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November 2013 Oregon Update

Oregon Update

Jon-ChandlerNovember 2013

News from the State

Jon Chandler


These charts are included in the most recent state revenue forecast from the state economist:

Click chart to enlarge.



Elsewhere in the same forecast, the economist’s office says:

Permits for new construction in Oregon are currently growing at double-digit rates for both single family and multi-family projects, and home prices in all of the metropolitan areas in the state are increasing above the rate of inflation on a year-over-year basis according to the FHFA estimates for the second quarter. Bend is once again the leader in the housing market with 16 percent appreciation, however prices in Central Oregon still remain 36 percent
below peak levels, or the same as in 2004.

Seeing increases in the number of loggers and production workers is encouraging, with construction workers now being added as activity increases. New home construction has now rebounded to the point where builders need to hire additional workers and the average hours worked in the industry has effectively returned to pre-recession levels.

This is all very positive and a very welcome change from the situation even a year ago.

In other OHBA news:

  • We just completed a special legislative session, and we were involved in the passage of significant reforms to Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), as well as a tax package that reduced tax rates on pass-through entities (LLCs, S-Corps, Partnerships) in exchange for increased taxes on C-Corps and subjecting some personal deductions to means testing. The mortgage interest rate deduction was NOT affected, nor was any sort of gross receipts tax used – so between the tax break for many of our members and the bad stuff that was not included, we feel pretty good about the outcome.
  • Electioneering for the 2014 legislature is already under way, where once again attention will be focused on a handful of House and Senate seats. The Democrats are in control of pretty much everything there is to be in control of in Oregon, so we anticipate a hard battle to get the Republicans in control of at least one chamber. Given Oregon’s legislative districts and general state political leanings, this will be a challenge…but so is surviving in a one-party system.

Green Building

Michael Freels

In October, I wrote about installing sill sealer along the top and bottom plates of walls to better air seal a home.  This is by no means the only way to air seal.  However, Energy Trust of Oregon is now offering a cash incentive to subcontractors who use this method on non EPS homes within their territory.
Kurt Bolser of Pickett Mountain Construction, in Grants Pass, offered his own experiences and success with sealing up his homes using this method:

I tried the sill sealer but was not impressed with how it installed.  It was difficult to maintain the vertical leg of the sill seal while installing the sheetrock on the ceiling. We installed the sill seal folded in half linearly with the vertical leg covering the interface between the top two plates and a horizontal leg above the ceiling sheetrock.  My goal was to use the sill seal to not only seal the joint between the top plates but also the joint at the intersection of the wall and ceiling sheetrock.  This particular home tested at 3.0ACH50.

On our latest project, we are using ¾” ridged foam insulation on the outside of the sheathing with the joints taped and the top and bottom edges foamed.  The sheathing is the Zip system with the joints taped.  The insulation is a flash-and-fill system in 2 x 6 stud wall.   The attic insulation will be R-60 blown-in fiberglass. I have been thinking about using a 6 mil visqueen vapor barrier on the ceiling.  As tight as the walls are, it seems to me that depending on the sheetrock to provide a vapor barrier at the lid is not sufficient.  We will lap the visqueen down onto the face of the top plates of the walls and seal it to the top plates with a bead of acoustical caulking between the visqueen and the top plates along the joint between the two plates.  The acoustical caulk will not harden and should provide a good seal once the wall sheetrock is applied. I am looking forward to an even better ACH50 result on this current home.

To manage ventilation and humidity, we are installing Panasonic WhisperGreen bath fans (3 each) with two operating continuously at 40 CFM with motion detectors to ramp up CFM when the space is occupied and the third on a switch.  In addition we are installing one each FanTech ERV interlocked with the kitchen hood exhaust but with separate supply and exhaust ducts.”

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to share your own methods or
experiences with other builders or subcontractors.


Codes Update

Howard Asch

The Oregon Building Codes Division’s (BCD) process for amending the Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC) began on October 1, 2013.  The code is updated periodically to assure it stays current with building technology and public safety needs. Proposals for changes to the code will be accepted until November 30, 2013.


Anyone can submit a code change proposal. Only changes that are minor will be considered
during this code review, such as changes to clarify current regulations, resolve conflicting information or provide for minor changes.   A code change proposal must be submitted on a form provided by BCD which can be found at

The next opportunity for major changes to the code is expected to take place in 2017.  Contact Richard Rogers at the BCD for answers to your questions about this process.






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