Gov. Kotek’s Housing Plan Passed: Relief for Oregon’s Crisis Expected

Gov. Kotek's Housing Plan Passed Relief for Oregon's Crisis Expected

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek will sign a housing assurance package after it passes both chambers.

Here are the details of the news.

Gov. Kotek’s Housing Plan Passed: Relief for Oregon’s Crisis Expected

The Oregon House passed the Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package on Monday.

The package includes two main bills, Senate Bill 1530 and Senate Bill 1537, proposed by State Governor Tina Kotek to tackle housing production and ease new housebuilding for teachers, nurses, and firefighters.

The House passed Senate Bill 1530 by a 51-6 vote and Senate Bill 1537 by a 48-8 vote.

Both the bills passed the Senate last week. The two bills and House Bill 4134, which is expected to pass the Oregon House on Tuesday, will provide the state with $376 million to strengthen house production, improve road infrastructure, and support renters.

Governor Kotek (born on September 30, 1966) has been serving as the 39th governor of Oregon Since 2023.

She also served as the state representative for Oregon’s 44th district from 2007-2022. She projected a goal of 36,000 new housing units a year from around 22,000 when she first entered the office.

The recently passed two bills have been her top priority for the 2024 legislative session.

After the bill’s passage, Governor Kotek thanked the lawmakers, saying, “Oregonians are struggling under the pressure of an increasingly unaffordable housing market. After hearing this concern directly from Oregonians from across our state last year, I knew we had to make major progress on our housing crisis during this year’s legislative session. I want to thank legislators for meeting the urgency of this moment and providing much-needed funding that will boost housing production throughout the state.”

Gov. Kotek's Housing Plan Passed Relief for Oregon Crisis Expected
Gov. Kotek’s Housing Plan Passed: Relief for Oregon’s Crisis Expected

“I believe this package will make meaningful progress in fixing our housing shortage while preserving our land use system and ensuring strong environmental protections. But this is not the finish line,” the Governor added.

The package includes a $75 million revolving loan fund to initiate loans to local governments at zero interest to help the state have affordable housing.

The funding will help local governments overcome challenges in building affordable housing units, such as lack of land or water and sewer infrastructure issues.

It also includes measures to expand access to recovery housing, which provides supportive services to help people facing homelessness.

The bill allocates money to different projects, including $131 million for housing and homelessness projects such as Project Turnkey, which comprises schemes like buying hotels to convert into emergency housing; $ 24.5 million will be allowed to provide amenities like air conditioners, air filters, etc. on an emergency basis.

Additionally, the package allows qualifying cities a one-time expansion of their urban growth boundaries. Cities with less than 25,000 people can expand by 50 acres, while cities with more than 25,000 population can expand by 100 acres.

The Metro cities can expand by 300 acres. Several lawmakers have appreciated the latest housing assistance bill, commenting on its key elements. Democratic Portland Representative Maxine Dexter, who worked on the overall housing package, has labeled the interest-free loan element of the bill as “innovative” and “visionary.”

Meanwhile, some representatives have emphasized the importance of the new bill.

Referring to recovery from the Alameda fire that occurred in 2020, Democratic Ashland Representative Pam Marsh said, “Our desperate lack of housing is inhibiting recovery, undermining our workforce, driving homelessness and despair, and discouraging families from staying or moving to the community.”

The bill now reaches the Governor’s desk to become law.

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About the author

Nancy Beverly

Nancy Beverly is a prominent political journalist and editor at World-Wire, known for her sharp analysis and deep understanding of global politics. With a Master's degree in Political Science, she excels in breaking down complex political issues, making them relatable to the public. At World-Wire, Nancy crafts compelling political narratives covering everything from local governance to international relations. Recognized for her expertise, she received the 'Excellence in Political Journalism' award in 2021. Nancy's work not only informs but also enriches her readers' understanding of political dynamics.

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