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Florence officials break ground on affordable housing development

The development includes multiple one, two and three-bedroom homes ranging from $160 thousand to $200 thousand.

Posted: Jan 23, 2020 8:10 PM
Updated: Jan 24, 2020 10:05 AM

FLORENCE, Ore.-- Officials with the City of Florence joined their developer partners in breaking ground on 12 affordable, community land trust homes in Florence Thursday afternoon.

Over two-and-a-half years, nonprofit Dev NW has been with city officials to address the issue of affordable housing in the community. The city approached the organization looking for solutions and eventually donated an over two-acre plot of land on 15th Street, and updated their antiquated residential building code in order to bring costs down.

"Unfortunately, we have not a lot of homes in our community that someone with an average income can't afford," said Mayor Joe Henry.

The organization will maintain ownership of the land after building and selling multiple one, two and three-bedroom homes ranging from $160,000 to $200,000. The property will also include a garden, basketball court and lawn.

"It's important for them to feel like they have not just the four or five walls that they use to live, but to have space around to express themselves. To be able to choose paint colors, to plant trees in the yard and plant vegetables if they want to," said Erin Dey of Dev NW.

According to officials, wages for workers in the city's bustling tourism industry haven't been keeping up with rising costs as business grows and housing becomes scarce.

"Because of the ability to make money off of property, it's harder and harder to find a piece of property to build on that a normal worker in our community can afford," said Oregon District 5 Senator Arnie Roblan.

The homes are for buyers making 80% of Lane County's average median income. A family of four making at or below $51,000 per year is eligible.

Dev NW hopes to complete construction by this fall.

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