Roseburg Community Development Director Stuart Cowie as seen earlier at his office.

The shortage of affordable housing is already an issue in Roseburg and only expected to become more acute as the population grows. The growing problem was highlighted in a housing study done last year, which showed there will need to be more than 2,600 new housing units built in the next 20 years to accommodate the expected population growth.

To address this housing shortage, the City of Roseburg is pursuing changes to its municipal code that is intended to provide greater opportunities for more affordable housing. The changes are the result of work being done by the city’s Community Development Department and supported by a grant from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

The proposed changes will allow for more so-called “middle housing,” which is defined by the state as types of housing that are more affordable and meet the needs of low-income households who do not necessarily require the large space of a single-family detached home. Examples of middle housing include duplexes, triplexes, town homes, and cottage clusters. In 2019, the state passed House Bill 2001, which allows Oregonians to develop middle housing in cities based on population criteria.

“This law couldn’t come at a more opportune time,” said Community Development Director Stuart Cowie in a news release. “We did a housing needs analysis in 2019, and what we found is that our city is growing at a considerable rate. Roseburg’s population will increase by over 5,500 people in the next 20 years. That means we will need to build over 2,600 new homes in order to meet demand. The question now is, what can we do at the city level to make sure we are on track to meet the housing demand? These code changes will help encourage more affordable housing options to occur in the city.”

Currently, the Roseburg municipal code does allow some, but not all middle housing options to be developed within the city. Of the middle housing options that are allowed, new guidelines and revisions will be required by the state to ensure that these options are more attainable to residents and developers.

To assist in the process of adopting changes in the Roseburg Municipal Code, the city has created a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The committee consists of housing industry professionals, whose knowledge and experience will help guide City staff to adopt code changes that are in line with House Bill 2001.

As part of the public outreach process, the SAC is hosting a virtual open house, via Facebook Live, to update the community about the committee’s progress on the project. The open house is scheduled for Dec. 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., on the city’s Facebook page.

To access the city’s Facebook page, please go to Facebook.com/CityofRoseburg. Questions and comments will be encouraged by the public during the live feed.

For more information about the middle housing project, visit the Community Development Department’s special projects page.

Questions can also be directed to the Community Development Department at cdd@cityofroseburg.org, or 541-492-6750.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

React to this story:


Recommended for you

(5) comments


City and county planners focused on development of homes that generated the highest property tax revenue for the city and county, which is high end homes. Like most big cities have done, zoning codes need to be changed to reduce acreage requirements and multiple dwelling prohibitions to make it cost effective to build those lower cost homes. Is that happening because I haven't read about it? Where I live, the zoning requires a minimum of 1 acre per home. The land expense makes it virtually impossible for anyone to justify building a low priced home.


Roseburg needs affordable housing because, on average, people in Douglas County make significantly less money than Oregonians as a whole. In the past, city planners have focused on the development of high end homes. There's nothing wrong with building homes for the affluent. But it's nice to see an emphasis on building homes that the average working family in Roseburg can actually afford.


Coronavirus is our Commissioners' answer to the housing shortage and homelessness, which is why they oppose coronavirus restrictions meant to keep people safe.


There is construction going on all over this area....Winston, Melrose, Sutherlin....what's the problem? If you mean "affordable" to be future slums, build them somewhere else.


They are getting ready for an influx of people from other states. Why I will never know why someone would move to Oregon in the first place. Some areas are OK but the Politics in Salem sucks. Looking towards leaving Or.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.