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Oregon House OKs Redmond affordable housing bill


The Oregon House overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday that will provide more than 200 affordable housing units for Redmond residents.

HB 2336, whose chief sponsors were Rep. Jack Zika (R-Redmond), Rep. Cheri Helt (R-Bend), and Duane Stark (R-Grants Pass), expands a pilot program established in 2016 by the Legislature, eliminating a population clause.

With bipartisan support, the bill passed the House 55-5, with five lawmakers excused, and now goes to the Senate.

Supporting lawmakers called it one small step toward addressing the housing shortage in Oregon.

“I’m thrilled that the House passed House Bill 2336, which will help develop more affordable housing in cities like Redmond,” said Zika, a member of the House Human Services and Housing Committee.

“Oregon’s restrictive land use system is playing a key role in the high cost of housing in Central Oregon,” Zika added. “This is the type of approach we need to address the housing affordability crisis in Oregon. Our state is facing a 155,000-unit housing gap and this piece of legislation is one positive step forward in the right direction.”

The affordable housing pilot program is intended to expedite development of affordable housing units outside urban growth boundaries. Bend was the first city approved for participation, allowing development of affordable housing on a 35-acre parcel.

The bill will allow construction of 485 Redmond homes, with half of the houses set aside for people making 80 perecent of area median income or less. Redmond’s area median income for a family of four is about $69,000.

“I’m proud to have been a co-sponsor on House Bill 2336 to increase the supply of affordable housing in Central Oregon,” Rep. Helt said. “This bill will be good for the entire region and I’m very pleased that it has passed through the House successfully. I want to thank Rep. Zika and Rep. Stark for their hard work in passing this legislation.”

Passage of the bill comes as good news for companies, whose employees are having difficulty finding housing of any kind, House Republicans said.

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