Everyone in Oregon should be able to access opportunity, which starts with a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home. In communities across the state, far too many of our neighbors are struggling to afford housing costs, and are forced to choose between paying rent or buying groceries.
For years, we've used general obligation bonds to build critical infrastructure, like roads and bridges and courthouses. We can also use bonds to build affordable homes in communities throughout Oregon. If voters approve a constitutional amendment in the fall, these bonds can be even more effective. Here's why: currently, the Oregon Constitution says that if bonds are used to build things (like roads and bridges and housing), they have to be built, owned and operated by the government. That makes sense when you're talking about a bridge or a courthouse, but when it comes to housing, it doesn't make as much sense. In fact, it limits public private partnerships that would allow communities to build homes faster and make the dollars go farther.
HJR 201 asks voters to make an exception for bonds used to build affordable housing. It will give communities the flexibility to build the housing that works best for them and make sure the dollars go farther. If this was approved by voters, local governments would still need to ask voters to approve bonds for affordable housing, but it would allow them to do so more effectively. This is especially important now when so many people are struggling to find an affordable place to call home. Voters will decide this question on November 6, 2018.