The Issues

Photo by: Matt Christensen

The prosperity of Union County depends on having an affordable and diverse mix of homes available in all communities.

Northeast Oregon is an area rich in history and resources, the biggest of which is our people. But how do we keep our workforce here, and how do we attract new skilled workers to meet demand? Additional housing is essential in keeping our people from leaving to pursue better opportunities and to draw further people to our community. We must make sure that affordable homes are available for families to buy and rent and to create opportunities where they live and work.

Photo by: Matt Christensen

The market is easier to navigate for middle and upper income households, but is much more challenging for those families with lower incomes.

There are good solutions for this.

The cost of housing has risen much faster than the wages of working families. For many, even two full-time wage earners struggle to get by.

In the meantime, the cost of housing has skyrocketed for many reasons. The cost of building new homes and preserving or renovating existing homes has soared due to the rising costs of land, materials and labor.

 

Government regulations on safety and consumer protection have added to the cost too—although some of them can be streamlined.

 

There are good private-public solutions that can help create a marketplace that works for everyone. And fixing the marketplace for housing builds the foundation for strong communities and neighborhoods for all.

Photo by: Matt Christensen

There are a number of ways that are proving to be effective in improving the housing marketplace of other areas...

  • REGULATORY REFORM: Eliminate unnecessary regulations, improve efficiency of government departments and cut red tape. In short, make housing more affordable by removing roadblocks that increase production costs.

  • INNOVATION: Encourage the creation of new building technologies, new financing methods, new ways to use logistics expertise and new ways to train and deploy construction and building trade talent.

  • PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RESOURCES: Additional spending by government, philanthropy and the private sector. New investments are needed, but history has shown that investments in housing – by government, private sector “impact investors,” foundations and others – have created great returns in economic growth and a healthier, well-educated population. Housing availability is Oregon's competitive edge.