Easing rent burden in Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Klamath Falls is exploring ways to reduce ‘rent burden’ as part of a statewide effort to improve access to affordable housing.

About one out of every three households in Klamath Falls are considered ‘severely rent burdened’.

A group of about 20 people met Tuesday night at the Ross Ragland Theater to discuss the issue.

Kim Elliott is with the Klamath Rental Owners Association.  “The main problem is the lack of housing.  And when you have a short supply, prices go high.”

Elliott believes renters upgrading to newer construction would free up lower income housing.  “The used housing will then be more reasonably priced, and it all trickles down.”

Elliott is concerned that state intervention could reduce local control.  “I think the ultimate goal at the state level is to institute rent control.”

Klamath Falls City Manager Nathan Cherpeski pointed out that additional housing could also have other benefits.

Cherpeski believes development of areas such as the ‘Balsiger block’ with apartments could help set the stage for expansion of Oregon Tech, and Kingsley Field.

If you spend more than half of your monthly income on housing, you’re considered ‘severely rent burdened’ in Oregon.

Oregon House Bill 4006 requires all Oregon communities with a population of 10,000 or more where a quarter of the population meets that criteria to hold annual meetings to address the problem.

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