Middle Housing Project

Association Excellence Awards

HBA: HBA of Greater Portland

Category: Government Affairs

Location: Lake Oswego, OR

Size: Local Association: 601+ members

Year: 2022

Following Oregon’s HB2001, a first-in-the nation statewide single-family exclusive zoning prohibition, the HBA of Greater Portland’s region was required to update codes allowing middle housing types in all residential zones. The HBA of Greater Portland’s advocacy was vital to ensure that this zoning reform encouraged density while remaining functional for builders, resulting in 25 individual city approved middle housing plans. The HBA’s Government Affairs Committee and staff began a marathon of advocacy and engagement, culminating in a several-month period of constant review, revision, and testimony across the region.

The goal of the HBA’s work was to have their 25 jurisdictions submit plans that complied with state law while also offering industry expertise to not only allow greater density, but to encourage it. Particularly in areas with robust transit options, decent infrastructure, and a willing coalition of community groups, the HBA worked to get cities to agree to go even beyond state-required density standards. This included requests to legalize detached duplexes, lower cottage cluster minimums, increase design and siting flexibility, and allowance of 6-plexes. Another important facet of this work was to foster stronger engagement and connection with the HBA’s smaller builders who would benefit from advocacy. While data is hard to come by so soon after implementation, the HBA estimates that there were roughly 500-1,000 new middle housing units permitted regionally because of this project since the legislation passed.