Middle Housing

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This project has concluded. Please visit www.eugene-or.gov/middlehousing for more information.

This project has entered the Adoption Phase! For complete project information, including meeting materials, project documents, and more, please visit the project webpage.

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

This project has entered the Adoption Phase! For complete project information, including meeting materials, project documents, and more, please visit the project webpage.

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!

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?

This project has concluded. Please visit www.eugene-or.gov/middlehousing for more information.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

The worst outcome is that this bill is made for the developers profit and not the eugene resident. There is a risk for luxury townhouses and triplexes to be built in what once was a low density pricing out lower income folks. Older more affordable homes could be torn down for profit to build a Before a large townhouse or quad is built next to single family ranch homes the residents living next to that site need to be survey and asked about their concerns and needs. It could affect their privacy, sunlight and green space.

poppy about 3 years ago

It's only stating the obvious to point out that the homeless population keeps growing. However, how often is it noted how many of these homeless individuals are actually STILL a part of Eugene's workforce?..

While wages increase an average of 3-7% per year yet RENT INCREASES 10% or more annually, and is legally allowed to do so, new houses won't resolve our problem. While even those with financial assistance STILL struggle to stay in their homes, new buildings won't resolve our problem. If you want to see people off the streets, if you want the public safe and calm, if you want students to fill the universities and graduate, if you want shops to retain their business, the solution is clear.....

DROP THE RENT!!!

As the price of a two bedroom or even single bedroom units have exceeded the comparable prices of a modest morgage, you have to ask, "Why is it suddenly more expensive to rent than to own?" .. and while you're considering this you should also be asking, " What students could possibly afford to stay? Why are the fully employed still living in the gutter? Who let the rates get out of control like this? When are the tax payers no longer going to be milked for someone else's rent money? How long are the residents of Lane County going to be expected to live hand-to-mouth?"...

Echonomics are about balance. Raising rent faster than people can earn it is absolutely bad math. No new building can fix it. No tiny houses, no homeless shelter, no tent city, can re-balance it. We need AFFORDABLE housing types. So while you're erections of middle housing occur, the city should seriously consider looking at the scales and taking action to DROP THE RENT!!!

Bec about 3 years ago

Hello!
Thank you for your hard work and dedication to making more affordable housing in Eugene. I hope this email finds you healthy and well.
Since the housing market has skyrocketed, our home that we have been good standing renters for 9 years, is now on the market for sale. We now are facing a renter's nightmare of impossible prices and little choices. My husband and I are not wealthy, but hard working and are in need of a stable and affordable home to call our own.

We have been given an opportunity to place a tiny home on wheels onto some family owned property, 2490 Friendly St. Eugene, OR. This property has a small duplex on a very large plot and we hope to place the tiny home on the other side of the lawn away from the other dwellings, so as to not disturb the other occupants. Unfortunately, we are at a stand still for permission from the city, due to current housing and land use laws. We were told that because the property has a duplex on it, we aren't allowed to place this tiny home on wheels there, leaving us floundering for a place to live affordably.
We humbly ask for you to please allow tiny homes on residential properties with duplexes. Grant us legal permission to have the tiny home on this property and relieve our housing crisis. We are grateful to be part of this wonderful community and we would love nothing more than to continue participating and calling Eugene our home.

Thank you for your time, consideration and help, stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely, Julia Holtzman

Julia Holtzman about 3 years ago

1. We now have a recent, real-world example of the "Worst Outcome." See;
https://trusttheneighbors.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/realworldmiddlehousingredevelopmentineugene.pdf

2. We also now have a recent, real world example of truly affordable, multi-family housing "best outcome" -- and it has nothing to do with the so-called "middle housing" deregulation. See:
https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Downloads/PublicTestimonyDocument/19154

Raoul Picante about 3 years ago

1. A more affordable neighborhood.
2. A more affordable neighborhood.
3. Offering variable levels of housing allows for an easier transition to more socially and economically diverse neighborhoods.
4. Neighborhoods need to change. Allow it to happen. Trying to preserve the planning methodology of the last generation is pricing young professionals and young families out of Eugene.

theartistformerlyknownas_theduck about 3 years ago

I like the idea of middle size housing. Large scale houses and McMansions are inappropriate for a variety of reasons. We must trend away from them. They usually far exceed the sheltering needs of the people living in them, and they require exorbitant amounts of resources to build and maintain. No matter what size structures are added to Eugene, it would be preferable to have some well defined design standards so a more uniform stylistic character and conformity of scale exists. Most of Eugene is an ugly mess -- a hodgepodge of structures that don't visually relate to each other in design, use of materials or color. Showing visitors around is embarrassing. The natural environment of western Oregon is stunningly beautiful but our built environment is a discordant jumble.

Nena Lovinger over 3 years ago

1. Ruining the character and livability of a neighborhood by cramming people together with density and removing the natural elements that make Eugene a place people want to live in. We need to preserve the green spaces. Like backyards and front yards. Property owners have a right to have some space around their homes instead of filling a lot with a building up to the edge. Cap buildings at a reasonable size, no over building for the lot footprint, this should be illegal. Also developers designs need to be reconsidered most of the building that are being put up around Eugene are devoid of any thought or character and are horribly ugly and poorly thought through.
2. If the homes that are built are subsidized by the federal government it will be possible to provide affordable housing options to more people. If there is no subsidy they will not be affordable due to the high cost of building materials and will just be more stuff that is put up by developers to make money at high prices. Apartments with rent at $1200-1400 is not matched to the Eugene housing/job market and is just for out of state students who are paying for housing with their parents money.
3. If neighborhoods are preserved and not over built, new residents of Eugene are not entitled to force housing into already crammed neighborhoods just because they want to live in the nicest parts of Eugene. People already live on tiny lots, it is unclear to me why you think people want to live like sardines, they don't The UGB needs to be expanded if more people are moving here. The city of Eugene already has a small foot print it take 15 to 20 minutes to drive from one side to the other, this is not LA, we do not have sprawl so why are we cramming people together for no reason.
4. The preservation of neighborhood space and character. Green lush trees, privacy, quiet and parking must be provided to maintain neighborhood harmony. Let's not make things as bad as Portland. People have a right to space and privacy.

AutumnLeavesFall over 3 years ago

ad 1: Destruction of the spacial quality of neighborhoods; balance in between building volumes and green / garden spaces. Replacement of affordable rentals by expensive new appartment buildings.
ad. 2. Best outcome would be if the spatial and architectural qualities of a neighborhood would be enhanced while there is more affordable housing created.
ad. 3. Affordable housing is created within the city boundaries, the liveability of the city is enhanced, and the spatial, environmental and architectural quality of the neighborhood is enhanced.
ad. 4 The fact that the commercial market won't create affordable housing without the city forcing them to do so!

Eric Dil over 3 years ago

4. In order to empower residents in these neighborhoods to make their neighborhoods a reflection of their values (Questions 1, 2, 3), loans should be made to existing residents so that they can develop their properties into the thriving mini communities they want to live in, if they’re interested.

If there isn’t money available for homeowners, to invest in their properties and their communities, then new regulations invite those with money (outsiders? developers? Those people who send letters every week trying to buy my house? REITs?) to capitalize on the increased value of property and the inability of existing residents to develop.

TNB over 3 years ago

1. The worst outcome is that property values grow out of control due to speculation on single family lots that can now be built up with increased density. The high value of lots in Eugene is already one of the leading factors of the lack of truly affordable (i.e. affordable to low income families) housing.

2. The best outcome is developers innovate and create new forms of middle housing that fit our unique character in Eugene without losing the charm of our existing neighborhoods. This density supports local commercial development through more small business loan friendly demographics.

3. Success means Eugene retains single family zoning outside of the urban core and increases density in a tactful, concentrated manner around existing and planned developments and transit hubs.

4. The most important thing for staff to consider is that existing single family zoning provides a high quality of life which makes Eugene an attractive city to call home. Density should be increased in a strategic manner that fits our city regardless of the politics du jour. The decisions we make today will affect generations to come.

Harry over 3 years ago

Including a "deeper affordability" option similar to Portland's Residential Infill Project, would make it viable for nonprofits to intersperse below-market housing throughout the city, which would offer an important tool for addressing our prolonged housing crisis.

>> https://www.sightline.org/2020/08/11/on-wednesday-portland-will-pass-the-best-low-density-zoning-reform-in-us-history/

Andrew Heben over 3 years ago

Preface: This is a typical "push" survey by Planning Division staff. Both questions #1 and #2 are loaded by posing an unqualified "more housing types" in "more places." Obviously, we need more housing and having more places to build would make more housing available. Examples of honest questions would be:
1. What is the worst outcome of allowing substantially more intensive development (higher density, more dwellings per lot) with more housing types in more places (including redeveloping neighborhoods of color and lower-cost neighborhoods) with the decisions about the types, costs and location left entirely to profit-oriented free market?

The issue is not whether or not duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes are good or bad -- the issue is whether blanket, one-size-fits-all, radical upzoning with no provisions to prevent displacement of lower-income households is a "good thing." It's not.

If the project were successful, the code amendments would faithfully implement the Envision Eugene pillar to "Protect, Repair and Enhance Neighborhood Livability," as well as do everything possible to maximize the preservation of existing affordable housing of all types, including single-family detached. In addition, the approval criteria should minimize the profit incentive to real estate investors who have no stake in our community.

#4 Staff should start telling the whole story about displacement, instead of finessing the issue. In addition, staff should provide the community with:
a) The actual distribution of truly "house-burdened households" (which is 90% or more households with income less than $25,000 or so.
b) The projected net addition to rental dwellings affordable to households with income less than $25,000 (or $30,000).
c) The projected number of low-income households that will be displaced, both directly (demolitions) and indirectly (increased rents).
d) The projected number of households that will chose to live in one of the "HB 2001 exempt" towns (e.g., Junction City, Creswell, etc.) instead of Eugene because they seek an affordable "single-family, detached" dwelling with a yard for their family.
e) The projected outcome of an alternative strategy of expanding the UGB and applying zoning that limits the scale (and this cost) of all the housing types.
f. The projected outcome by rezoning and providing MUPTE and other incentives/subsidies along the West Eugene EmX Extension segment on the W. 6th and 7th Ave. couplet.

Raoul Picante over 3 years ago

Based on the assumption that the goal here is to create (or preserve) housing that the bottom 50% of households as far as income can afford.
1. What is the worst outcome of allowing more housing types in more places?
(a) Since there is almost no vacant land in built-out neighborhoods and a majority of homes are sited on lots in such a way that additional structures won’t fit, most “infill” will require demolition of existing homes. Market economics will steer speculators to the least expensive homes, marginal rentals, which are also the most affordable for both renters and first-time home buyers. The result is that we cannibalize our affordable housing stock, thus making our housing problem worse. The cost of existing properties, plus demolition, plus construction and profit means new construction will be less affordable than the homes it displaces. (b) If the code is not designed to maintain access to light, air, and privacy via setbacks and sloping, infill will create a cascading effect as adjacent single-family homes become less attractive as residences and their value reverts to re-development. Combined, the result is redevelopment gentrification and further displacement of lower income households. This sort of effect is common, for example, in Seattle. Great for existing property owners, developers, and moneyed professionals, bad for everyone else. Who are we trying to help here?

2. What is the best outcome of allowing more housing types in more places?
Better use of urban land. The potential to create new green field development with a mix of housing types as we expand the UGB. If code is written to mandate affordable housing, then more diverse neighborhoods. More options for people.

3. If this project is successful, what would that look like from your perspective?
It would look like the code developed for the Jefferson Westside Special Area Zone. That code allows all types of housing but sets limits to maintain livability. Take a walk between Jefferson, 8th, Chambers, and 13th to see what that looks like. Density can be wonderful - if done correctly – and for the benefit of everyone and not just developers looking to make a buck.

4. What is the most important thing for staff to consider?
Reduce the incentives to replace affordable with unaffordable housing either via technical code restrictions, for example: (a) Constrain the physical characteristics allowed to reduce the potential costs and the profit incentives for more expensive infill development. For example, set minimum lot sizes to 5000 sqft; (b) Define duplex, triplex and quadplex to require exactly 2, 3 and 4 dwellings, respectively, in a single building (do not define quadplex as four detached dwellings); (c) Limit each lot to no more than one duplex, one triplex, one quadplex, four townhouses, or eight cottages and no combination of these. AND/OR Adopt ordinances that prohibit the net loss of lower cost housing. For example: Require a development/redevelopment project to result in at least the same number of lower-cost dwellings of the same or greater floor area and bedrooms as existed prior to the project. Perhaps based on the average per square foot rent charged on a dwelling over the previous two years.

tmcoopman over 3 years ago

#1. The worst outcome would be for current residents getting upset about having mixed housing in their neighborhoods, and then the new middle housing didn't end up actually providing for lower income families and individuals because they ultimately cost too much. I suspect it will an impossible goal to make sure all current residents are happy about mixed housing. So I'd suggest that you do your best to explain why this is happening and focus priory for any project on providing homes for lower income people. #2. The best outcome would then become clearer to current residents as time goes on and suddenly no one will care about the mixed housing, because it wasn't the issue they thought it was going to be in the first place. Some many even take a bit of pride in their place in building a better community. #3 Success would look like lots more duplex, triplex and quadplex homes around the city in all neighbors. And especially in those neighborhoods that have a decent walkability score. All residential units must provide for one off street parking space and, in working closely with LTD, make certain that the newly created density is well connected to public transit. It would be difficult for me to think of success, however, if there is a significant homeless population that still cannot afford to live in a quadplex. Housing the unhoused is not within the purview of the middle housing group but housing for homeless and especially the very transitional homeless needs to be managed along side the middle housing project or imho there can be no housing success of any kind. #4The most important thing for staff to consider is this question, "Will this plan, development, or action, we are about to take actually improve housing for lower income families and what is the evidence that would back up that assertion."

Tjag over 3 years ago

Removed by moderator.

NOADU over 3 years ago

1. Ineffective long-term plan to meet needs of aging baby-boomers and those seeking starter homes who cannot afford single homes.
2. Best outcome would be to create affordable self-sustaining communities with accessible public transportation. Include support businesses such as grocery stores, activity centers, and accessible health care.
3. Affordable community units with accessible public transportation and local businesses.
4. Affordability for aging and middle income.

Viccot over 3 years ago

I hope that the city encourages more of this sort of development by zoning to increase density and mixed use development with high density housing and businesses, parks and good transport with minimal cars. Removing parking minimums and creating parking maximums is a really good way to do this. This is a great step in the right direction!

Jkubu over 3 years ago

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 over 3 years 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 over 3 years 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 over 3 years ago