SALEM, OR -- A bill to allow Redmond in to a state affordable housing pilot project is scheduled for a legislative hearing, next week. House Bill 2336 would allow the city to take part in the program designed to streamline the land use approval process. Under the original rules, only one city over 25,000 and one under 25,000 are allowed in the program. Last year, only Bend and Redmond applied in the larger division and Bend was accepted; no smaller cities entered.
State Representative Jack Zika (R-Redmond) says his bill would do away with the population restriction and allow his city to develop nearly 500 units. "We had a letter from Redmond that stated that we have seven letters of intent from builders, already, that want to build this. And it’s just north of COCC Redmond campus; so this could be student housing. I think there’s a real demand and need for this housing." He says it's a mistake to leave Redmond out because he believes two cities could better determine if the pilot works and should expand. He tells KBND News, "Once it’s done and if it’s successful and we did a great job, then the goal is to move it forward. There are other cities that are very interested in it but they didn’t have the resources, so that’s [another] bill that we’re looking at now in Housing Committee, is a technical assistance bill to help smaller cities so they’ll be able to apply."
HB 2336 passed the House with a unanimous vote and is scheduled for a Senate committee hearing on Monday. Zika is encouraged by how quickly it's moving through Salem, "I talked to the chairwoman of the Housing Committee on the Senate side, and she said that she would like to get this into a public hearing and work session in the same day, to just get it out and get it passed." Zika expects it will be quickly approved and sent to the Governor.