An editorial published Thursday by local newspaper Street Roots has upped the ante on Portland Mayor Charlie Hales' Wednesday declaration of a housing emergency, calling for an annual $20 million investment by both the city and Multnomah County to fund homeless services and build new affordable housing.
"Being able to respond to the current housing crisis will take a menu of options," writes Street Roots' executive director Israel Bayer, "including new regulations, incentives for building affordable housing and a large ongoing investment in permanent housing."
The editorial's 16-point list of priorities includes a one-year suspension of no-cause evictions and challenges regional government Metro to convene a task force comprised of the region's mayors "to tackle the problem and encourage housing investments in neighboring cities and towns."
"I accept your challenge, Israel Bayer," Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said Thursday in a Facebook post.
What Street Roots, Hales nor Kafoury have yet to lay out is where the money for this regional effort would come from.
A press release announcing Hales' crisis declaration did not say how much his plan would cost or how it would be funded, though it did say it would be paired with his proposed demolition tax.
The Street Roots editorial offers several funding ideas:
- A demolition tax to support housing and neighborhood preservation
- A fee on short-term rentals such as Airbnb to support rent assistance and eviction prevention
- Require developer impact fees with every new development of market rate housing
- Reallocate resources for the criminal justice system directly into housing
It doesn't estimate how much money those proposals might raise.
Figuring out who pays isn't just a problem in Portland.
City councilors in Los Angeles announced earlier this week that they would be devoting $100 million to their city's housing crisis, but, as the Los Angeles Times reports, "[City] Council members haven't identified the sources for all of the money or how it would be used."