Senate axes bureaucratic barriers hindering wildfire victims

By Oregon State Senator Fred Girod,

Sen. Girod Secures More Flexible Building Requirements for Victims of Wildfire

Today the Senate approved SB 405 by a vote of 27-1. SB 405 provides families whose homes were destroyed by wildfire more time and flexibility to rebuild.

The bill does two important things for victims of wildfire:

1. Allows for older homes and structures that were built under old land use law (non-conforming use) but destroyed by fire, to be rebuilt to conform to those previous laws. SB 405 ensures that families who had older homes can rebuild and continue living where their house was before.

2. Current land use law requires owners of non-conforming use properties to begin rebuilding within one year of fire damage. The scale of the damage of the wildfires is putting that timetable out of reach for many. A complex, web of regulations, permitting, insurance claims, and FEMA assistance, adds time to the process for rebuilding. SB 405 extends that timetable to 5 years to give them time and flexibility.

Senator Girod (R-Lyons), a chief sponsor of the legislation, released the following statement:

“One crucial step in restoring our communities is rebuilding what has been lost. Unfortunately, for thousands of Oregonians who lost their home or business, rebuilding has become a monumental task. Current backlogs of supplies and processes are putting Canyon families in a bind. Families devastated by wildfire need flexibility. SB 405 provides critical flexibility to ensure families can rebuild structures that were lost at a pace that works for them. This bill will make a big difference for our communities in the Canyon. We have a lot more to do on the long road to recovery.”

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.