Oregon GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Knute Buehler Opposes the Metro Housing Bond

Buehler wants to end the state's homelessness problem in five years but not this way.

(Sam Gehrke)

Rep. Knute Buehler, the Republican candidate for governor, made a pledge Monday to end homelessness in Oregon in five years.

One method to reduce homelessness he doesn't support: the Metro housing bond.

Regional planning agency Metro has put a $652.8 million bond on the ballot that they say will produce at least 2,400 affordable housing units.

"Knute is not a resident of Portland, so he doesn't get to vote on the measure," Buehler spokeswoman Monica Wroblewski tells WW.

"However, if he could, he would vote no. He believes that direct assistance for needy families to help them transition and stay in housing is a better option than increasing property taxes and driving up the cost of housing."

All voters across the metro region will vote on the bond in November; Buehler lives in Bend.

That's a controversial position to take—at least in Portland, where even the often-conservative Portland Business Alliance, a group often critical of the city and state's approach to housing and homelessness, has endorsed the bond. In Washington County, Republicans are mounting a campaign against the bond measure.

Gov. Kate Brown, who is running for reelection against Buehler, also supports the bond.

"The Governor supports Metro's affordable housing bond and the constitutional amendment that would make housing projects more efficient by allowing public bonds to be coupled with private dollars," says Brown spokesman Christian Gaston.

"This is exactly the kind of progress we need to be making to address our statewide housing crisis."

Buehler does support the change to the constitution that is also on the November ballot—which could stretch public housing dollars further by allowing those public dollars to be matched with private money.

"This is a technical, but important change that will allow governments to leverage private funds to create more affordable housing," says Wroblewski.

It's not clear where those public funds would come from if not housing bonds.

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