Limited Repeal of IZ Needs Work in 2017

Joseph Santos-Lyons

we expect to increase our community organizing and advocacy to fight for full repeal of IZ

The Oregon Legislature took action that developer lobbyist Jon Chandler said would never happen - they repealed the Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Ban. OPAL Environmental Justice was the leading group that picked up the fight to give local control back to our cities and towns in the face of Oregon's Housing Crisis that is disproportionately affecting low-income and communities of color.

SB 1533 is a small step forward, however amendments watered down the original bill, limiting how IZ can be implemented. APANO, Urban League, and a growing coalition of communities of color, immigrants and refugees are not giving up, preparing to deepen our organizing and advocacy to achieve full repeal and local control.

Here is the full text of our letter:

The state of Oregon is in a housing crisis. Oregon is the 3rd most unaffordable rental market in the US. Children under 5 years old have the highest poverty rate of all age groups, with one in five living in poverty. Communities of color have much higher poverty rates than whites. African Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Latinos experience poverty rates of 25 percent or more compared to ten percent of whites.

Communities of Color, after years of inaction on IZ, created the Oregon Inclusionary Zoning Coalition to lift the statewide ban on inclusionary zoning (IZ). IZ is an essential tool that local communities throughout Oregon should have access to, as one part of a multi-faceted approach to tackle the housing crisis in our state.

We support SB 1533 in its original form, that has widespread public support. Yet legislators have allowed developers to amend the bill to the point that it will not address the disparities affecting our communities and fails to meet the needs of our communities. The amendments define affordability at 80% of MFI or higher, that fails to serve the majority of communities of color, many of whom live below 50% MFI. They also limit affordable housing to 20% and ban IZ on multi-family structures of under 20 units. These are unacceptable, and need to be addressed in the 2017 session.

While we oppose the amendments to SB 1533, we recognize and support the bill as a small step in the right direction to ensure a safe and affordable home for all Oregonians. In the short-term, we will work to create robust, local IZ programs. In the long-term, we expect to increase our community organizing and advocacy to fight for full repeal of IZ through future legislation in order to free local communities to create effective housing policy.

Sincerely,

Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Executive Director
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)

Nkenge Harmon Johnson, CEO and President
Urban League of Portland

Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director
Portland Community Redevelopment Initiatives

Kayse Jama, Executive Director
Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO)

Romeo Sosa, Executive Director
VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project

Sophorn Cheang, Interim Manager
IRCO Asian Family Center

Djimet Dogo, Manager
IRCO Africa House

Gerald Deloney, Director of Program Advancement
Self Enhancement, Inc.

Alberto Moreno, Chair
Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs

Dr. Barbara Spencer and Jessica Rodriguez-Montegna
Oregon Commission for Women

James Manning, Chair
Oregon Commission for Black Affairs

Mari Watanabe, Chair
Oregon Commission for Asian Pacific Islander Affairs

Jose E Gonzalez, Executive Director & Founder
Milagro

Cat Goughnour, CEO and Founder
Radix Consulting Group, LLC.

Edward Hill, Executive Director
Groundwork Portland

Cynthia Gomez, Member
Governor’s Environmental Justice Task Force

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