Affordable Housing Needs in Bend, Oregon with Tammy Baney, County Commissioner – House Talk Episode 54

Karen Malanga: Hi, this is Karen Malanga with another edition of House Talk. I’m so excited to have Tammy Baney, our County Commissioner here today, not only because she’s a great County Commissioner, but I just learned she’s nominated for Women of the Year. And we’ll find out if she wins that on April 5th.

So Tammy, welcome to House Talk. And what would you like to discuss with us today?

Tammy Baney: Well, thank you, Karen. I’m thrilled to be here.

One of the challenges that we have in our community right now is housing. So we want people to be able to live in this community and give back. And we certainly are welcoming others from parts of different states. But the housing market, as you know, is really tight.

So, one of the aspects that we’re trying to address from not just the county perspective but the state is looking at what are our needs. As we look at affordable housing, it’s important that we look at what the mix needs to be and how we address housing from not just a perspective of “I’m not sure where we need to be investing,” but we need it to be data-driven.

Karen:  Yeah, like learning more and more about who is moving here and what their specific needs are. And you can find that through data.

Tammy: Yes, we can.

And also, the mix of housing is important to the viability of a community. So we want to make sure that entry-level nurses and teachers and first responders, the fabric of a community, are able to actually live in that community as well.

So, we want to make sure that we have the right housing products and that we have the right mix of housing to meet the needs of all that live in a community.

Karen: This sounds like a huge challenge, Tammy.

Tammy:  It is a huge challenge. So, in Oregon, the Oregon Housing & Community Services—and I’m a member of the Oregon Housing Stability Council—our goal is to create the state’s first statewide housing plan. Within that plan, we’ll be able to do outreach, of which we’ve had 11 outreach community meetings all across the state.

Karen: Wow!

Tammy: We’ve had community members come and tell us, “What are the challenges?” We know that Portland looks different than Bend. We know that Bend looks different than La Grande.

Karen: Sure!

Tammy: So, how do we take all of that into a statewide perspective, and then address affordable housing by being targeted about the needs within each community.

We know that veterans housing is important. We know that workforce housing is important. We know that there’s variations of affordability. So we need to be strategic about how to invest.

Karen: Yeah, we find that challenging in our own real estate practice because, once in a while, we’ll have just a wonderful first-time home buyer, and they’ve moved here from out of state, they’ve got their first job. It’s like, “Where are we going to find the right houses under $300,000.”

So, a lot of times, we’re going to communities such as Redmond, Prineville. But you know, if we keep an eye on the market here, we can find those products for them here as well. That’s what I understand. I understand the challenges.

Tammy: Absolutely!

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Karen: Also, I wanted to mention that we have an election coming up on May 15th.

Tammy: Yes, we do, yes.

Karen: And you are part of that election. I want you to know that you’ve got our vote.

Tammy: Oh, thank you. It’s been an honor to serve the community, and I look forward to continuing that.

Karen:  Oh, you’ve done a great job.

So, how can people reach out to you? How can anybody reach you?

Tammy: Well, my job is to serve the community. So I really want to be accessible. I can be reached at TammyB@Deschutes.org. And I can also be reached—I’ll give my personal cellphone number which is 541-419-2233. I serve the community, and I want to be accessible. So I really look forward to when people reach out to me.

Karen:  How many times does your cell phone ring a day?

Tammy:  You know what? Not many people take me up on that which is interesting. But the people that do, there’s a reason. So I always appreciate that people do feel that they can access me. And that’s what I’m here to do, make sure that I’m a conduit  for their voice and making sure that they feel that they’re part of their own community.

Karen: That’s great, Tammy. Thank you so much for being a part of House Talk.

Tammy: Oh, thank you for the opportunity.

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