In March, advisory groups assisting Metro with drafting a framework for a possible regional housing bond measure reviewed a range of potential investment scenarios that weighed the likely effects of different levels of affordability, home sizes and other factors. At an April 16 stakeholder advisory table meeting, Metro staff shared a new round of scenarios that had been refined based on feedback from the groups.
“In particular, we revised some of the scenarios to reflect the directives from our stakeholders that housing bond investments should promote racial equity, serve those most in need, and serve as many people as possible,” said Metro regional affairs manager Jes Larson.
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In addition to the refined scenarios, the stakeholder table had a first look at a potential methodology for deciding how to distribute homes created by the measure across the region. The concept included a blend of population, revenue generation and several possible measures of housing need.
The concept was presented in order to spark discussion among the group -- and it did. Several group members said they would prefer a simpler approach. These members noted that the need for affordable homes is widespread, and they suggested a simpler distribution approach would be easier for the public to understand.
“My simple thought is, I would do it purely based on revenue,” said Milwaukie mayor Mark Gamba.
The stakeholder advisory table members also discussed how their overarching values, particularly racial equity, might be reflected in a distribution methodology.
One participant suggested, “If racial equity is one of our leading values, then by looking at [how communities of color are over-represented among the lowest income renter households], we might ask the question: how would the bond house the most people in the gap?”
The housing bond stakeholder advisory table will meet again on May 2 to review a draft of a framework for the measure. In late May, Metro chief operating officer Martha Bennett will discuss a final recommendation with the group before presenting it to the Metro Council. The Council is expected to decide on the referral of a housing bond measure on June 7.