Middle Housing

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Project Background

Eighty percent of residential zoning in Eugene is designated for single-family homes, yet young adults, smaller families, and the growing population of elderly need housing options that increase access to public transportation and services reduce maintenance costs and provide more social opportunities. The Eugene Middle Housing Project will revise the Land Use Code to improve housing choices in the short term and affordability in the long term for Eugene residents.

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2001, requiring cities to allow more types of housing in residential areas, particularly in more traditionally single-family neighborhoods where

Project Background

Eighty percent of residential zoning in Eugene is designated for single-family homes, yet young adults, smaller families, and the growing population of elderly need housing options that increase access to public transportation and services reduce maintenance costs and provide more social opportunities. The Eugene Middle Housing Project will revise the Land Use Code to improve housing choices in the short term and affordability in the long term for Eugene residents.

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2001, requiring cities to allow more types of housing in residential areas, particularly in more traditionally single-family neighborhoods where housing choices are limited. Revising Eugene’s Land Use Code to comply with House Bill 2001 will shape how our community develops and expand opportunities for where people can choose to live and what type of home they live in, and we want to hear from you! The Land Use Code will be amended to allow middle housing in residential areas by June 2022.

What is “middle” housing?

Middle housing refers to a range of smaller attached or clustered housing types that are typically built at a similar scale as single-family detached houses. The term “missing middle” housing was coined by urban planner Daniel Parolek to refer to housing that fits in-between single-family homes and larger apartment buildings but that’s largely been missing from most cities’ neighborhood patterns for the last 70 years. Middle housing can include duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, cottage clusters, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), courtyard apartments, and other similar housing.

A Eugene Duplex


A Eugene Triplex


A Eugene Quadplex


Why is it missing?

Middle housing is considered “missing” because relatively little of this housing has been built since the 1940s. Middle housing was common in neighborhoods in most communities prior to World War II. There are many local examples of middle housing in Eugene’s prewar neighborhoods. "Redlining” and other discriminatory lending practices were used to exclude non-white residents from many of these neighborhoods. Post-war prosperity and federal policies led to a building boom that ushered in an age of auto-dependent suburban development with large areas devoted to only single-family homes on large lots. Middle housing types were prohibited or significantly limited in single-family neighborhoods through zoning codes that categorized them as “multifamily housing”. Even today, a large percentage of Eugene’s neighborhoods do not allow most middle housing as an outright use. Meanwhile, in multifamily areas, developers generally build larger and denser housing such as apartment complexes. As a result, currently, most residents must choose between detached single-family homes or apartments.

For more information about House Bill 2001, check out the HB 2001 Fact Sheets or visit the project webpage.

We Want To Know What You Think!

Help guide the process by using the "Share your thoughts" tool below. You can also share your middle housing story and ask questions. Visit the "Project Updates" tool for up to date project happenings!

You will be asked to register or log in to your user account before providing your feedback. If you need some help with the registration process please read this guide

What do you think?

We want to hear from you! 

  1. What is the worst outcome of allowing more housing types in more places?
  2. What is the best outcome of allowing more housing types in more places?
  3. If this project is successful, what would that look like from your perspective?
  4. What is the most important thing for staff to consider?
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The worst outcome could be parking issues, the best is increased density to maintain urban growth boundary and preserve open space. Project success would be that people of varying incomes have access to a decent living space . . . a "home" of some kind, no matter how simple. Staff needs to immediately recommend specific policy to the City Council so that ADU's can begin to be built . . . "An accessory dwelling unit is a really simple and old idea: having a second small dwelling right on the same grounds (or attached to) your regular single-family house, such as: an apartment over the garage. a tiny house (on a foundation) in the backyard." And city codes and permits should NOT be cost prohibitive, the rational being, the more people we can get into decent "homes" such as an ADU, the better it will be FOR EVERYONE in the community.

AL 13 days ago

1. The worst outcome may be a lack of parking. It would be good to ensure that these new denser communities include parking for their residents.2. The best outcome will hopefully be a lowered rent burden and more homes for those who need them.3. The project would provide more one and two bedroom homes. My concern would be that most the new housing I see built around town are luxury homes with 4. or more bedrooms. These aren't suitable for many of those who need homes in our community, and are rented for higher prices.5. Create housing that is useful for those who need it (smaller units), and include parking as part of these expansions.

Erica Barry 14 days ago

I used to live in Eugene for 10 years from 2003 to 2013 and saw then that a dramatic increase in affordable housing was desperately needed. I lived in Portland for the 1st 51 years of my life before moving to Eugene. The City of Portland and surrounding cities were already well under way adding a large volume of mor3 affordable housing.In 2013 our family moved to Creswell, OR. In 2016 I became a City Councilor where I was actively involved in many Master Plans. The Housing Needs Analysis Master Plan that was adopted in 2020. In Creswell it shows that more than 50% of all future housing needs to be considered Affordable Housing. I’m sure the same applies for Eugene. I understand why the Eugene City Council to not want to expand the UGB for housing. In Creswell and Eugene, ALL infill possibilities for housing needs to be explored, encouraged and made possible by any and all options possible. So, even if it means an alteration of the permit costs, water service installation or whatever, they need to be looked into as options. My Elected Public Office ended in 2020 when I served as the Mayor for two years. I will continue my work to encourage Missing Middle Housing here in Creswell, Eugene or wherever I may live in the future.

Drachir52 15 days ago

I have a unique perspective as a new Oregonian having relocated from Chicago. If I may be so bold as to share, I see Eugene at a cross-roads, and this specific issue is the one that will make or break it.As a new Oregonian I am (obviously) without housing. Now this is ridiculous because my wife and I spend between $1500-$2000/ month on hotel rooms.Every ADU we’ve seen, every rental option we’ve seen is unacceptable. You’re not helping anybody if you aren’t putting people in actually facilities with kitchen and bathroom and bedroom.I’m disgusted by the way Oregonians have shown just how much people will take advantage of their neighbor if there isn’t a system in place to enforce minimum housing standards, and set maximum housing prices.If you want the freedom that the Pacific Northwest espouses, then you need to take personal responsibility...nowhere should this be more apparent than Eugene...the supposed anarchist capital of the free-world.Oregon has more than enough room, and Eugene is on the verge of becoming just another city that’s too POPULATION DENSE. Go to a place like Chicago and see where all the land has actually been scarred and turned to concrete and you will instantly understand that the WORST thing you can do is create MORE HOUSING IN THE CITY.Eugene needs to tear down condemned buildings, create more green-space in the city, and spread the city out in less dense housing around the hills. This is an infrastructure cost, and wisely spent...because living in a Home Depot shack on your own acre of property is a better deal than living in the same shack in someone’s backyard...which is exactly the shack that people are renting as ADUs.At least with a shack on your own acre, you can go potty and have a fire to cook your dinner. If there is any confusion about what will and what won’t help members of the homeless population; go be homeless for 3 months-you’ll understand rapidly why these programs don’t help.

Twist2xlr8 16 days ago

The worst outcome of allowing more housing types would be if these changes only benefit households over 60% AMI. A successful implementation would intentionally include options that create more accessible housing for lower-income residents. Staff should consider decisions through the prism of how they would affect the least advantaged residents and mitigate the potential for displacements resulting from housing policy changes.

Sielicki about 1 month ago

1. (worst outcome:) There is always an impact on existing residents when more households are introduced near our dwellings. In my case, I cannot deal with noise . Others seem concerned with competition for parking, or with traffic density, or other issues. All of these concerns will require public resources to maintain quality of life for people, and should be addressed outside of land use policy, as with the noise ordinances. 2. (best outcome) Let me count the ways. Reduced CO2, lower costs housing, lower cost of living, greater viability of public transit, increased supply of housing for the bottom half, which the upper half already enjoy. Lower maintenance costs to the City as explained by Joe Minicozzi to Council May, 2019...reduced pressure to expand the UGB, etc. this is the whole vision since SB100. 3. (definition of success:) achieving those outcomes in #2 without having the reforms directed in favor of already-successful elements of society. Achieving actual improvements for the bottom deciles and avoiding the gentrification and higher housing costs which some community leaders predict.4. (most important:) The people in the bottom 20% of income who, today, are not viable in Eugene's housing market and are housing cost burdened, homeless or near homeless. It is absolutely vital to stand up for these households to prevent family breakdown, psychological breakdown, social anomie, substance abuse, and eventual crime and violence.

ToddB about 1 month ago

There are potential problems with adu construction being too close to property lines. They should not be too close to neighbors fences because they could cause fires in neighboring properties it they caught on fire with someone cooking in the adu kitchen. The fire would spread to neighboring homes and no one would know who or what was going on in the adu. The fire would spread into neighbors back yards or side yards from the adu. Fire fighting would be hampered because of multiple structures being engulfed in a confined area.

Butterfly1 about 2 months ago