Affordable housing options on the table in Ashland

Ashland, Ore. — The city of Ashland is in talks about a parcel of land off Clay Street.

Two groups want the land.

Both have the same goal, but different visions.

The Housing Authority of Jackson County wants the land for low-income housing, whereas the Ashland Tiny House Group wants it for Ashland’s first tiny home village.

Right now, the city is leaning toward a deal with the Housing Authority, but that leaves solutions for other housing needs up in the air.

“Homeless children get on the average four hours of sleep a night,” the founder of Ashland Tiny House Group, Karen Logan, said.

Karen Logan is the founder of the Ashland Tiny House Group.

She says she’s been passionate about building a tiny house village ever since becoming aware of homeless children in the area, and the lack of affordable housing in Ashland.

“It’s the city’s responsibility to take care of people, and they can do that by offering their vacant land, and we can build a tiny house village on it,” Logan said.

Logan was hoping to build the village on a parcel of land off Clay Street.

But according to the city of Ashland, the Housing Authority of Jackson County is already in negotiations for the land.

It wants to use it for low-income housing.

“This may likely not be the right property given that we’re already in negotiations for further affordable housing,” Logan said.

Adam Hanks is the Interim Assistant to the Ashland City Administrator.

He says there are certain challenges the city needs to face before allowing a tiny house village.

“It would have to be designated by the council, and fit into the criteria that the Oregon-revised statutes allow for transitional housing,” Hanks said.

Hanks says building code violations like a lack of full utilities prevents cities from building tiny homes.

But each city has the opportunity to ask for an exemption on a designated parcel of land.

“Our city council will undoubtedly want to develop a better understanding of what that exemption means, what it allows, where good sites might be, and just all the legal implications of that new designation opportunity,” Hanks said.

Logan says she’s happy to hear more low-income housing could be going up soon.

But she would also like to see a tiny house village become a reality sooner rather than later.

“It would be great if the city would commit to offering some land to the tiny house project,” Logan said.

The city of Ashland is still in negotiations with the Housing Authority of Jackson County on that specific property.

Hanks expects the city to make a decision within three months.

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