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Oregon Legislature looks at rules for ‘tiny homes’


Josh Hart has been living in his tiny home east of Bend for about a year.

“I’ve lived in big homes and I’ve had multiple homes, and I’ve had a lot of stuff and then I’ve had very little stuff,” Hart said Friday, “and over the years I’ve just simplified my life, so I don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy.”

Bend native Jesse Russell said Friday he’s scared of what an unattainable cost of living is doing to his town. He’s a builder and advocate of tiny homes.

“I think it’s just really important for people to understand this movement isn’t going away and people are living in tiny houses right here in our city,” Russell said, “and it’s really important that the city recognizes that’s going on and takes steps to try to make it safe for everybody.”

Two bills establishing new standards for tiny homes are being considered in the Oregon House.

State Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, involved for some time in the Central Oregon Builders Association, is well aware of the housing crisis in Central Oregon and supports tiny homes, if they’re done right.

“We just need to make sure that when those tiny homes are being built, they’re built safely, and that those who are buying them know exactly what they’re getting,” he said.

The bills would establish new standards for the smaller houses. One would ease building requirements for homes 250 square feet or less, the other would change standards for mobile tiny homes.

Knopp said these dwellings could ease the housing crisis, but aren’t a total solution.

“We currently have an imbalance of land and product that’s available, and therefore it’s pushing rents and housing prices up considerably,” he said.

Advocates and lawmakers said the bills still need tweaking, but they were excited to see them reach the Capitol.

Would you buy and live in a tiny home? It’s the topic of our latest KTVZ.COM Poll, which you can find halfway down the right side of our home page.

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