The Board of Directors of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation/Architectural Heritage Center, who agree fully with the need for affordable housing, voted unanimously to oppose Oregon House Bill 2007 as currently written.
We urge you to read the entire bill and amendments, and take action by contacting your legislators. If you don’t already know how to identify your state representatives, you can find information here. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has also weighed in on Oregon House Bill 2007. You can go to their website to send a message to Representative Tina Kotek.
• The AHC believes that rather than focusing on affordability, the real intent of the bill is to increase the supply of market-rate housing by demolishing less-expensive dwellings. This reduces the supply of less-expensive housing and forces many tenants to move when the residence they inhabit are sold for tear-downs. We believe that so-called “needed housing” and rules aimed at speeding production for housing at 120 percent of median family income are merely gaping statutory holes for demolition bulldozing.
• The many proposed exemptions for avoiding demolition hearings in National Register neighborhoods will largely eliminate any opportunity to object to such demolitions.
• We object to the loss of local control over single-family residence neighborhoods and believe this is an inappropriate over-reach of state authority. We also object to a mandate of requiring new apartment buildings to be designed to full density allowed by zoning. This requirement reduces the ability of locally-elected officials to determine issues of height and mass that may be critical to the livability of nearby residents.
• We believe that density can be added to our cities without demolishing existing urban fabric or forcing maximum densities on portions of cities where it is not appropriate.
Please note that this has been a rapidly evolving legislative situation, and there may yet be opportunities for additional improvements. As a preservation education and advocacy organization, the AHC stands for the renovation of older buildings rather than their demolition. Heritage conservation helps protect our environment, improves our economy, and saves our distinctive sense of place.