HERMISTON, Oregon – City officials don’t like a bill being sponsored by Speaker of the House Tina Kotek that would basically outlaw single-family zoning in cities with 10,000 or more people. Hermiston Assistant to the City Manager Mark Morgan said if the bill passes it would be a bad thing for rural cities like Hermiston and Pendleton where the population is not densely settled.
“If and when Hermiston, Pendleton, and others ever want to expand our urban growth boundaries, all of that acreage is going to count against us, as it should be more densely populated,” Morgan said.
Morgan said there are people who are happy to live in densely populated areas because of the shopping and entertainment options they offer. He said those who choose to live in more rural areas have a different set of priorities.
“The bottom line is, we’re never going to have a mall here or those types of things,” he said. “People are okay giving up those types of amenities in exchange for having a little bit more room to spread out and a little less congestion.”
News of Kotek’s legislation was first reported in Willamette Week, which stated she is introducing it as an effort to address housing shortages and end economic and racial segregation that the R-1 zoning restrictions cause. If the bill passes, Oregon would become the first state in the nation to eliminate single-family zoning. The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota has recently eliminated the R-1 zone.