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City Club of Eugene: Missing Middle Housing: What Is It? Why Do We Need It? How Do We Get It?

Program Date: February 5, 2021

Air Date: February 8, 2021

This City Club program is the first in a three-part series on local housing issues.

From The City Club of Eugene:

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2001 (HB 2001). It was designed to “provide Oregonians with more housing choices, especially more housing choices that people can afford.” The law re-legalizes traditional “missing middle housing” types, allowing duplexes on all parcels zoned for detached single-family residential use, and allowing triplexes, four-plexes, cottage clusters, and townhouses in areas zoned for residential use. By June 30, 2022, large cities like Eugene will need to implement new zoning that meets the law’s minimum requirements or the State-approved Model Code will go into effect.

But passage of HB 2001 isn’t the beginning of Eugene’s history with the elusive “missing middle.” Stroll along one of Eugene’s historic streetcar lines—our earliest “transit-oriented development”—and you’ll find duplexes, quads, and small masonry apartment buildings nestled among walkable neighborhoods and mature street trees.

In 2017, the City produced a “Missing Middle Handbook” to review the characteristics of these traditional housing types, and then completed a Land Use Code Audit, which identified numerous barriers to the development of housing for all income levels as envisioned by our comprehensive plan. In 2019, participants in the City’s Housing Tools & Strategies process collectively endorsed actions to encourage more diverse housing options and creative solutions. Since then, Eugene has been on a winding path, and through a global pandemic—but HB 2001 has a deadline.

This program will introduce HB 2001, describe the characteristics of “missing middle housing,” summarize Oregon’s integrated Land Use Planning Goals (with emphasis on Goal 1: Citizen Involvement and Goal 10: Housing), and explain the innovative citizen involvement processes the City of Eugene is using to develop its missing middle code: a randomly selected, demographically representative, deliberative panel of 29 local residents.

Two representatives from the Planning Review Panel will participate in the program.  The City of Eugene partnered with the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Healthy Democracy to assemble a Planning Review Panel of 30 randomly selected Eugene community members, two of whom are speaking. (Note: Speakers are using first names only to maintain the integrity of the process.) This panel is Oregon’s first lottery-selected Review Panel on a major urban planning project. It is one of several ways Eugene residents are able to participate in the local implementation of HB 2001.




Terri Harding is the Principal Planner for the Community Planning and Design team at the City of Eugene. She started her Eugene residency as a graduate student in the mid-1990s, living in a duplex in the Jefferson-Westside Neighborhood. Three homes later, she and her husband are raising their twin eighth graders and a new puppy in the Southwest Hills neighborhood.

Also speaking are Robert and Sam from the Planning Review Panel.