The controversy with owning a shouse (small house) or a tiny house in Central Oregon

Oregon’s property tax is absolutely mind boggling. It’s so confusing, that the property assessed value is based on numbers given from 1995 – no joke. Zoning laws and building codes require a minimum square footage for new construction and progress to reduce that square footage is at a slow pace. So, can we or can’t we build a shouse or tiny house in Central Oregon?

You can, but you have to register it as a trailer or recreational vehicle. According to the American Tiny House Association, they refer to Chapter 3, Section R304, “Minimum Room Areas.” R304.1 which means every dwelling unit shall have at least one habitable room that shall have not less than 70 square feet of gross floor area. Habitable means sleeping, eating or cooking.

Of course, this is for cities like Portland where there is a large population. If you own land outside of any major city, you can almost do whatever you want, but again, it depends on the city/county ordinance. In example, if you live inside the Redmond area versus living out in Alfalfa. Both areas have different laws.

So where is the controversy? Well, if you want to own property in the city and place a small house on it, there is no way you can do so with a foundation, plumbing and electricity (proper permits). The home literally must be on wheels. The issue is overreach of power. Our constitution states that we can own land and do whatever we want on it. If we want to build a tiny house in Bend, OR then we should be able to build it without any issues.

Registering a shouse as an RV isn’t practical either. If we own land, we do so as “permanent” living. Placing a chassis with wheels under a small house does not offer stability or it sends a message to you and your neighbors. Without going into conspiracies, we should address what our rights are and building a home with a foundation on it (any size we want) should be our right.