Apartment-seekers find few options on the Coast

Officials aim to fix problem that has been worsening for years.

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Housing has emerged as one of the biggest issues facing several Oregon communities — including the coast.

Officials are aiming to fix the problem that has been worsening for years.

Civic leaders in Tillamook County and elsewhere on the coast have known for years that housing was a growing problem. But unlike in urban areas, the rural county lacks a dedicated housing agency, coastal development often doesn’t pencil out and the cash-strapped county government has the resources for “only the very most basic functions,” said Erin Skaar, executive director at the Tillamook nonprofit Community Action Resource Enterprises.

“We end up choosing between law enforcement and housing,” Skaar said.

Still, the situation has grown dire enough that the county has created a housing task force – including Skaar, Cohen and other community leaders – to come up with solutions.

(READ MORE: OregonLive.com)

Unlike in Portland, the solution won’t be to build their way out of the problem as it’s more difficult to develop in the isolated region.

Apartment List revealed 57% of people renting in Portland were “cost-burdened” last year.

Renters and homeowners are considered cost-burdened if they pay more 30 percent of their income for housing. Nationwide, that share rose from 49.3 percent to 53.4 percent last year. But in Portland the increase was greater — it jumped from 51.1 percent to 57 percent of renters.

Surprisingly, Portland’s share is higher than many cities with higher average rents, including San Francisco (42.5 percent), Seattle (46 percent), Boston (52.4 percent) and New York (55.1 percent). That’s because the average incomes in those cities are higher than in Portland, making them more affordable.

(READ MORE: Portland Tribune)

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