Two bills that have involved heavy participation from Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) continue to find footing in the Oregon Capitol. SB 2, sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney, recently passed the Senate by a 26-2 vote. The bill would allow 10 rural Eastern Oregon counties the ability to conduct an economic opportunity analysis (EOA) outside of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and immediately utilize up to 50-acres for commercial and industrial purposes without going through the landmine-filled exceptions process. If a county’s EOA shows other large appropriate opportunities for development, you can bet AOC will lead the charge in 2021 to ask for more eligible acreage. The bill now moves on to the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use, where it will be heard on March 28.

Another key land use issue this session is the development of legislation allowing counties the discretion to permit Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) in rural residential zones. SB 88, which is the product of an interim workgroup led by Senator Michael Dembrow received a public hearing in February and now is scheduled for a work session Tuesday, March 19. The major sticking point with the bill has centered around how to treat development of ADU’s in high or extreme fire risk areas. AOC supports SB 88 as an additional, purely discretionary option that would be available to counties to address housing issues.

Contributed by: Mike Eliason | Interim Executive Director, Legislative Director