family zoning across the state in cities with a population of 10,000 or more.

This means that property owners would be allowed to build additional units or buildings on a property that is currently zoned for a single home.

More than 70 percent of Portland’s residential land is designated for single-family housing. According to The Mercury, “Portland, is overrun with residential buildings that fall into one of two categories: Massive apartment complexes or standalone houses built for a single family.”

This means that Portland is missing a “middle” housing option such as a duplex, triplex or cluster of small homes.

In a statement, Kotek said, “The state's housing crisis requires a combination of bolder strategies. Oregon needs to build more units, and we must do so in a way that increases housing opportunity for more people. Allowing more diverse housing types in single-family neighborhoods will increase housing choice and affordability, and that's a fight that I'm willing to take on."

Supporters of zoning reform say that breaking up larger homes into more units and allowing smaller buildings on the same lot makes housing more affordable and address Portland’s history of housing segregation. According to Michael Anderson from the Sightline Institute, Portland’s economic and racial segregation follows with single-family zoning.

This proposal is similar to a plan put together by Minneapolis, Minn. to end single-family zoning through the city.

In an interview with Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey he said, “If I could offer any advice to Portland, it's that the conversation is going to be difficult, but it's one worth having and it’s important. Is our city universally pleased with [the] outcome? No. But universal pleasure is not what you aspire to achieve.”