The AOC Transportation and Community Development Committee met on May 14 and held a wide-ranging and spirited discussion on a number of issues. One of the highlights was an update from State Building Codes Administrator Mark Long, who shared information regarding significant changes to the state building code rules. An opinion released in February from the Oregon Department of Justice led to the rule changes, which as of July 1st will require all cities and counties administering a building inspection program to employ a building official certified as both a building official and A-level structural inspector. If the city or county also administers electrical inspections, they must employ an electrical inspector. The Department of Justice (DOJ) opinion stated that cities and counties who previously have contracted out building department functions to a private party are in violation of the Oregon Constitution by unlawfully delegating discretionary government functions to a non-governmental entity. The new rules are causing considerable distress and confusion, particularly at a time when housing needs are high and the availability of certified inspectors is low.
The Committee also heard from Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Assistant Director, Travis Brouwer, who provided a detailed summary of the various implementation workgroups underway to deliver the historic transportation funding package from 2017 (HB 2017). These range from transit to Safe Routes to School, Congestion Pricing/Tolling, to several other initiatives.
In addition, the Committee held a robust discussion on potential 2019 legislative initiatives, which include county video lottery funding, land use flexibility for counties, renewable energy siting process improvements, infrastructure funding, and several others. The Committee will likely next meet in June to refine priorities and discuss next steps.
Contributed by: Mike Eliason | Legislative Director