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Metro may vote on Affordable Housing Bond next week

Washington County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Metro could vote as early as next week to put a half a billion dollar Affordable Housing Bond on this November’s ballot. 

The bond was a hot topic with Westside Mayors at a breakfast on Thursday with the Westside Economic Alliance. 

In Forest Grove, Mayor Peter Truax said he’d support the affordable housing bond because he says in Forest Grove, vacancy rates for apartments is 1 to 1.5% and for single family homes, it’s less than 1%.

“So there’s a need to find a place for people to live. We need to get the land stock, we need to get the buildings built and we need to get people in homes that are suitable,” Mayor Truax said. 

Others were less enthused about the bond, like outgoing Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden. He said simply throwing more money at affordable housing won’t solve the problem. He also said when it comes to affordable housing, more should be done to get people pathways to better paying jobs so they can afford more.

“So what we really need is to get people the tools to be able to afford their own housing and that means providing people a safe base in the meantime, but making sure they have the opportunity, they have the skills, to earn the incomes so they can afford housing. That’s one thing and equally important is we need to bring the cost of housing down,” Ogden said. 

Ogden said easing housing costs could happen with relaxed zoning, more land availability and allowing builders to build affordable housing further out of town where land is cheaper. 

A Metro spokesman said the Metro council could vote to refer the affordable housing bond to voters as soon as its meeting June 7. 

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