Oregon Legislature begins 2023 work with focus on housing and homelessness

When the 2023 Oregon legislative session begins in earnest on Tuesday, there will be new leadership, a host of new faces and some very familiar problems.

It’s the first legislative session with new Gov. Tina Kotek in the governor’s office rather than leading the state House. For the first time since 2003, the Senate will have a new president in Democrat Rob Wagner, of Lake Oswego. In the House, Dan Rayfield, from Corvallis, will start his first full term as Speaker. And nearly one-third of lawmakers will be freshmen.

But most of the pressing agenda items are long-standing ones. Atop the list: the state’s ongoing housing crisis.

Kotek, who took office last week, has declared a homelessness state of emergency and called for an increase in the production of new housing units. She’s also asked the Legislature to move swiftly to approve $130 million to help more than 1,000 Oregonians

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