Local News

Deschutes Co. Commissioners Discuss State Housing Legislation

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners appear supportive of a bill in the legislature aimed at increasing housing options. 

"This bill, as presently written, would mandate that all counties allow recreational vehicles in rural residential areas," County Community Development Director Peter Gutowsky told the Board Friday, "I see it as an extraordinary opportunity to help address our housing challenges and matters even relating to Code compliance." But, he says the bill needs work, "It should be temporary, and that would be ‘to be determined.’ But there also should be some siting standards, relating to ensuring that the septic system can accommodate waste stream from an RV." There’s also a concern for safety in the winter, "You’d want to make sure that in certain areas in the county there was a ramada to protect snowfall from accumulating on an RV and impacting its integrity with that weight." Gutowsky also would like to see it changed from something counties must allow to something they can allow. 

That bill remains in committee. It got a public hearing last week but is not yet scheduled for a work session. 

Also at Friday's Legislative update, Commissioner Tony DeBone spoke out against the Governor's housing and homelessness package and what he sees as a failig process. He told those at the virtual meeting, which consisted of mostly county agency heads, "City of Bend’s asking the County to do something about a homeless managed camp in the city and media was all over it this week. State legislature’s putting out a bill with some money in it, so there’s a lot of activity around that. Department of State Lands - Vicki Walker sent us a letter saying, ‘well, you guys just go clean up the land you want to swap with us and the state’s going to do this big funding package, so that’s going to help.’ There’s just a cultural disconnect between leadership and implementation on this right now." DeBone blames the Governor, "Governor Kotek may just need to give us all direction, so we can maybe move in the same direction." He says the emergency order and bills are an end without a process to get there.

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