Government: 174 Affordable Units, Home Energy Score Decision Reversed, Rayfield Grabs Speaker’s Nod, No Holiday Buses 

Paper house on cracked earth, crisis concept

The Corvallis City Council unanimously approved $500,000 in funding for a new 174-unit affordable housing project at its meeting on Monday, Nov. 21. The housing development will be located at 2910 SW 3rd St. in South Corvallis.  

“This is a historic number of affordable units that I have never seen in my career,” said Brigetta Olson, Housing and Neighborhood Services Division Manager to the council on Monday. “I have spent two decades in affordable housing, and this would bring in a lot of important units to serve our low-income individuals.”  

The funding for the project comes from the Affordable Housing Construction Excise Tax (AHCET). In November 2016, the council passed the AHCET ordinance on new residential, commercial, and industrial development.  

The total cost of the development is over $70 million and the request for $500,000 from the city is for development costs, said Olson. “The project has been primarily financed by the State of Oregon, and $6.9 million from Oregon Housing Community Services. Our $500,000 potential piece would really help with interest rates, shortage of labor, the cost of interest rates that continue to go up and up and they need this to fill that gap.”  

The 174 unit multi-family development unit mix will include 18 urban one-bedrooms, 66 one-bedrooms, 66 two-bedrooms, 24 three-bedrooms. 

“This will be a total of 288 bedrooms, likely serving well over 300 individuals. All units will be provided at a 60% Area Median Income. For point of reference, for a single person in 2022, their income must be at or below $39,960 and for a family of four, incomes must be at or below $57,060, said Olson. “These incomes change annually based on the annual median income, per Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A partnership with Linn-Benton Housing Authority has been established, which provides Union at Pacific with a property tax exemption. The rents will be low enough that they will be participating in the voucher program.” 

The proposed development is being overseen by the Annex Group, an Indiana-based multi-family housing developer, general contractor, and owner. Construction is set to begin on Dec. 8 of this year, with plans to have it completed by Dec. 1, 2024.  

Home Energy Score Ordinance: Will property owners be required to pay for a home energy inspection before putting their home on the market? Well, councilors initially voted yes back in June, but then reversed themselves a few weeks later, voting no. Then, even later, they decided to send the question to voters. And, now, as of Monday, they have reversed course again. 

Voting unanimously, the council has decided to hold off on the possibility of sending the matter to voters, and will instead keep working toward a consensus. At one point during the meeting, councilors considered implementing the ordinance, but on a 3-6 vote, the proposal failed, with only councilors Charlyn Ellis, Paul Schaffer and Gabe Shepherd supporting the proposal.  

With newly elected councilors and a new mayor assuming office in January, this ordinance will likely see more activity next year. 

Rayfield Gets Full Term Speakership Nod: Our district’s very own State House Representative Dan Rayfield has been nominated to stay on as House Speaker. The three-term Democrat was originally tapped for the position when his predecessor, Tina Kotek, resigned in an ultimately successful bid to win Oregon’s governorship.  

Transportation: The City reminds everyone that there will be no bus service on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, and that Friday will be a game day at OSU, which means some changes to bus services for the day. 

Also, because of the holiday, the Benton County Board of Commissioners did not meet this week. They will resume their regular meeting next week. 

By Jennifer Williams and Advocate Staff 

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