By: Ryan Bonham

KEZI – Mar 4, 2024 Updated Mar 4, 2024

SALEM, Ore. – State legislators approved on Monday, with bipartisan support, the Housing Stability and Production Package encompassed in Senate Bill 1530 and Senate Bill 1537 to address the statewide shortage of affordable housing, according to state officials.

State legislative officials said the $376 million package that the Oregon House approved on March 4 seeks to address an estimated statewide shortage of 140,000 homes and aims to reduce barriers to increased housing construction by funding a $75 million revolving loan program that would provide local jurisdictions with funding for housing development projects.

Cities could borrow from the state fund to create grants to local development projects, and by implementing a 10-year abatement on property taxes, cities would instead charge developers an equivalent fee to repay the loan, state officials said.  The state said that once the loans are repaid, the fee is terminated and full property taxes are then collected by local jurisdictions.

“This is an innovative approach that responsibly uses limited state resources to make a significant impact in building the homes we need for our working families,” said Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-NW & Downtown Portland), Chair of the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness. “Local jurisdictions will get flexible funding to close the gap on building housing we need in every community across the state. This replenishable fund is a smart and exciting concept and our $75M investment today is an important start to helping make sure we have sustained support for housing now and in the future. This package puts our valuable state dollars to work to boost housing production across Oregon. We continue to be laser-focused on doing all we can to relieve the homelessness and affordable housing crises that continue to impact our communities.”

Representative Pam Marsh (D-Southern Jackson County) said that this program will enable the development of affordable housing for middle-income Oregonians and that the revolving fund will support projects statewide through ongoing investment.

State officials said that Senate Bill 1530 invests $123.55 million statewide toward sustainable and affordable housing production, which includes $18 million for 27 recovery housing projects and $29.25 million for affordable housing in historically under resourced communities. The legislation approved on March 4 also provides $131 million a myriad of homelessness prevention services that range from emergency shelters to educational outreach programs, state officials said.

The package is next headed to Governor Tina Kotek’s desk for her consideration, state officials said. State legislative officials said that, if signed by the governor, the package will bring housing-related investments in 2023 and 2024 to more than $2.3 billion.