From the mayor’s desk:

Meadow Martell

Following the profusion of bills and information coming out of Salem this legislative season can be daunting. Usually, I use the League of Oregon Cities (LOC) website to follow the ones that may have an impact on our city. Here are two things that caught my eye:
Governor Tina Kotek added two rural counties, Clatsop, and Malheur, to her homelessness state of emergency. Any rural county with at least 30 homeless households that were unsheltered and made up to 80% or more of the county’s total homeless could have applied. Malheur County had 141 unsheltered people which accounted for 83% of the county’s homeless population. These two rural counties are now eligible for $85.2 million pot for counties covered by the emergency order. The other 24 rural counties not included in the emergency declaration will have access to $27.4 million for homelessness. Although I believe Josephine County could have possibly qualified to join the emergency declaration, sadly the county chose not to apply.
State lawmakers say they’re shifting focus from triaging a homelessness emergency to building more homes. Kotek is expected to sign two bills soon, providing more than $112 million to build 700 shelter beds across the state and help 1,650 homeless Oregonians move into permanent houses within the next year. The measures also would make sweeping changes to the state’s land use system, creating the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis to authorize state agencies to set goals for how many homes each city must build. This probably will not apply to small cities.
For decades, Oregon has built fewer homes, and particularly low-income housing, needed to keep pace with a growing population. State analysts estimate at least 550,000 new homes are needed in the next 20 years to meet current and existing demands. We have all noticed that the current housing shortage has resulted in higher rent and home prices.
Did you know that only Oregon and New Jersey ban self-service gas? The main reason for this is fire safety. This may be about to change. House Bill 2426, which would allow gas stations to designate up to half of their pumps for self-service, passed 47-10. Gas stations would have to charge the same amount for self-service and full-service gas. Now the bill goes to the Senate. I wonder if they took into consideration the number of jobs that would be lost?
Have a great week!