Fair Housing Issue Probed: How Oregon Revised Statutes Section 197.309 Violates the Fair Housing Act

Garvey Schubert Barer Attorney Jennifer Bragar, who is also President of Housing Land Advocates, commented on Logan’s article: “While years go by without any meaningful planning policy to address affordable housing, Jenny Logan has provided the basis for Oregon to catch up with the rest of the nation and allow the use of inclusionary zoning as a tool to advance fair housing. "

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Jennifer Bragar

—Jennifer Bragar

"The State of Oregon should be proactive about moving forward on this issue." - Jennifer Bragar

Portland, Oregon (PRWEB) March 25, 2014

Attorney Jenny Logan recently published an article entitled Otherwise Unavailable: How OR. REV. STAT. 197.309 Violates the Fair Housing Act in the current issue of the American Bar Association’s Journal of Housing and Community Development Law. Ms. Logan serves as board member of the non-profit organization Housing Land Advocates (http://www.housinglandadvocates.org).*

Ms. Logan’s article asserts that ORS 197.309, Oregon’s statutory ban on mandatory Inclusionary Zoning (“IZ”), has a detrimental, disparate impact on people of color in Oregon, which is in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act. Inclusionary Zoning, or “set aside” requirements, allows for a portion of new housing units to be sold or rented at affordable rates, thereby empowering local government with the zoning authority to ensure that communities of color and low-income people are not excluded from certain neighborhoods.

Housing Land Advocates has identified planning principles that will ensure land is available for affordable housing by advocating for smart land use planning that will bring equity to all Oregon neighborhoods. While Housing Land Advocates recognizes that IZ is not a panacea, it is one tool that would ensure that new development includes affordable housing for all Oregonians. It is important to note that while the IZ provision is an effective tool to ensure more equitable housing, it is not currently utilized by the state of Oregon. Aside from Oregon, the only other state in the country that does not utilize IZ provisions is Texas.

Legislative Activity regarding Inclusionary Zoning Provisions
Oregon’s ban on IZ, which took effect in 1999, due to lobbying efforts made by the Oregon Homebuilders’ Association, prevents local jurisdictions from exercising control over development to ensure construction of a sufficient amount of affordable housing in neighborhoods of opportunity to combat racial segregation in residential neighborhoods.

In 2013, Ms. Logan and other Housing Land Advocate board members worked with the Oregon Inclusionary Zoning Coalition and with community partners around the State to overturn the ban. Those efforts resulted in a bill to repeal the IZ ban by Senator Shields and Representative Reardon in 2013. The bill, HB 2890, was voted out of committee but did not come to the floor for a vote. The Legislature, Coalition and other interested partners convened the Legislative Workgroup of Affordability, Balance and Choice in 2014 to explore the issue further, and the Coalition plans to bring a repeal bill to the regular session of the Oregon legislature in 2015.

Garvey Schubert Barer Attorney Jennifer Bragar, who is also President of Housing Land Advocates, commented on Logan’s article: “While years go by without any meaningful planning policy to address affordable housing, Jenny Logan has provided the basis for Oregon to catch up with the rest of the nation and allow the use of inclusionary zoning as a tool to advance fair housing. More and more, we hear about displacement and gentrification affecting people of color and low income folks, but pushing people to the edge of our urban growth boundaries does nothing to promote equitable neighborhoods with access to the good housing, schools, jobs, and transportation that afford quality lifestyles. Repeal of the ban on inclusionary zoning is only one small step in the right direction. The State of Oregon should be proactive about moving forward on this issue.”

*Since 2004, Housing Land Advocates have been dedicated to using land use planning, education, and law to ensure that Oregonians of all income levels can obtain adequate and affordable housing. Housing Land Advocates is a 501(c) (3) charitable corporation in the state of Oregon that advocates for land use policies and practices that ensure an adequate and appropriate supply of affordable housing for all Oregonians. Two attorneys, Ed Sullivan and Jennifer Bragar, both from the business law firm Garvey Schubert Barer, are current board members. Ms. Bragar serves as President of the board. Other board members include Alex Dupey, Senior Planner, David Evans and Associates, Inc.; Rebekah Dohrman, Community Development Division, City of Eugene; Ellen Johnson, Oregon Law Center; Ben Schonberger, Planner, Winterbrook Planning; Karin Power, Staff Attorney, The Freshwater Trust; Rebecca Kennedy, Project Coordinator, Portland Development Commission; Christopher Marin, Student, Lewis & Clark Law School; and Ms. Jenny Logan, who is a law clerk to the Hon. Ann Aiken. For more information, Please see http://www.housinglandadvocates.org.

About Garvey Schubert Barer
Since its founding in 1966, Garvey Schubert Barer has been a business law firm representing established market leaders, start-up businesses and governmental entities, both nationally and internationally, with a special focus on the Pacific Rim. Garvey Schubert Barer has counseled clients across virtually all industry sectors, with a special emphasis in international trade and transportation, maritime law, healthcare, technology, land use and environmental, manufacturing, financial services, real estate, communications and media, and arts and entertainment. Garvey Schubert Barer represents a broad range of public and privately-held businesses, investment firms, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, government entities and individuals. The firm has offices in Seattle, Portland, Anchorage, Washington, D.C., New York and Beijing. For more information, please see http://www.gsblaw.com.

NOTE to EDITORS and PRODUCERS: Attorneys Jennifer Bragar and Jenny Logan are available for interview. Vivian Satterfield of the Oregon Inclusionary Zoning Coalition can be reached at 503-342-8910 and vivian(at)opalpdx(dot)org.

Press Contact: Patricia Vaccarino, patricia(at)xanthuscom(dot)com +1-206-979 3380


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