Our community has been suffering from lack of affordable housing and workforce housing for too long. Although there is a lot of talk about this issue, opportunities to actually do something about it don't come very often.
This week we have a real opportunity for action on housing in Medford. Together we can have a big impact if we show up to the council meeting, email the council, or speak at the hearing. Join us in taking action.
This Thursday at 6pm the Medford City Council is opening a public hearing on a proposed construction excise tax, a powerful funding tool cities of all sizes are using across Oregon to produce new revenue for the creation of affordable housing.
What is a construction excise tax? This funding option had been blocked by a statewide preemption until legislative action in 2016. Since this tool has become available cities from Hood River to Corvallis to Bend have passed it and begun seeing new affordable housing development as a result. Medford is proposing a very small tax, 1/3 of 1% on new development. The money would be used to attract additional state and federal funding, which would all be used to help create more affordable housing in the city. You can read more about how a construction excise tax works in Oregon here.
Let's Make This Happen What: Medford City Council Public Hearing on Affordable Housing (Full meeting agenda here) When: This Thursday, February 15th, at 6:00pm Where: Medford City Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street Who: All of us Why: The size of the crowd and the number of people who speak for a minute or two in support of strong action to create new funding for affordable and workforce housing will send a clear message to city councilors voting on these issues. We can't afford for this decision to be made without strong input from community members like you and me.
If you can't make it to the meeting: email the city council at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Mayor's office at 541-774-2000.
Preparing to speak (or emailing city council)
Write it down - If you plan to speak at the hearing, write out what you want to say ahead of time.
Keep it personal - How has the housing crisis affected you and your neighbors?
Keep it brief - You'll probably have a maximum of three minutes to speak. Ten people speaking for one minute is more powerful than one person speaking for ten minutes. If you have more to say, you can always submit it through written testimony.
Stay on topic - Always tie your testimony to the subject at hand.
Make a clear ask - Make sure to bring your testimony back to a clear ask for action. (Example: "This is why I support a construction excise tax to create new funding for affordable and workforce housing development in Medford.")
Relax - Remember to breathe and take your time. You'll do great!