The Challenge of Housing Affordability in Oregon: Facts, Tools, and Outcomes

27 Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 183, 2018

50 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2018 Last revised: 13 May 2018

See all articles by Paul A. Diller

Paul A. Diller

Willamette University College of Law

Edward J. Sullivan

Portland State University

Date Written: February 16, 2018

Abstract

Housing, particularly affordable housing, has been the center of much discussion in the second decade of the twenty-first century in the United States. This Article focuses on that discussion in one American state — Oregon — containing slightly more than one percent of the country’s population, but possessing a land-use planning system that aspires to promote housing affordability, as well as address other social, economic, and political concerns. Indeed, Oregon’s land-use system is nationally known for its centralization and focus on containing sprawl.

This paper analyzes the limited role that the federal government has played in facilitating the construction of housing and providing public and affordable housing, and how these efforts have fared in Oregon. It then assesses the tools that Oregon's land-use system provides for facilitating affordable housing, including binding plan and zoning designations, a prohibition on vague standards, requirements for a regional approach towards housing obligations, and the favorable treatment of most local housing decisions on review. Finally, the article analyzes data demonstrating that much work remains to be done in Oregon, particularly in a housing market that has been heated for almost a decade.

Keywords: property, affordable housing, land use, regional, urban-growth boundary, low-income, poverty, growth, sustainability

JEL Classification: K11, K32

Suggested Citation

Diller, Paul A. and Sullivan, Edward J., The Challenge of Housing Affordability in Oregon: Facts, Tools, and Outcomes (February 16, 2018). 27 Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 183, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3125125 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3125125

Paul A. Diller (Contact Author)

Willamette University College of Law ( email )

245 Winter St. SE
Salem, OR 97301
United States
503-370-6595 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.willamette.edu/wucl/faculty/profiles/diller/

Edward J. Sullivan

Portland State University ( email )

United States
503-793-0291 (Phone)

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