Troutdale to address affordable housing issues
Troutdale is considered a rent-burdened community because more than 31 percent of renters in the city spend 50 percent or more of their income on rent.
Following a state-mandated community meeting in December 2018, city staff members determined the city should revamp its Housing Needs Analysis (HNA), said Chris Damgen, Troutdale community development director.
Oregon House Bill 4006 requires rent-burdened cities with a population of more than 10,000 to host a yearly community meeting to discuss high rent causes. Along with HB 4006, more proposed state legislation is aimed at addressing housing issues.
"The need to update our Housing Needs Analysis (HNA) is staring at us whether we like it or not," Damgen said.
Proposed state legislation includes establishing statewide rent control. Another proposed law would effectively eliminate single-family zoning requirements for cities with populations of more than 10,000.
For Troutdale, re-examining its HNA will provide an up-to-date snapshot on how to prepare for upcoming legislative issues. It will also provide information about current challenges regarding housing availability and affordability.
Troutdale is working with economic Portland consulting firm ECONorthwest to help conduct the HNA update. The firm recommended the city create a committee comprised of the city's Planning Commissioners and up to six voting members from housing experts.
"So you have that core backing from the land-use board," Damgen said. "You add the expertise from housing and you really have a dynamite group to advise staff and the consultant through the project."
The new committee could provide a way for the city to stay ahead of any upcoming state legislation, said Troutdale Mayor Casey Ryan.
"We're kind of cutting-edge on this because we're going to be ahead before the state tells us we're going to have to do this," he noted.
Planning Commissioners Tanney Staffenson and Shirley Prickett asked the City Council to approve adding the outside committee members to the Planning Commission core.
"If you don't plan your community, somebody else is going to do it for you, and they may not do it quite they way you want," Staffenson said.
The Troutdale City Council unanimously approved the new committee at the City Council's Tuesday, Feb. 12, meeting.
The new housing committee will meet when the planning commission meets. The city is recruiting members to serve on the new board as well.
The additional members will not be required to live in Troutdale.
Councilor David Ripma expressed concern that any housing expert serving on the committee who doesn't live in Troutdale may promote housing growth options that don't benefit the city.
Councilor Randy Lauer countered, saying the council has trust in the city's Planning Commissioners who would maintain a majority on the housing board, and any decision would need City Council approval anyway.
"It's the Planning Commission that we trust with the care of Troutdale," Lauer said. "And the experts (are) just another voice to help to guide them and bring a decision to council."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.