A Look Back at Oregon’s Senate Bill 100
Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the passage of Oregon’s “landmark” land-use law, known as Senate Bill 100, a columnist with the Salem Statesman-Journal looks back at the history of the passage and early implementation of that law. If he had looked a little closer at the long-term effects, rather than just the back-room dealing, he would have found an unhappier story.
First, the law made housing in Oregon unaffordable. Before the law was passed, median home prices were consistently about two times median family incomes. As Oregon cities began drawing urban-growth boundaries, prices quickly shot up to three time incomes and today stand at four times incomes. While developers in most other states were able to buy large parcels of land and
design beautiful and affordable master-planned communities, such developments were rendered illegal in Oregon since no large parcels were available inside of urban-growth boundaries. Land-use regulation also made home prices more volatile, leading to a huge drop in prices in the 1980s and another big drop after 2008.
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