Middle Housing

A law was passed by the State of Oregon in 2019 that is going to have a huge impact on neighborhoods throughout the state. House Bill 2001 pretty much out lawed single-family-residential housing. The law applies to any town with a population of more than 10,000 people, thus, it very much affects Lake Oswego.

What this law does is mandate that neighborhoods that currently have single family housing must allow the construction of duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, cottage clusters and accessory dwelling units.

There is an affordable housing crisis in our state and I completely understand the logic behind this law. When I look for the positive outcomes it will create, I think about people who want to build a dwelling for aging parents. I think of people who would benefit from some rental income. I think of people who need a place to live and simply can not afford the current rents or are not in a poslition to buy. This law will have quite a few positive benefits.

But I also think about what our neighborhoods currentlly look like. How will I feel if a duplex gets built next door? I hope I’ll feel ok, but, being honest, I’m just not sure. This law will have to come into affect and play out before I’ll know how I truly feel.

The City of Lake Oswego is approaching this change in a two phase process. The first phase has been completed. The city reveiwed current neighborhood plans and development codes, created and received results of a community-wide survey, and met with neighborhood association chairs to understand neighborhood characteristics and what communities value most.

The second phase is happening now. The city is exploring options for potential code changes and getting advice from a committee that has been formed. This committee was appointed by the city council and is called the Middle Housing Code Advisory Committee. They are meeting between now and the end of September. After they provide advice to the city council, the city will seek further feedback from neighborhood associaitons and the broader community.

For more information visit www.lakeoswego.city/planning or contact Eric Olson, Senior Planner, at eolson@lakeoswego.city or 503-697-6524.

There’s nothing so certain as change, that’s for sure.

Dianne

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