Oregonians across the political spectrum agree that homelessness has reached crisis levels. There is no single solution that will help to house the thousands of houseless people in the state. However, ECO’s research has already established that the underproduction of housing is one driver of the rising number of houseless folks, further estimating that 140,000 new units are needed to keep up with demand. Despite this, the majority of Oregonians are resistant to the idea of increased construction to address the issue, with only 24% in favor of ramping up home building.
Despite this resistance, the legislature is currently considering a proposal that would hold cities accountable for meeting new housing goals. Madeline Baron, an ECO project manager who specializes in affordable housing, told the The Oregonian that setting policies at the state level will force local governments to adhere to state requirements, even in the face of local pushback.
While some may be opposed to increased construction in their communities, Madeline stresses that the issue is nuanced. Where and how housing is built can elicit different opinions from the public, and there will still be plenty of room for local control, design review, and community input. But Madeline reminds us (as quoted in the Oregonian): “We can’t let [local issues] grind production to a halt or make production so challenging that it ends up dying, because we’ve seen the consequences of that.”
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