‘Urban-Scale’ Problems, ‘Rural-Level Resources’

Northwest Oregon towns face a growing housing crisis, but affordable housing grants are hard to come by for underresourced communities.

1 minute read

December 6, 2023, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of coastal Oregon town.

mdurson / Adobe Stock

Small northwest Oregon towns are struggling to house their residents as housing costs grow and funds for affordable housing projects in rural areas remain scarce, reports Claire Carlson in the Daily Yonder.

Elissa Gertler, housing manager for Clatsop County, told the Daily Yonder that her region is dealing with “urban-scale problems” with only “rural-level resources.” In that county, where the population nearly doubles in the summer, long-term rentals are hard to come by and the median home price is $539,000. Meanwhile, regulations governing coastal development make it difficult to build new housing.

Rural officials say they often struggle to apply for and access state and federal affordable housing grants. “In small counties with limited resources to devote to this process, it can be extremely difficult to compete with metro areas for the same money,” Carlson writes. 

In Clatsop County, a former motel is being converted to 55 housing units for healthcare workers and low-income residents, which will bring both affordable housing and preserve access to healthcare services in the region.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 in The Daily Yonder

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