Major Threat Alert: SB 16 heading to Senate Floor Vote!

In Legislative Session, Major Threat by OLCVstaff

Oregon is the place we love today in large part because of our land use laws. It’s why we have our open spaces, farmlands, forests, and other breath-taking Oregon landscapes. However, critical protections are at risk of serious rollbacks because of Senate Bill 16 (SB 16), which would repeal certain farmland protections in Eastern Oregon. This “Major Threat” bill is heading to a final vote by the state senate on Wednesday — please email your senator today and urge them to vote NO on SB16!

Here’s what Senate Bill 16 (SB 16) would do: it would waive Oregon’s land use laws and allow up to 100 new houses — not related to farming — to be scattered across 200 acres of exclusive farm use (EFU) lands in the large “Eastern Oregon border region.”

What that would mean:

  • Scattered housing development, which would interfere with wildlife and water resources and increase the risk of wildfire in an area already rated as high for wildfire risk
  • Some of our state’s most valuable and productive agriculture land will be used for high-end housing causing a major conflict with farming
  • Greater stress to already scarce water resources in the border region

Those are just some of the ramifications if SB 16 passes. While it is true that Oregonians need more diverse and affordable housing types, they need homes near where they live, work, and play — inside our towns and cities. And SB 16 seems likely to result in high-end second homes, causing home prices overall to increase for those of middle- and low-incomes. Oregonians also need food and fiber, and Oregon has some of the best agricultural land in the world.

We should not, and need not, pit housing and food production against one another by treating working lands as vacant lands — which is why we need to tell Oregon state senators to vote no on SB 16.

Help us stop this major threat to a healthy Oregon from passing by taking action today.