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?
For non conventional structures you may need engineering to obtain a permit. You'll have to check what they will and will not do.
You can view the 2008 Oregon Residential Code online at
It's view only, no printing. You might be able to get it all to download if you use Firefox and have the DownThemAll plugin. It has worked for me before.
OR has lots of info online.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.