Official says WashCo would receive $184.3 million if affordable housing bond passes
Just how Metro's proposed $652.8 million general obligation bond for region-wide housing would benefit Washington County was the topic of discussion of a workshop before the Tualatin City Council Monday night.
If the Nov. 6 measure is passed by residents in three counties, it could provide affordable housing for between 7,500 to 12,000 people or build up to 3,900 new affordable housing units, officials say.
Affordable housing is defined as households that pay no more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing.
Komi Kalevor, director of the Washington County Housing Authority, told council members that bond approval would mean $184.3 million for Washington County, money that would provide for an estimated 1,600 units to serve households at or below 30 percent of the area medium income, which is $17,100 for an individual and $24,420 for a household of four.
"Our goal for Washington County would be 1,435 units," said Kalevor.
Currently, there are 1,818 affordable housing and public housing units in Washington County with 384 additional units planned, he said.
The affordable housing measure includes two plans, one to vote for the measure and one for a constitutional amendment that would allow private companies to partner with governments to build bond-funded affordable housing projects.
"It is a big, bold move on Metro's part," Kalevor said of placing the measure on the ballot.
Cost to residents would be 24 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which comes out to about $60 per year for an average home with an assessed value of $250,000.
Kalevor said those who don't want the measure approved could be doing so for several reasons including a perception that Metro is overreaching its intended purpose and that the bond is costly.
Currently, the county isn't actively looking at property in Tualatin to construct affordable housing. However, last week ground was broken in Hillsboro on 100 new affordable housing units at 185th Avenue and Baseline Road.
In response to a question by Mayor Lou Ogden about how many homeless residents there are in the county and how many would be served by passage of the bond, Kalevor said current statistics show that there are some 600 individuals who are literally homeless, noting that homelessness could be expanded in broader categories such as those who "couch surf" with no permanent address and those in other situations. Kalevor pointed out that the vote would in no way result in homeless residents disappearing.
No official vote or decision can be made in a work session.
In other council news:
• The city heard from Tri Met officials regarding the expansion of Line 96 between Tualatin and downtown Portland. As of Sept. 2, the line runs every 30 minutes mid-day as well as provides rush hour service. Plans are also to expand service Tualatin shuttle service on Line 76 next year as well.
Mayor Lou Ogden also told Tri-Met officials that he would like to see if the agency can get more riders on the WES commuter train, noting he doesn't believe it's a matter of need, rather an issue of meeting the needs of its riders. Tri-Met officials told Ogden that the problem is they don't own the right of way and have a limited window of when they can use the rail tracks.
• Heard a report highlighting the fact the first project of a $20 million general obligation bond passed by Tualatin voters in May to provide relief for congested streets and provide neighborhoods is completed.
Known as the Tualatin Moving Forward project, new buffered bike lanes which run the length of 115th Avenue, have been installed as well as a new crosswalk at the end of 115th Avenue and Hazelbrook Road. "This is my street and I got to watch it all happen," said Joelle Davis. A celebration is planned this Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. on 115th Avenue It will include a bike ride in the new lanes along with bike safety information and treats.
• Unanimously passed a resolution of support regarding the Southwest Corridor light rail locally preferred route, discussing what the next steps will be. While supportive of the route, the council has continually stressed it wants to make sure a planned Park and Ride lot won't displace the current Village Inn restaurant.