SALEM — A bill to allow Bend to build housing in some areas zoned for commercial use was given a surprisingly quick green light in the House on Thursday.
House Bill 3450, authored by Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, was approved 56-1.
It goes to the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain. It must go through committee and floor votes before the Legislature adjourns no later than June 30. Adding to the uncertainty is the walkout by Senate Republicans that has brought legislation in the chamber to a standstill.
The bill would let the city of Bend redevelop older commercial areas into multistory buildings with shops on the ground floor and apartments on upper floors.
The bill picked up backing along the way from state agencies and Democratic leaders like House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland.
“I am happy to see that we were all able to come together to craft a bill that will be very good for Bend,” Helt said Thursday night.
For Bend, the project would revitalize underutilized areas such as older parts of Third Street. State lawmakers are interested in ideas for affordable housing where residents could walk to stores, public transit and jobs.
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