A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Land division for 80 townhomes approved

Written May 10th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

Here’s the tentative land division plat for 80 townhouses at 3118 Gibson Hill Road N.W.

The City of Albany’s Community Development Department today approved a tentative land division for 80 townhomes in North Albany. The 7.4-acre site was originally planned for 22 single-family houses.

The decision was expected, even though it goes against the underlying zoning of the property, which sets 10,000 feet as the minimum size of a lot. The acreage is south of Gibson Hill Road at 3118 Gibson Hill N.W., and the 80 home sites now average 2,500 sqare feet.

City officials say they have no choice but to approve the greater density under so-called “middle housing” laws the majority of legislators passed and then-Gov. Kate Brown signed in 2019 and 2021.

If anyone with “standing” appeals the decision, it will go not to the planning commission or city council but to a referee to be appointed to hear the case. “Standing” means someone must have filed a comment with the city on this project.

At the Riverwood Crossing development off Gibson Hill, the switch to a “midde housing” land division four times as dense as the original subdivision, with little notice and no public hearings, caused some commotion among North Albany residents. People in the area have long been concerned about the steady growth in traffic without anybody building new main roads, let alone a bridge across the Willamette River.

The city has scheduled a public “development information session” to let people learn about the new state laws on middle housing. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at the Riverfront Community Center, the former senior center next to Monteith Riverpark on Water Avenue.

In his weekly message to the city council last week, City Manager Peter Troedsson wrote:

“The purpose of the event is to define ‘middle housing’ and describe what is allowed and what is not allowed, as well as the different processes for land use applications and reviews.  The presentation will leave plenty of time for Q & A.  This session is planned partly in response to concerns raised by North Albany residents, but also as a means of making as many residents as possible aware of this change in the law.”

Riverwood Crossing won’t be the last middle housing project in North Albany or elsewhere in the city.

The planning division Friday also approved a site plan for cutting down 27 trees for a cluster development of eight buildings on one acre at 914 North Albany Road N.W. The property is on the west side of North Albany Road, on the corner of Jones Avenue.

Clusters are among the types of middle housing specifically encouraged by Oregon’s new land use laws. (hh)

I took this shot of the 80 new mailboxes at Riverwood Crossing on April 8. The city approved the middle housing land division today, May 10.




33 responses to “Land division for 80 townhomes approved”

  1. TLH-ALB1 says:

    Well…at least we know how the city council feels about its citizens and their quality of living.

  2. Dennis says:

    We have the best polotitians money can buy.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      We definitely need the best money to buy our polotitians!!!!!!!

      Let’s go get them NOW!!!

  3. Peggy Jones says:

    So sad the people who bought their homes in an area that was supposed to be only single family homes are now going to get so many more people and traffic their area can’t handle

    • JIMMY says:

      Oh no we simply cannot let other people infringe upon our huge Lots and single family homes correct hey it’s not Father Knows Best any longer good God that was 1960 grow up

  4. Hartman says:

    Were the North Albanians as “concerned” about bridge traffic when they each moved to North Albany. Sounds like a bunch of NIMBY.

  5. Will says:

    Wow, really incredible news, Albany needs so much more of this kind of project I hope it doesn’t take a decade to get built. North Albany itself also needs some more development so it isn’t just a sprawling suburb with a single shopping center, that alone would cut traffic over the bridge and improve the lives of people there.

  6. Peg Richner says:

    I recommend:

    “Build, Baby, Build; The Science and Ethics of Housing Regulation,” by

    Bryan Caplan (author) and Ady Branzei (illustrator)

    Caplan is an Economics professor at George Mason University. The book (in illustrated format) discusses the pros and cons of housing regulation, pointing out that housing density has its good points.

  7. DeeDee Biegel says:

    Well now the city needs to reduce the 45 mph speed on Gibson Hill Rd. With that many more vehicles leaving/entering the development onto Gibson Hill Rd, 45 mph is way to fast. I live about a mile west of the development and go to Gibson Hill Park frequently. I already think the 45 mph is too fast. Cars won’t even have time to reach the 45 mph after leaving the Crocker Lane stop light going to the new development.

  8. Richard Vannice says:

    my question is when did the city issue the permits and were those permits for 22 sites?
    If the permits were for 22 sites and the permits were issued before the change allowing “Middle Housing” which was signed into law after the infrastructure was in place something is drastically wrong with our system
    I have believed and was taught, that laws cannot be enacted which are retroactive. This seems to me to be a “retroactive” law and once again our legislators have created a monster,

    • Deb says:

      Good question. What’s the answer? And why do we have to add to North Albany and not add to Corvallis?

      • hj.anony1 says:

        Slow connection?

        No argument, building out NA inch by inch gets closer to Corvallis.


  9. Ivan says:

    Build infrastructure, make sure there are shopping malls around, check local school capacity, build a new road, reduce speed limits, build sidewalks, add public transportation, and then build affordable housing. Otherwise what you’re building is ghetto.

    • L says:

      Exactly! Truly disgusted by the way they are handling this.

    • carolyn says:

      a GHETTO? People who need affordable housing like this project are our neighbors and friends. To classify this development in this manner runs the risk of appearing to be a dog whistle – surely that isn’t what you are trying to convey…..

      • Michael says:

        HA! You really believe this will be affordable housing? Trust me this development will mirror the already inflated home values of North Albany. We already pay too much in property taxes, nearly 7k per year.This is Benton County’s way of generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional tax income, The only thing residents will be given are congested roads and short tempers. I’m betting very little of the new taxes will benefit North Albany and will instead filter over to Corvallis. These will be far from affordable.

        • Susan Kesti says:

          Don’t forget the impact on medical care!
          Lebanon urgent care is so backed up without access to primary care doctors. They are referring most to hospital E.R., who is unable to handle the surge. Better hope you all are able to get medical/fire/police/ambulance, etc when you need it…

      • John says:

        At risk of being a dog whistle? lol did you forget where you live? No one needs a whistle. Most are on the same page

  10. chris j says:

    Money making monsters make the rules when it applies to them and in a city that is full of monster mongers. Honest folk don’t have a chance when there is money backing the ones making the rules as they go. Citizens need to hold their ground and not just accept that the rules change depending on who you are.

    • carolyn says:

      If you don’t like the decisions your City is making regarding land use, I respectfully suggest that you consider following the laws regarding housing that have been and will be passed by the State Legislature, and contact your local representative. The State has put laws in place that will make projects such as this on more the norm than the exception, and more is coming in the upcoming long session. Don’t like it? Commenting on a webpage comment section won’t change that.

      • Cris says:

        False info, dear. The state has NEVER mandated that multi-family units be built in place of single family. That’s what so many Conservatives get wrong and so many city leaders lie and hide behind, when blaming the state. The state merely PERMITTED that multi-family units CAN be built. It never said they had to be. It is our cowardly, greedy city leaders who are approving these developments and then pretending that their hands are tied.

        • Hasso Hering says:

          Wrong answer. Nobody, least of all “many conservatives,” ever claimed that the state requires multi-family units to be built. But the state mandate allowing them means local government is limited in regulating them.

        • chris j says:

          Cris, you are right but no one wants to hear the losers in these deals. You can’t be a sore loser if you are never allowed to play in the game. The city won’t approve anything they don’t want to happen.

  11. kz says:

    Gibson Hill road speed should absolutely we reduced to let’s say 35mbh. This today even without the new construction done.

    As for housing, can’t do much about land owners selling unused land to construction firms that build houses for those who want them. Anyone expecting pristine views of unused farmlands long term is unreasonable and wishful thinking.

    • MarK says:

      Yeah, right. If the city lowered the speed limit on Gibson Hill, they wouldn’t have justification to add more traffic/ speed cameras. They won’t pass up the chance for additional income. Just wait and see.

  12. David says:

    The City of Albany needs to prioritize a bridge between Millersburg and N. Albany! They don’t want to consider the voices of the people in the community so they need to do the next best thing and justify their choice by making it easier to move throughout this city!

  13. John says:

    Traffic on Gibson Hill is bad enough as it is. I understand the need for more housing, and there is obviously much demand in this area, but infrastructure needs to be developed alongside. A bridge to Millersburg/I-5 would be a boon as well, especially needed if we’re going to continue to see higher density housing in this area. Will Albany spend the money to support these kind of expansions in North Albany?

  14. John says:

    We moved to N. Albany to get away from this exact type of condition. Build this crap down in the flats with the rest of the apartments. We don’t want it here.

  15. Richard Vannice says:

    How would a bridge from the Millersburg area help the present situation? Would you drive from the southern parts of Albany to Millersburg to use such a bridge then the additional distance back to Corvallis?
    It seems like a no win situation to me and another bridge in Albany wont lessen the congestion.
    As to people moving into North Albany and then complaining about the traffic and trains. I don’t think that this is given any thought when one is looking at a new home that meets their needs and the realtor/developer sure isn’t going to mention this down side

  16. chris j says:

    Ms. carolyn, at the risk of being a “dog whistle” your comment about this being “affordable housing” was worth a gigglefart.


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