Fixing Oregon’s affordable housing problem is going to come in pieces. The Legislature passed a law in 2017 that could add a small piece for 113 rural plots in Deschutes County.

Deschutes County Commission should take the next step and authorize it. Commissioners are scheduled to discuss it Wednesday.

HB 3012 authorized — but did not require — that counties allow a historic home on rural land be converted to an accessory dwelling unity. A new single-family home could then be built on the same piece of property. The property must be at least two acres.

Historic was defined in the law as meaning built between 1850 and 1945. Staff at Deschutes County found 113 plots that they believe are eligible.

Some county governments have already authorized the new law in their county without any special rules. Deschutes County should be careful about making the requirements more difficult to meet. The idea is to create more housing. Don’t undermine it by layering on restrictions.

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