Eugene Is Improving On HB 2001

Letters opposing Eugene’s implementation of House Bill 2001 usually contain three elements: claims it will result in demolition of older houses that are affordable, complaints about the 5-foot height increase from 37 to 42 feet, and support for low-income housing.

The repetition of the same points suggests some group-think among neighborhood cliques. Renovation and flipping of older houses is what we’ve already got. They’re already not affordable. Multi-family development produces more housing supply. The status quo was already ended by HB 2001.

Yes, the Middle Housing Code amendments exceed HB 2001 in several areas, to ensure it benefits lower income people. Allowing the new middle housing types to be unconnected, separate buildings enables keeping an existing house, adding tiny houses without tearing down the original house. Remember, SB 458 allows these new small houses to be sold as separate properties. You will see houses for $100,000 each, with mortgage payments below $1,000/month.

Eugene will also allow the middle housing types on all residential lots, not just selected areas, avoiding years of struggle between neighborhoods to get privileged zoning. Eugene will also not require parking for many new units.

Do you see how these measures beyond HB 2001 actually help achieve lower cost housing? Note, also, the letter-writers’ campaign never offers any suggestions on how to achieve low income housing. Instead, they demand HB2001-minimum compliance, which would prevent the important items above.

I recommend the council just drop the 5-foot height increase. It doesn’t help the lowest income people anyway.

Todd Boyle