Senate Bill 10: Rezones Almost All Of Portland and other Oregon cities

The latest developer-backed bill to rezone Oregon cities is Senate Bill 10. The latest and the worst.

SB10 will rezone all residential areas within 1/2 mile of a “frequent service transit line” to 45 to 74 units per acre. That is about 5 to 8 units per typical 5,000 sq ft (0.11 acre) residential lot. Put another way, using the average household size of 2.3 persons, that is about 24 to 40 persons per 10,000 sq ft.

To get a sense of what that density means, take a look at this map of persons per 10,000 sq ft in Portland. The SB10-mandated density is equal to or higher than population density in downtown, the Pearl, Goose Hollow, and other very urban, mid-and-high rise parts of the Central City (the dark red colored blocks on the map).

Where will SB10 apply? Pretty much all of Portland. See this map from Trimet. It shows all Portland frequent service transit lines with 1/2 mile buffers. Except for parts of the West and Southwest Hills, and far Southeast suburbs like Happy Valley, almost all of Portland is included.

You can also go to Trimet’s frequent service page and find the bus or MAX line closest to you.

For example, are you anywhere near Killingsworth? Because the 72 bus runs every 15 minutes during commute hours, SB10 will rezone everything from about Rosa Parks to about Prescott to Central City-Level density. Or are you not too far from 82nd or the 205 Freeway? Because the 72 bus runs on 82nd, MAX runs along the 205, and the 73 bus runs on 122nd, almost everything from about 74th to 132nd will be rezoned. And so on.

If you’re within 1/4 mile of a MAX station, your area will be rezoned to 140 units per acre, or about 32 persons per 5,000 lot.

As more frequent transit service lines are added, more of the city will be rezoned. SB10 essentially allows Trimet to decide the city’s zoning.

Does it make sense to rezone all of Portland’s neighborhoods to blocks of 3 to 10 story apartment buildings?

No, it really doesn’t. In a later post, we’ll look at the city and Metro data that proves there is no need to rezone our city and redevelop every neighborhood to apartment blocks.

SB10 is set for a “public” hearing on Monday, February 25 at 3:00 pm before the Senate Housing Committee in Salem. We’ve put “public” in quotes because a Monday hearing that was not announced until Friday isn’t really trying to get public input. Lobbyists camp out in Salem during the legislative session and get advance notice of hearing dates. Ordinary Oregonians do not.

Here’s what you can do. Email your views on SB10 to the Senate Housing Committee at Also email or call the chair of that committee, Sen Shelia Fagan, with your views. and 503-986-1724.

Don’t be silent and let developers and lobbyists decide the future of your city and your neighborhood. Email and call now and again and again.