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Eugene’s mayor applauds proposed state spending on housing

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Brian Bull
/
KLCC
Eugene, like many Oregon cities, has struggled to find solutions for people experiencing homelessness.

Democrats in the Oregon legislature unveiled a proposed $400 million spending package to address housing issues on Thursday.

It includes funding for emergency shelters as well as affordable housing projects. Some of the money would go directly to cities, including Eugene.

During a press conference organized by legislative Democrats, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis said the funding is welcome. Vinis said the city has already invested a lot into the challenge of finding suitable shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

“The cost of these efforts is comparable to an ongoing natural disaster," said Vinis. "These critical additional state resources allow us to press forward now, to build and expand our work.”

Other cities that would receive direct funding under the proposed package include Salem, Medford, Bend, Hillsboro and Beaverton. Separately, the legislation would direct more funding to Project Turnkey, which helps cities purchase old motels and turn them into housing.

Democrats say the funding is made possible in part by stronger-than-expected tax revenues coming into state coffers right now. But Rep. Julie Fahey, D-Eugene, said many lawmakers want to make it an ongoing priority in future legislative sessions.

"I know many of my colleagues will be advocating for homelessness and housing to be a big part of our budgets in the future," said Fahey.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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