Klamath Falls, Ore. – If you spend more than half of your income on housing, you’re considered ‘severely rent burdened’ in Oregon.
Oregon House Bill 4006 is a new state law aimed at addressing housing affordability.
“As a local community, we are considered ‘rent burdened’,” explained Klamath Falls Planning Manager Joe Wall. “Greater than 25% of our population pays more than half of their monthly income on rent.”
According to U.S. Census data, about 1 out of every 3 households in Klamath Falls qualifies as ‘severely rent burdened’.
The House Bill also requires all affected Oregon towns with more than 10 thousand people to hold at least one annual meeting on housing.
“We’re required to have a public meeting prior to year’s end,” Wall said. “What we vision it as, is more of a public open forum to discuss housing affordability issues, and any possible solutions.”
Wall says it’s still unclear just what those solutions may be. “We’re going to have to work with partners, whether it’s the housing authority, whether it’s home builders, renters associations, and more – and just figure out how to produce more, let’s say, workforce housing units.”
The city is still working to set up the required open house.
“The meeting has not been scheduled, but it will be sometime mid-December, and in the evening,” added Wall.
House Bill 4006 also set aside about two million dollars to provide technical assistance to communities to study ways of increasing affordable housing.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.