November 30, 2021

Council remembers Norton Cabell, seeks to preserve affordable housing

With an out-of-town developer poised to displace a low-income community, the City will look at its options.

With an out-of-town developer poised to displace a low-income community, the City will look at its options.

This week the Council asked staff, how can the City of Eugene help residents of Lakewood Park?

[00:00:08] Councilor Greg Evans: I just want to talk a little bit about one of the issues that’s happening in my neighborhood that’s affecting affordable housing. Lakewood Park, which been a mobile home park for many, many years has been purchased by an out-of-state developer. That developer plans to construct higher price units on that land and basically displace the seniors, the people who are other abled who live in that park with no place to go, Just to me, that’s totally unacceptable. If we have areas if we have domiciles that are lower income and can be accommodated for people who have income levels in that range below at, or below the poverty line, we need to protect those people.

And we need to protect the places that they live and to be able to know who’s buying what in our community. And right now we don’t have the structural policy apparatus to even know who’s built by what, and for what purposes, even though it might be zoned properly.

So. That’s my story tonight. I’m sticking to that. And I plan to put out a work session and do a little homework on what some of the other cities around the country are doing about situations like this, because we can’t have this going on when we are trying to build more affordable housing and housing that is affordable is going away.

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[00:01:54] Mayor Lucy Vinis: Thank you. I, uh, just to start off will second Councilor Evans’ comments. I did go out to Lakewood Park on Saturday. And I agree that it’s a very alarming situation of senior citizens in affordable housing that are sort of being pressured into a situation in which they might lose that housing, and it just adds to our homelessness crisis and the potential. And I have reached out to staff and so Councilor Evans that you and I can talk about follow-ups because I do think it’s something that we should look at: what can we do or what we want the state to do? What is our option?

Second, I will just mention that I serve on the poverty and homelessness board and there’s a subcommittee, the shelter stakeholder committee. And we had a conversation about where we were with, with the temporary sites and the challenges we’re facing and uh, Tod Schneider at Community Supported Shelters made the comment that his organization has a hard time filling to capacity because the mental health and addiction needs of the people staying there are so profound that it requires very significant staffing in order to support those folks. And so the policy opportunity is greater investment at the state level in mental health and addiction. And that’s not on the city’s budget to address that, but it is something that we should be advocating for with the county and with the state and with our colleagues.

And finally, we did lose a champion for people who are struggling with housing, unable to afford their housing, in Norton Cabell, who died. He was a champion for affordable housing. He served for over 20 years on Housing Policy Board. He was instrumental in advising us on the construction excise tax and how that could be used to support our housing trust fund. He’s been an advocate , for housing and we have lost him. And I think that in his honor, we carry on this work to help people stabilize their housing and, um, and his legacy should be our legacy. Uh, thank you.

[00:03:52] John Q : The City will consider better reporting to track and preserve affordable housing.

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