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Agenda & Minutes

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Housing Advisory Commission (View All)

Housing Advisory Commission Agenda & Minutes

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

October 14, 2020
12:00 P.M. – 1:30 P.M.                                                                                  
Virtual Meeting
Office of the Governor Executive Orders require that the governing body of a public body hold public meetings and hearings in compliance with social distancing and face covering requirements. This meeting is being conducted by virtual means in compliance with the Governor’s Orders. To attend virtually, click HERE.
10.   Roll Call
The regular meeting of the Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) was called to order at 12:08 P.M. virtually on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Commissioners Present Staff Present
Jason Elzy, Vice Chair
Steven Erb
Randy Jones
Debra Lee
John Michaels
Matthew Stranahan
Paul Tanner
Commissioners Absent
Randell Embertson, Chair
Angela Durant, Staff Liaison
Aleia Fletcher, Staff Liaison
Carla Paladino, Staff Liaison
Eric Mitton, Legal Staff Liaison
Clay Bearnson, City Council Liaison – left at 12:54 P.M.
Matt Brinkley, Staff Liaison – left at 1:16 P.M.
Harry Weiss, Staff Liaison

20.   Public Comments
Principal Planner Angela Durant expressed that she will be sending comments collected from a landlord, who has experienced challenges with tenants not paying their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic, via email to the HAC. The landlord urges the City to develop a response and explore any potential solutions to assisting landlords by helping alleviate some of the financial burden caused by the eviction moratorium.

30.   Approval of Minutes – 7/22/2020 & 8/12/2020
Motion: To approve the minutes of 7/22/2020 & 8/12/2020, as submitted.
Voice Vote by Affirmation: Motion passed, 7-0

40. Planning Director’s Note – Almeda and Obenchain Fires
Medford Planning Director Matt Brinkley provided an update of the current challenges resulting from the impact of the Almeda and Obenchain Fires on the region.

Per Mr. Brinkley, the Almeda Fire has been considered the worst urban wildfire experienced in the State of Oregon, with an estimated 2,300 residential structures destroyed, severely impacting low- and fixed- income and minority households, particularly affecting those in manufactured housing located in manufactured housing parks.

Key highlights of the discussion included:
  • Most of the impacted manufactured housing were located in flood plains, contributing to difficulties associated with rebuilding;
  • Potential impacts stemming from underinsurance coupled with the inflation of construction;
  • Potential repercussions from impacted households relocating out of the Rogue Valley, due to inability to secure affordable housing and maintain stable employment;
  • The importance of identifying potential locations for temporary housing to help address the impact caused by the Almeda Fire on Phoenix and Talent communities, including:
    • Utilizing the Executive Order from the City of Medford, which allows for RV camping on residential and commercial land during the City’s emergency declaration;
    • Exploring alternatives, such as prefabricated housing, which could potentially be converted into Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in the future;
    • The County is assembling potential sites for temporary housing; Jason Lombard of the Department of Land Conservation & Development (DLCD) and Medford Deputy City Manager Kelly Madding are collaborating to assist with this;
    • Brainstorming solutions to issues associated with temporary housing and the 45-day limit before landlord tenant law comes into effect, creating a challenge for displaced households affected by the fires, as they face a need to shuffle to different locations/hotels/motels;
    • Brainstorming prospective solutions to the limitations on the amount of time that insurance policies may pay for temporary housing for fire victims;
    • Exploring ideas to assist with securing housing for households displaced by the fire including:
      • Potential partnership with Southern Oregon University using dormitories -
        • Prospective challenges include retrofitting the dormitories (as these are not set up for families), needed repairs, and concerns with COVID-19;
      • Working with potential employers to help identify alternative short- to- long-term housing -
        • May include hospitals, as significant staff have lost housing;
  • Challenges with using commercial land for residential due to building code issues that would need to be addressed through State of Oregon legislative session.
He encouraged housing industry professionals to reach out to the City if they have potential ideas regarding housing solutions.

Lastly, Mr. Brinkley also discussed that City staff is actively working on providing additional resources to impacted communities, such as helping with planning review, flood plain review, inspection services, damage assessments needed to begin the insurance claim process, and additional, as needed.

50.   Housing Authority of Jackson County – Executive Director’s Note
Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Jackson County (HAJC) Jason Elzy provided an update regarding the continued repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Almeda Fire, circumstances which have affected housing supply and contributed to both unemployment and under employment throughout the community.  Along with the eviction moratorium, HAJC is anticipating an overall shortfall of $500,000 over 12 months from HAJC’s housing complexes, making it difficult to pay mortgages and overall operating costs. In addition, Mr. Elzy expressed concern over impacts following the eviction moratorium, as many households may lose housing, due to the inability to repay arrears over six months, in conjunction with current monthly rent.

Mr. Elzy further discussed that the HAJC lost an apartment complex in Talent, Oregon to the Almeda Fire and has been working diligently with insurance and with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a challenging process.

Mr. Elzy examined the challenges that the Paradise and Santa Rosa communities in California, previously affected by wildfires, have faced and limited potential future funding opportunities to help assist with rebuilding.

While the HAJC has worked to assist fire victims from Talent and Phoenix, because of the limited supply of affordable housing, there is an estimated wait time of one year or longer for those placed on a wait list, even when given priority as fire victims. With the lack of affordable housing, many households are leaving the region, impacting the community and school districts in Talent and Phoenix. To help prevent this, the HAJC is working to explore and support interim housing solutions, while also acknowledging the challenges regarding potential redevelopment of manufactured communities, due to zoning of Single Family Residential (SFR) zones and flood plain issues.

60.   Temporary Shelters
Principal Planner Carla Paladino sought direction from the HAC regarding proposed code changes related to Temporary and Non-Temporary Shelters, which would amend Chapter 10. For more detailed information, please review the attached PowerPoint presentation.

While initial proposed changes included shifting procedures for Temporary Shelters in Commercial/Industrials zones and Residential zones to Permitted Use (PU) to decrease processing time, per Planning Commission direction, the procedure is proposed to stay the same, using the Conditional Use Permit (CUP), in order to allow for public hearing. A new definition of Non-Temporary Shelter is proposed to be added to the code.

Additionally, proposed administrative changes sought to clarify reporting requirements, as the HAC will be updated on future reporting.

Motion: To approve staff to continue in the direction as presented.
Voice Vote by Affirmation: Motion passed, 7-0

70.   Homeless System Action Plan
Principal Planner Angela Durant provided an update on status of the implementation of the Homeless System Action Plan (HSAP). Mrs. Durant presented to Medford City Council via a study session on October 8, 2020 to seek direction from Mayor and City Council on prioritizing tasks from the HSAP which could influence future funding decisions, in collaboration with Medford Deputy City Manager Kelly Madding, Medford Police Chief Scott Clauson, Jackson County Mental Health’s Crisis & Outpatient Services Manager Rick Rawlins, and Addictions Recovery Center’ Clinical Director Nathan Olson.

Staff recommended prioritizing:
  • Action #1.3 of the HSAP
    • Collaborate with the County, Medford Urban Renewal Agency (MURA), and other cities and organizations to identify surplus properties suitable for development of affordable housing, transitional housing, and Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
    • Create a community housing foundation or housing trust fund
  • Action #1.6 of the HSAP
    • With the current demand (prior to the Almeda and Obenchain fires) of 293 PSH units, prioritize creation of PSH through acquisition or use of surplus property 
    • Work with community partners to fund sustainable supportive services
  • Action #1.7 of the HSAP
    • Engage partners to create a PSH pilot targeted to frequent users of healthcare systems
    • Solicit support through the healthcare sector 
  • Goal 3 of the HSAP to address mental health and substance abuse
    • Support the County in a region-wide effort to explore a mobile crisis intervention model to address mental health and addictions recovery
    • Engage other cities and community partners to support this effort
Exploring feasible alternative sites for the current urban campground was also discussed in preparation for upcoming winter weather. Recommendations will be presented to City Council for approval tomorrow, Thursday, October 15, 2020.

80.  Future Agenda Items
Staff will provide future update regarding priorities for the HSAP at the next HAC meeting.

90.   Remarks from Council Liaison
Mrs. Durant relayed that Councilor Clay Bearnson wanted to express his appreciation and gratitude for the Commission’s commitment and hard work on solving the mounting issues, as he had to leave early.

100. Remarks from Commission Chair
Vice Chair Jason Elzy thanked the Commission for their hard work.

110.  Remarks from MURA Executive Director

120. Remarks from Commissioners

130. Remarks from Staff Liaisons

140. Adjourn
Meeting adjourned at 1:30 P.M.

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