News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Bill supports those who lost manufactured homes to wildfire

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

A bill before the Oregon legislature would allow wildfire survivors who lost factory-built homes to relocate outside the disaster area, while removing other barriers to siting manufactured homes throughout the state.

HB 4064 was passed by the House of Representatives Feb. 14, and on Thursday a Senate committee recommended its approval. If the bill passes and is signed by Gov. Kate Brown, it would take effect immediately.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), told Jefferson Public Radio the goal is to remove barriers to factory-built homes that don’t also apply to ground-built housing. Marsh’s district lost numerous manufactured homes in 2020 during the Alameda Fire, and she said recovery has been hindered by inequitable policies and an existing housing crunch.

HB 4046 allows natural disaster survivors who receive a loan from the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department to site their new manufactured home outside the disaster area if they receive a waiver from the department. The house would still need to be the individual’s primary residence and located on land they own or are in the process of purchasing, or in a registered manufactured dwelling park.

The bill also added prefabricated housing, such as those with modular construction meant to be relocatable, to its definition of factory-built homes. However tiny homes, as well as recreational vehicles and similar dwellings intended for short-term use, are still not eligible even if they serve as a primary residence.

The bill also prevents local jurisdictions from placing standards on factory-built homes that are not placed on other types of housing in the same location, and would allow manufactured housing to be sited in any zone that allows single-family dwellings within an urban growth boundary. This would prevent policies that limit manufactured homes in some areas based on minimum house size, pitch of a roof angle, presence of a car port, color, appearance and other expectations not placed on ground-built dwellings.

The bill would also limit fees and non-home improvements required by some manufactured home parks, and prevent local jurisdictions from blocking new development at existing parks.

The bill has received strong support from housing advocates throughout the state. They told legislators that many low-wage workers, seniors, disabled persons and others on fixed incomes depend on manufactured homes as a source of affordable housing, and that barriers to their development are outdated and do not reflect the state’s housing challenges.

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