I will preface this letter by saying that I have no immediate plans to build a home or rental property within Tillamook County. I will also say that I’m about as liberal as they come and I believe strongly in creating solutions that lead to safe and happy lives for all. And, by “all,” I mean ALL; not just poor people, not just workers, not just current residents of Tillamook County, not just people that have been here x number of years, and not just people that were born here. By “all” I mean anyone that chooses to live or create value in this community.
Referendum 29-152 is being promoted as providing “Workforce Housing.” I believe this is false advertising. I heard nothing about this referendum until about a week ago when a mass of brochures, lawn signs, and FB support posts hit all at once. It appeared to be a coordinated effort set to hit shortly before the election, offer little substance, and a false promise of providing housing.
The referendum is flawed on a number of levels, and anyone that takes the time to read it will spot them quickly. A tax on building or improvements is counter intuitive to progress. A tax is an obstacle that will add to the burden of building within Tillamook County. There are already numerous taxes and permit fees and a very slow system for builders to contend with. The path to more housing is clearing the way via incentives, tax breaks, low priced or free county land or property, etc. for builders, rehabbers, and developers. Worse, this tax is to create a government employee position to “help” builders. If an individual wants to build here, they will. They don’t need help.
In reality, this referendum is nothing more than a “pass the buck” solution that allows leaders to say “look at what we did.” There are no accountability standards, no timeline, no promised number of homes created, discovered, or built, no promised number of people being housed, and ultimately, no actual solution, just a lone government employee “trying.”
This non-solution solution will provide a good three year period of “don’t talk to me, we have this person with no power that you can talk to.” That is not what Tillamook County needs. There are families living in the forests. There are people begging for any opportunity to find a home. There are people giving up and leaving. There are human beings with IMMEDIATE needs that need help now, not a maybe three years from now.
I encourage all of my fellow Tillamook voters to hold our representatives to the task. Don’t let them pass the problem along under the banner of false hope. Let’s find a REAL solution. Please VOTE NO on Referendum 29-152.