In a housing crisis, where 2019 fourth quarter Census reports estimate rental vacancy rates in Oregon to be 3.4 percent and homeowner vacancy rate at one percent, a small, but impactful solution may be on its way to counties.

In the 2019 Legislative Session, Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) sought a legislative fix to allow counties the discretion to permit Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) in rural residential zones. The 2019 bill, SB 88 was the product of a collaborative interim workgroup led by Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland). The bill passed the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, however, among many other policies, died in the joint committee on ways and means.

Working with stakeholders and partners, AOC was able to amend the 2019 concept into HB 4014 this Legislative Session. AOC Legal Counsel, Rob Bovett, said of the policy, “the flexibility created through this legislation gives counties the ability to efficiently and expediently increase housing supply at a time when more units are greatly needed. ADUs simply allow landowners to add a second small dwelling on to their property, creating affordable housing, without jumping through cumbersome hurdles in the land use system.”

This Session’s bill passed the Senate committee on environment and natural resources Friday, February 21.

HB 4014 currently sits on the Senate floor awaiting its second reading. It was originally scheduled for Monday, February 21, but due to lack of quorum, the Senate was unable to convene for consideration of any bills.

Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate