In this month’s Home Building News magazine, Ezra Hammer examines HBA’s ongoing work with local jurisdictions to find policy solutions that both benefit the environment and ensure housing affordability, like the City of Beaverton’s proposed Purple Pipe Ordinance. Home builders are often accused of disliking government regulation and pushing back against new ordinances and laws enacted to improve the built environment. Detractors like to paint a world where our industry is made up of hard core libertarians unwilling to admit that government can play a critical role in improving the lives of residents through regulation. While the home building industry is deeply interested in new proposals to regulate the construction of housing, this sort of black and white caricature is far from the truth. In actuality, our members fall everywhere on the political spectrum and – like true Oregonians – they care deeply about the environment and ensuring that we are able to sustain and enhance our state’s wondrous natural beauty. In fact, many of our members work in the vanguard of green, energy efficient, construction. We are incredibly proud to represent green builders, along with all of those who work hard to ensure that Oregonians have houses to live in. Additionally, we work with local jurisdictions throughout the region to craft policies that both benefit the environment and ensure housing affordability. Case and point, the City of Beaverton’s proposed Purple Pipe Ordinance. Beaverton has long sought to implement a robust reclaimed water system in South Cooper Mountain. The city’s unique topography and geological features enable it to build an integrated pipe network that can deliver non-potable water for irrigation purposes. If implemented, this system could help reduce the city’s dependence on potable water that requires significant transportation capacity during the dry seasons. Through the use of purple pipe water, Beaverton could reduce overall water costs, ensuring that ratepayers and builders see significant savings. At a time when water costs are regularly increasing, these savings would provide meaningful relief and help advance housing affordability. This proposal has been met with wholehearted engagement from builders who are interested in exploring how they can integrate this new system into their projects. In fact, our members are spending time and resources exploring the proposal with city staff with the goal of finding solutions to project-specific challenges. HBA is fully supportive of these efforts and notes new housing is vastly more water efficient than older stock. Studies show that homes built after 1980 are two times more efficient in water use than those built prior to these standards, mostly due to water-efficient fixtures that are required for new construction. The home building industry is heartened by Beaverton’s efforts to advance a purple pipe system and – so long as it reasonably accounts for already approved housing – will continue to support these efforts so the city can achieve its goal of building a sustainable South Cooper Mountain community. Despite the naysayers, HBA and Beaverton are proudly working hand in glove on our shared value of water efficiency. Unlike our detractors, we are committed to building a future where all families are able to secure the housing they need. Sadly, it is often those who misrepresent our values and work who push the hardest to ensure that future generations of Oregonians will be hard-pressed to find new housing. Whether advancing strict growth limits, low density requirements, or high parking standards, these “neighborhood activists” seek to push local governments to implement onerous restrictions so housing remains scarce. While HBA will always oppose against blatant NIMBY (not in my back yard) regulations, we are honest and willing partners when it comes to policies that strengthen communities and help ensure truly livable neighborhoods.