District 5 County Commissioner Lianne Thompson talked to The Gazette on Tuesday about her concerns with housing affordability in Clatsop County.
Thompson said the problem is “the housing stock has been diverted from residential to commercial properties,” referring to vacation rentals.
A number of homes are “owned by people who don’t live here,” she said. Also, vacation rental housing is valued at a higher price because it is “inflated by the revenue that is produced by transient occupancy,” making housing more expensive.
“All the way up and down the coast, the more tourism, the less affordable the housing,” she said.
The high cost of housing makes it “unaffordable for businesses to employ employees,” she said. The employees can’t afford to live in the area. “So we don’t have the services we need for daily life - health, education, food, you name it - we can’t afford it.”
It will take a local, countywide, statewide and federal effort to solve the problem, she said.
She said, “I’m getting some traction” on a plan to manufacture affordable modular housing in Clatsop County. “I’ve got a couple of timber companies that are interested and looking at ways to make this pencil out.”