New Oregon laws tackle affordable housing, rebuilding from fire

Wildfire in September 2020 swept through the Santiam Canyon, destroying homes, businesses and vehicles. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

SALEM – Two years after passing sweeping legislation requiring many cities to allow duplexes anywhere single-family homes could be built, the Oregon Legislature returned in 2021 with more housing-related edicts to local governments.

Due to some of the more than two dozen land use laws passed in the 2021 session, cities must allow affordable housing on land not intended for homes, approve emergency homeless shelters and stop limiting the number of roommates who can share a home. 

Land use experts say these changes are part of a trend caused by Oregon’s ongoing housing crisis. State lawmakers are no longer content to leave decisions about housing to local governments.

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