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MADRAS, OR -- Residential construction in Madras is not keeping up with demand, leading to a critical housing shortage. "We actually need all types of housing," says Community Development Director Nick Snead, "We certainly have employers that have employees not living in Madras because they can’t find a home that meets their needs at a certain price point. And then also we have executives in our community that can’t find housing to meet their needs. So, we need a full range of housing and we’re developing a plan to address that."


That Housing Action Plan contains 30 steps the city could take over the next five years. "Some of those actions are ongoing and partnership-related actions, where we’ll work with both the faith-based community and nonprofit organizations. But also, there are actions related to infrastructure financing and system development charge reductions," Snead tells KBND News. He doesn't want the plan to just sit on a shelf. If some ideas don’t work, he says they would get progressively more aggressive, "That aggressiveness would take the form of the city maybe even taking on a housing developer role, which is quite unique."


The population of Madras grows about 1.5% each year. Snead estimates the city needs around 35 new housing units to keep up. Developers built 20 new homes in 2017; so far this year, the city has approved permits for just 15 units. "We built a lot of homes before the recession. During the recession we built very few homes. And then, coming out of the recession, we’re starting to build some homes but they’re not keeping up with population growth. But, we’re also not addressing the backlog of housing we needed before and during the recession."


The plan is available on the city of Madras website, where the public can also submit comments. City Councilors will discuss the draft at their next meeting, November 13.

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