I'm hoping someone can steer me in the right direction at least. We are looking to possibly move to Southern OR sometime in the next couple of years. I don't know whether we will be able to build what we want to - an earth-bermed house, possibly earth-bag construction, in OR. I can't figure out where to find out what counties/townships are more lax, and if anyone living out there would be willing to answer some questions... (Mom, I'll talk to you too!) For instance, my Dad thinks that back when I was a kid and we were building in OR, he was told you couldn't use any of your own timber to build with. Is this still true?
posted 9 years ago
The usual problem run into when building under codes and wanting to use your own lumber is that it is not graded. If that is the case in OR it will be the structural that would need grading; lumber for siding, inside or out, does not, except for appearance grading. If you be hiring a sawyer to turn the trees into usable timber, planks or boards look for one that is able to grade and certify. If that is not possible some folks have had success in selling their timber to the sawmill/sawyer and using the proceeds to buy commercial lumber.
For non conventional structures you may need engineering to obtain a permit. You'll have to check what they will and will not do.
I can't say if there are areas that are not as diligent in following the "book". I know of a few people who have built in OR and they all had pretty stringent requirements as I recall. Maybe someone will drop by with specific county info. I know OR has a pretty strict policy on wood stove installations in new and remodel construction. Best of luck!
In Deschutes County I am aware of two earthships and several strawbale homes one even built by Habitat for Humanity. Two others that I helped with. The County you are interested in I'd check with the Community Development Department. Taxes in Deschutes are quite high, so a consideration if I were to be looking. Klamath County much more affordable as far as property prices and taxes. Definetley a difference in climate from Eastern or Western Oregon as well.
"There is enough in the world for everyones needs, but not enough for everyones greed"
Cedar, as far as I know, all Oregon counties are pretty strict about building codes and regulations. They use spotter planes to find non-compliant buildings and then order them demolished (probably also use information from neighbors). Klamath County has several straw-bale homes, and I was told that other methods of construction were possible if you had it engineered and brought them the engineer-approved plans. I know a couple of engineers, so it's possible that you might get that work done at a reasonable cost (one of them is your Uncle Bill, and the other goes to my church).
East of the mountains we definitely have winter, although it varies in severity, depending partly on were you are and at what elevation. West of the mountains usually has winter, but seldom anything very severe. The closer to the Coast, the milder the weather, for the most part.
I'm getting tired of winter, too, although the last two or three weeks have been pretty pleasant -- the snow is mostly gone here, and day-time temperatures have been going up into the forties and fifties. That's my favorite kind of weather!
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
posted 9 years ago
Kathleen Sanderson wrote: (I'm Cedar's Mom, by the way!)
Cedar, as far as I know, all Oregon counties are pretty strict about building codes and regulations. . They use spotter planes to find non-compliant buildings and then order them demolished (probably also use information from neighbors).
I tried to google this and came up with absolutely nada. Coos County is pretty gosh darn open to alternative building. The people at Cob Cottage in Coquille are fairly well known both locally and internationally for alternative building.
posted 9 years ago
Thanks for everyone's Input (and Mom!).
We are looking at four counties, Douglas, Coos, Josephine, and Curry. They seem to have the climate we are looking for and land relatively inexpensive. Because we have a pretty good budget we aren't too worried. I'm looking for 5+ acres, for less than $100K, planning to build for about the same amount.