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Oregon Senate passes major bills on housing, homelessness; package now goes to the House

KTVZ file

SALEM, Ore. (KGW/KTVZ) — The Oregon Senate voted Thursday morning to approve a pair of bills that tackle the state's housing crisis. Senate Bill 1530 and Senate Bill 1537 passed 21-7 with bipartisan support, KGW reported.

The bills are part of the $376 million Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package, which aims to boost housing production, infrastructure and homeless services while expanding recovery housing. The package also allows some cities a one-time expansion of their urban growth boundary. In the Portland metro area, qualifying cities can expand with a cap of 300 acres.

"We have to make sure that we build more affordable housing; we have to make sure that we increase our housing production," said Sen. Kayse Jama, D-Portland.

Senate Bill 1530 will provide funding to the Housing and Community Services Department, the Oregon Health Authority, Department of Human Services, State Department of Energy and Oregon Department of Administrative Services for various programs.

Before the vote, Sen. Winsvey Compos specifically praised the bill's $41 million investment in rental assistance and the 30% set aside for culturally specific organizations.

RELATED: Economic report shows Portland still struggling to recover but showing modest improvement

"These dollars will go far to help thousands of Oregonians, especially low-income and BIPOC Oregonians, who are working to get on their feet after significant economic blows in the last several years," said Compos, D-Aloha.

Sen. Daniel Bonham, R-The Dalles, was one of seven lawmakers who opposed the bill. Bonham said he thought the bill does great things, but ultimately voted against it as a political point to advocate for investing in water infrastructure for the city of Sandy.

"What's more valuable: a potential future home that we're going to build or an existing home that needs water?" Bonham said.

In a statement to KGW, Bonham added that he had concerns over land use considerations in the bill.

"This bill also forces local government to grant adjustments to land-use regulation and design and development standards to housing development, removing local control," Bonham wrote in a statement.

Lawmakers voted 21-7 to pass Senate Bill 1537. It's the sole bill that Gov. Tina Kotek introduced in this year's legislative session. Kotek wanted $500 million to increase affordable housing, but lawmakers cut that by $150 million about two weeks ago. A major component of the bill is that it will fund a series of programs to help local governments overcome barriers that can derail low-income housing projects. That includes a lack of land supply or difficulties building infrastructure, like water and sewer service.

"Oregonians need a place to live. Oregonians need shelter, and we do not have enough to keep people safe, warm and housed. This bill addresses many of the levers that can help us produce the housing that our constituents need in every part of the state," said Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin, who represents Senate District 8, which includes a swath of the area covering Corvallis and Albany.

Another big component of the housing package that was approved on Thursday includes a $25 million allocation for the Albina Vision Trust to develop affordable housing in Portland's historically Black Albina neighborhood.

House Bill 4134 is also included in the housing package. It would require the Oregon Department of Administrative Services to provide grants to cities for specific infrastructure projects to benefit housing developments. Lawmakers held a work session on Feb. 28.

The package will next go to the House for consideration.


News release from Senators Dick Anderson and Tim Knopp:

Senate Passes Bipartisan Package to Increase Housing Production in Communities Across Oregon

SALEM, Ore. – Today, the Oregon Senate overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan package of housing bills aimed at boosting housing production, funding critical infrastructure in communities across the state, developing an innovative revolving loan fund, and focusing on workforce housing levels.

“Oregon’s housing crisis demands quick and effective action from the Legislature. The Governor has laid out an aggressive goal on housing production. This suite of bills will help us begin chipping away at these production targets in my district and in communities across the state,” said Senator Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City), vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Housing and Development. “The work doesn’t stop here. I look forward to spirited debate on how we can build on our forward momentum next session.”

“I am pleased to see dollars flowing to rural Oregon to help our aging and at-capacity infrastructure. Our rural communities struggle to balance their sparse population with the ability to maintain and upgrade the systems which would allow desperately needed growth. This funding will give many communities the ability to move forward,” said Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville), vice-chair of the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness and a realtor for over 20 years. “I appreciate the ability to examine our land use system as part of this process and look forward to continued conversations about land use, UGB expansions, and preserving the rural-urban interface.”

“As cities across the state work urgently to address Oregon’s housing crisis, infrastructure costs remain the largest barrier to housing development and housing affordability. Infrastructure costs are an incredible challenge for cities of all sizes across the state, whether urban, rural, suburban, or frontier. Additionally, local capacity and financing constraints mean existing state and federal infrastructure programs are out of reach for too many small and rural cities. The most powerful tool the state can deploy is to make focused infrastructure investments to support needed housing development,” said Senate Republican Leader Knopp Tim Knopp (R-Bend), who has more than 20 years of experience in the homebuilding industry. “This investment will not solve all the needs but will help us get closer to our goal of addressing the housing crisis.”

“As Vice Chair of the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness during the 2023 long session, I was proud that we passed a package to address some of the homeless issues in Oregon,” said House Republican Leader Jeff Helfrich (R-Hood River). “Republicans returned to Salem in 2024 with two jobs; fix Measure 110 and get our housing crisis under control. Today the House moved on Measure 110 while the Senate tackled housing. We’re doing the work Oregonians elected us to do.”

SB 1530 B, and SB 1537 B now head to the House for consideration.


News release from the Office of Senator Kayse Jama:

Senate Passes Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package with Bipartisan Support

Major legislation works to stabilize and house Oregonians living on the streets, put affordable housing within reach for everyone

SALEM, Ore. – Today, the Oregon Senate passed with bipartisan support Senate Bill 1537 and Senate Bill 1530, two major components of the Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package. The goal of the package is to stabilize and house Oregonians living on the streets and put affordable housing within reach for everyone.

Including House Bill 4134, the Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package creates programs and commits $376 million to support renters, boost housing production and infrastructure, fund homeless shelters, and create safe, healthy homes.

"This package is an incredible, bipartisan accomplishment that will make real progress on one of the toughest challenges facing our state. I’m really proud of the work we did to put forward smart solutions that will deliver urgent relief to Oregonians who need it,” said Senator Kayse Jama (D - Portland), chair of the Senate Housing and Development Committee.

SB 1537 — introduced at the request of Governor Tina Kotek — creates a new revolving loan fund to make interest-free loans to local governments to help finance production of affordable housing and moderate income housing projects. The fund is seeded with $75 million.

The bill also grants qualifying cities a one-time expansion of their Urban Growth Boundaries. Cities under 25,000 people can expand by 50 acres, while cities over 25,000 people can expand by 100 acres. In the Metro area, the cap is 300 acres. Cities must display that they have done comprehensive planning and permitting before expansion and demonstrate need for both housing and land.

SB 1537 further establishes the Housing Accountability and Production Office to support local governments as they work to achieve their housing production goals.

SB 1530 makes significant and wide-ranging investments directed at the immediate housing needs for Oregonians, building on the resources the Legislature has committed toward housing production and support in recent legislative sessions.

"Everyone agrees that Oregon needs to build more homes quickly. These investments and programs are going to put Oregon on a path to making affordable housing more available all across the state," said Senator Aaron Woods (D-Wilsonville), co-chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development.

Housing and Homelessness — $131 million

  • Emergency shelters, Project Turnkey sites and navigation centers ($65 million)
  • Homelessness prevention services, through Oregon Eviction Diversion and Prevention and Eviction Prevention Rapid Response Programs with 30% set aside for culturally responsive organizations ($34 million)
  • Urban League of Portland for homelessness prevention services ($7 million)
  • Maintain and expand capacity for 27 recovery housing projects ($18 million)
  • Individual development accounts for first-time homebuyers ($5 million)
  • Support for the furnishing of reused household goods to low-income residents through Community Warehouse ($1 million)
  • Education and support of tenants at risk of rent increase or possible eviction through Seeding Justice ($1 million)

Housing Infrastructure and Production — $123.55 million

  • Direct allocation to cities for 44 infrastructure projects across the state to support shovel-ready housing production ($94.3 million)
  • Land acquisitions for affordable housing ($29.25 million):
    • Purchase and redevelopment of a property on N Dixon Street in Portland for development of affordable housing to Albina Vision Trust ($25 million)
    • Unite Oregon’s purchase of a property on E Burnside Street in Portland for development of affordable housing ($3 million)
    • Center for African Immigrants and Refugees Organization’s purchase of a property on SE Stark Street for development of affordable housing ($1.25 million)

Healthy and Safe Homes  — $24.5 million

  • Healthy Homes Repair Fund to support home improvements to lower energy usage and make homes safer ($15 million)
  • Residential Heat Pump Fund in the Department of Environmental Quality ($4 million)
  • Air conditioners and air filters provided on an emergency basis to at-risk individuals ($3.5 million)
  • Support for warming or cooling emergency shelters ($2 million)
Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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