Updated: Jun 8, 2022
Dear Shanon, Why don’t we have more available affordable housing?
One of the greatest challenges we are facing as a community is addressing the needs of our changing demographic of singles, professionals, college students, seniors, and the like, who are needller dwellings. A family of two may not need a three or four Pedro four-bedroom quarter-acre, which most houses in Medford are zoned for. These large homes may be too much space for a growing population of people who need smaller and more manageable accommodations.
According to the Medford Chamber of Commerce, growth trends indicate that in 2016 we had a population of 216,527 in Jackson County and 79,805 specifically in Medford.* As we continue to grow and our community becomes a more dense population, we must address the lack of available and affordable housing.
The latest Jackson County residential statistics indicate sale prices on housing are up 9.5% in Jackson County and Medford: +4.8% NW, +1.7% West, +6.2% SW, and +10.6% in East Medford over last year.** In addition, housing rentals per month for a three-bedroom apartment typically cost $600-$950, and for a three-bedroom house $900-$1500.
I recently spoke with City council member Kevin Stine (who recently announced his candidacy for Oregon State Senate), who agreed that “If we had 10,000 more homes, it would likely put us in a much better position.” Zoning through the UGB (Urban Growth Boundary) is going through the last approval since its last update in 1993. Kevin Stine noted that the UGB only allows for so much zoning within specifically allocated areas. SB100 is a land use law from 1973 that still operates today with “conservation” as the idea behind it, “So people wouldn’t build everything everywhere and to keep scenic beauty and farmland. We are stuck with a constrained land with a 20-year supply around us. The concept is fine, but living within the constrained land supply, we suffer the consequences of lack of housing, especially low-income housing.”
In the interim, the city is focused on addressing blighted and vacant homes. The city can sometimes receive over 100 calls for service/year on some homes. These are homes that are often in dilapidated states, out of code, or have criminal activity. The receivership program is a process in which property owners will receive a notice if they violate the code. Most property owners voluntarily comply, but for others, the City council can name a receiver, such as a Habitat for Humanity, ACCESS, or other non-profit organizations to rehabilitate the home. The City doesn’t want to have to do it with any homes and has not yet, but it is a tool that can be used that can get homes back on the market.
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Real Estate Broker, Licensed in the state of Oregon
Published October 18, 2016
Shanon holds an MBA in International Business, loves writing in her “At Home with Shanon” column that has been delivered to 47,000+ homes in Medford since 2014, has appeared on the Real Estate Radio Show, and was also featured on A&E TV network’s Real Estate Reality TV show.