City Council adopts the Residential Infill Project – Part 2

News Article
On June 1, 2022, City Council voted to adopt additional changes to zoning in Portland’s single-dwelling zones, thus expanding allowances for more housing types.
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On Wednesday, June 1, City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Residential Infill Project – Part 2 (RIP2) zoning code amendments. The ordinance will go into effect on June 30, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. The vote marks the completion of the second part of the Residential Infill Project “series” (RIP1 and RIP2), which together allow more middle housing in Portland’s residential neighborhoods, giving more people the opportunity to live, work, play, go to school and enjoy the amenities of Portland’s great neighborhoods.

Before voting in favor, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty acknowledged Commissioner Carmen Rubio for listening to community concerns about the need for more housing and ensuring “we have the flexibility necessary and the policies in place to … do so in a way that fits our environmental, climate and racial justice goals.” Commissioner Mapps also applauded Rubio’s leadership as head of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Commissioner Rubio tipped her hat to the Planning and Sustainability Commission. “I know the Commission was challenged by the tight timeline afforded by the State’s compliance deadline. I appreciate that, within that shortened timeframe, they were able to include several important amendments to strengthen the project before unanimously voting to recommend approval.”

“I’m very glad to have another opportunity to vote for more housing options in our city,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “I look forward to continuing conversations about how we can address our housing shortage and ensure that Portland is a place where people from all different backgrounds have the opportunity to live.”

Before casting the final “aye” vote, Wheeler noted that RIP2 “… will actually shape the physical direction of this City for decades to come. I’m very confident that this was the exact right strategy for us to pursue as a community.”

What will RIP2 do?

RIP1 introduced several middle housing types (duplexes, triplexes, townhouses, fourplexes) to most single-dwelling zones, which previously allowed only a single house on a residential lot or a duplex on corner lots. It was adopted in August 2020 and went into effect on August 1, 2021.

RIP2 is a follow-on project that addresses several outstanding mandates in HB2001, the state’s middle housing bill. That bill requires Metro cities to allow duplexes on all lots where single homes are allowed, as well as other types of middle housing (triplexes, fourplexes, attached houses and cottage clusters) in many residential areas. Many components of HB2001 were included in RIP1; several key items were also addressed with RIP2, including:

  • Lower density single-dwelling residential zones, including larger lots in outlying areas (R10 and R20) that were not part of RIP1, are now included as part of RIP2.
  • New land division rules for attached houses are added to increase the number of lots that can be created for homeownership.
  • New cottage cluster rules are included that will permit up to 16 smaller detached homes that are oriented to common shared open space.
  • Flexibility for affordable housing will enable townhouse style, side-by-side units by offering more building coverage in exchange for lower building heights.
  • More options are included to incorporate existing houses in middle housing projects with detached-unit duplexes.

New middle housing land division rules were also added to bring Portland into compliance with Senate Bill 458. This bill requires cities to allow middle housing units (like duplexes and triplexes) to be divided so that each unit is on its own lot and can be owned separately.

Learn more about RIP2

In preparation for the code changes becoming effective on July 1, the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) will be hosting a RIP2 “lunch & learn” presentation on June 16 from noon to 1:30 p.m.

BDS also has a resource page to help understand how the Residential Infill Projects may apply to developments in the single-dwelling zones.