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Metro regional government gathering community feedback about $516M measure

Fairview city councilors are voicing strong objections to a proposed $516 million Metro bond measure for affordable housing.

Following a presentation from Metro regional government representatives regarding the proposed measure, Fairview councilors took issue with the bond citing concerns that adding a tax would create the most burden on lower-income citizens for whom the bond is supposed to help.

The council met on Thursday, May 17, at Fairview City Hall.

Other than Councilor Lisa Barton Mullins, who said she needs more time to think about the issue, all councilors at the meeting aired their concerns.

Councilors Brian Cooper and Keith Kudrna were absent.

Fairview Councilor Mike Weatherby expressed the strongest opposition.

"It bothers me to tax people who are impoverished," he said. "I grew up poor. I plead with you to find another way of dealing with this."

City Councilor Cathi Forsythe agreed, saying she doesn't consider a bond as a great solution, but noted that there aren't many options to deal with the housing issue.

She added that there is going to come a time when Oregon will have to enact a sales tax.

About the bond

In April, Metro proposed the housing bond, which could appear on the November 2018 ballot.

Metro Director of Government Affairs Andy Shaw and Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick are visiting city councils in the area to present and receive input about the issue.

The proposed bond, which is still being crafted by Metro, could create a system allowing the state to work to distribute funds to local governments. The ideea would be for local governement to create mixed-income and affordable housing with private businesses and non-profits.

The state Constitution bans such partnerships, meaning a constitutional amendment would need to be passed along with the bond that eases those spending restrictions, Shaw explained.

The goal of the amendment and bond is to create housing so that the people living in the developments would not spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing.

The Metro Council is expected to vote whether to refer it to the ballot on June 7.

For more information about the proposed bond, visit https://www.oregonmetro.gov/public-projects/regional-housing-funding.

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