By Laura Swanson
“Tillamook County has a housing crisis,” echoed dozens of community members in a video debuted by Tillamook County Community Development Director Sarah Absher on Tuesday October 29th as over 70 community leaders gathered at Tillamook Bay Community College. The 2016 Housing Study laid out the problems, and provided some ideas for solutions, in particular, the need for a Housing Coordinator. Jake Davis, Tillamook County’s new Housing Coordinator was introduced and welcomed with a warm round of applause. “This was a huge piece toward making progress on Tillamook’s housing crisis,” explained Absher. “Now we have someone dedicated to housing issues.”
Hitting the ground running, members of the County Housing Commission explored multiple strategies at the summit at round-table discussions that included representatives from cities, larger employers, school districts, developers, contractors and other organizations involved with housing issues. “This was an opportunity for us to explore these strategies being considered,” said Absher. “This is bigger than any one entity and any strategies implemented will require collaboration to get things done. By working together, we can find a path forward, or multiple paths.”
The county-wide Housing Needs Analysis (HNA) is near completion, and the strategic planning portion of the Housing Commission’s work has begun. “Essentially, the HNA tells us what we need to meet housing demands now and in the future, and makes some recommendations for moving forward,” added Absher. “We still have to figure out how to meet these housing needs now, and into the future. And it’s not just one type of housing. Tillamook County’s needs are across the board – all types of housing are needed.”
The five strategies the summit attendees discussed included Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs); freeze on issuing of Short Term Rental Permits (county); Short Term Rental Nightly Lodging Fee; Construction Excise Tax program; and Property Tax Exemption Program. According to Absher and others that attended the summit, “The conversations were outstanding! We’ve been ‘talking’ about this for years, and this felt like moving past just talking about housing with concrete programs that can actually provide housing in the near future.”
The Housing Commission in coordination with the Tillamook County Housing Coordinator, and Community Development will assist in the development of a plan that identifies strategies and solutions to help meet housing demands now and in the future. The summit was an opportunity to receive input from community leaders and elected officials when the strategic plan is in its early stages. Additional townhall meetings will be part of the plan process and, those public meetings will take place in various regions of the County.
The Tillamook County Housing Commission will continue to work through the development of the countywide Housing Needs Analysis and explore strategies to help address the housing crisis. We want to keep hearing from you! If you would like to be included on emails for Tillamook County Housing Commission meeting reminders and updates, please email Jake Davis, Tillamook County Housing Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tillamook County Housing Commission meets regularly the first Thursday of the month at the Port of Tillamook Bay Conference Center, 4000 Blimp Boulevard, from 9:00am to 11:00am. The next meeting is this coming Thursday, November 7th. Community partners and the public are encouraged to attend these meetings.
Here is the link to the Housing Crisis video:
https://tctv.viebit.com/player.php?hash=GakxFyap5gpO&fbclid=IwAR1MaPzA-sHPGDCtjYHoJDV3bVL-9th9T3V8nShbq_H7Os1k6CxOat1-W-k. The video is also now playing on Channel 4.