A city council is an extremely important body of local government and one that takes seriously the challenging issues facing its diverse constituency. It is that diversity that makes the city so great, but can also divide us. 
While we wish it weren’t the case, the council understands their role to make difficult decisions that will have the community at odds with each other. The March 12 meeting where the council made the decision to rezone a city owned property, Tax Lot 700 and portion of Morrison Park in order to advance efforts to build guaranteed affordable housing, was one of those cases. 
This is an important step forward and we commend the council under the leadership of Mayor Paul Blackburn in finding a way to advance the city’s recognized goal by intentionally supporting the production of affordable homes.
 In 2015, Hood River adopted a comprehensive housing strategy that included policy recommendations aimed at accommodating the city’s needed housing. In 2015, we had an existing deficit of affordable housing just as we do today, albeit we’re arguably worse off now. Just last year, a household needed to make $17.33 an hour in order to afford the Hood River two-bedroom Fair Market Rent of $1,090.
Reports are there is little to no chance in finding a two-bedroom rental for $1,090 in Hood River at all. While the city adopted its comprehensive housing strategy in 2015, the implementation didn’t just happen overnight and certainly, the results and impact of the policy implementation will take time. It is gratifying to see another action step taken by the City of Hood River to advance their work in accommodating the city’s needed housing.
None of this action would be possible without the leadership of Mayor Blackburn and the dedicated council willing to listen intently to both those in favor of the decision, and those not, and take each case into consideration.
In the end, we are extremely pleased that council made the decision to support affordable housing and preserve a park setting both for those residents and the community at large.  Hood River is fortunate to have seasoned, compassionate and committed leadership in the mayor and the rest of city council.
Join us in saying “Thank you” for their tireless service and commitment to meeting the needs of all our neighbors.
Join us in saying “Thank you” for making this difficult decision.
Barb Seatter is the vice-chair of the board of the Mid-Columbia Housing Authority and Scott Clements is the chair of the board for Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation. More information can found at www.mid-columbiahousingauthority.org

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