I’ve been in Oregon for over 50 years. My family has lived here in Eugene for 17 years. Over that time our community has changed dramatically. It is a fundamental truth that all living communities are constantly changing, just as are our neighborhoods. We must acknowledge that while Eugene has so much going for it, regular folk, including tradespeople and other professionals, struggle to find housing here.
The Legislature passing HB 2001 provides the Eugene City Council with opportunity to implement well considered and long asked for updates to housing policy. Increasing housing options is a responsible step toward reducing our climate footprint and sustaining healthy, diverse, and equitable neighborhoods. The update allowing middle housing lots to be sold as individual units, can help provide entry to home ownership, which is the surest way for any individual or family to start building wealth and stability.
We’ve heard from well-meaning and secure home owners, claiming proposed code updates will ruin neighborhoods. While these voices are important, they are most often not the voices of those who suffer directly from our housing shortage right now. HB 2001 was passed to ease an intolerable housing crisis, and that is the ground our City Council should view their future votes as building on. Overly restrictive zoning has historically been used to limit full participation in community. We need to open paths for more people to attain housing stability, and join with us in keeping our neighborhoods vibrant and viable. We need more units to do that, and it’s that simple.