Local and State Leaders Seek Solutions to Address Housing Crisis

Local and State Leaders Seek Solutions to Address Housing Crisis

Housing continues to be a hot topic both in Salem at the State House and in City Council chambers. As the days in this year’s legislative session begin to count down, State leaders are debating new and innovative policies to reduce barriers to building as well as increase production of housing. There is a distinct focus on middle market housing, which is affordable for households in the 80-120 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) range. In Deschutes County this means approx. $71,000-$107,000 per year in household income.

While state solutions continue to be debated, there are tools that local policymakers can use to incentivize housing that is attainable and meets the needs of our community.

One such solution is the Multiple Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) which was approved by Bend City Council in 2022. The Chamber supported the adoption of this new local option property tax exemption, and we’re excited to see this creative new tool being used to spur development in and around our region’s core areas. The requirement to include units at or below 120 percent of area median income, as well as other public benefits such as co-located childcare, publicly accessible open space, or green building features make this an attractive incentive for both developers and the community. You can learn more about the MUPTE program and potential projects in the development pipeline here.

As we move down the home stretch in Salem, the Chamber is also tracking legislation that would create more incentive tools for cities to use, similar to MUPTE, as well as policy changes to increase the supply of available land and expedite the building process. Meeting the Governor’s goal of 36,000 new homes will take an “All of the Above” approach, and we are excited to see the legislature taking bold steps towards the goal. For more information on the Chamber’s policy priorities or specific legislation, please contact Sara Odendahl, Director of Government Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, at sara@bendchamber.org.

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