Let Us Build! 
A Message from OHBA President
Tim Alvarez

As a 2nd generation Oregon homebuilder, I know first-hand the hardship that lack of housing creates in a community. In September of 2020, the Rogue Valley was decimated by the Almeda Fire resulting in the largest loss of homes by fire in the history of our state. Thousands of homes were lost and hundreds of families remain unhoused to this day. Many displaced healthcare workers are still living in mobile homes in parking lots as they take care of us. Many other families have simply left the area altogether after realizing they could not survive the regulatory gauntlet long enough to rebuild.

My company helped lead the effort to restore many of these lost homes but the barriers to rebuilding have been astounding.  Our restoration challenges have confirmed what Oregon home builders all know, which is that the legislative and regulatory congestion that has plagued our industry for decades has only become worse over time.  Today, as much as 40% of the cost of a new home is simply regulatory
compliance.

Oregon housing policies have seriously limited production for decades, which has inflated the cost of all housing statewide. According to the recent Regional Housing Needs Analysis, Oregon would need to build 584,000 new homes just to provide for current demand. Nearly 25% of these homes are needed right now! That goal would require Oregon’s builders to produce 30,000 to 40,000 new homes every year!  For context, we were able to produce less than 20,000 units last year.

These goals are not achievable under our current system without significant reform. Our current statewide planning and permitting system simply won’t allow us to build 40,000 homes a year. Also, the prevalence of “NIMBYism” (“Not In My Back Yard”) and the high level of land use appeals for affordable home developments are ever increasing barriers to the level of production we need. The housing future of our state depends on determined and common-sense regulatory reform. Oregon’s homebuilders are ready to build, but we need your help!

As President of the Oregon Home Builders Association (OHBA), I am calling on state lawmakers to act and address our urgent need for housing. It’s time to take a stand and seriously address our housing crisis and provide the support we need to increase production and reduce costs. In this coming session, we need emergency legislation laser-focused on removing production barriers. This includes emergency legislation such as increasing buildable land supply, discouraging appeals of housing projects, increasing the capacity for cities to streamline permitting, and providing more flexibility from restrictive planning standards to meet the needs of our various communities.

Passing legislation will require collaboration between lawmakers of both parties, state agencies, local governments, builders, and community groups. Above all, it will require decision makers to acknowledge that our current system is not working for Oregonians. Doing things “the same old way,” is not working; we need reform, and we need it now.

Working together, we can significantly increase the number of homes we build so that every Oregonian has access to safe, sustainable, and affordable housing. However, Oregon builders need legislative and regulatory support to achieve this critical goal. It’s time for our lawmakers to partner with us to solve Oregon’s housing crisis. Please encourage our legislators to help us so that we can help everyone.

What Can You Do To Help?
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Call: 541.773.2872 | Email: [email protected]
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