REPORT OF THE 2016 PENDLETON HOUSING COMMITTEE

Release Date: 
07/21/2016

In January of 2016 the City of Pendleton agreed to partner with several organizations to study the availability of housing in Pendleton.   The Round-Up City Development Corporation, the Pendleton Development Commission, Blue Mountain Community College, Umatilla County, and Pacificorp provided funding for the study.  Members were recruited from the construction industry, banking, realtors, local landlords, government, the Energy Trust of Oregon, Oregon Regional Solutions, and employers such as BMCC and Pacific Power (see Appendix A for a list of members).   Meetings began in February and ended in early July.

The first goal was to provide a professional analysis of the Pendleton housing market.  A previous analysis was done in 2011, and while it was helpful in providing new housing, the material in that analysis was considered dated and beyond its useful shelf life.  Sabino Community Development Resources from Tucson, Arizona was hired to complete a new analysis and a report was provided in late June.  (see Appendix B for the complete report).

Highlights from the 2016 Sabino study:

  1. Pendleton housing is described as being older, with available units relatively scarce, and with issues of poor quality.  These characteristics were also noted in the 2011 analysis.  Housing for sale is greater than 50 years old (median age of construction is 1960).
  2. Compared to recent census estimates, owners and renters in Pendleton pay a relatively small portion of their household incomes towards housing costs.
  3. Depending on down payment and interest rates, homeownership for families making $30,000- $40,000 per year is a feasible alternative to renting.
  4. Robust demand exists for at least 100 moderate income-level rental units and 25 professional-level rental units.  Three bedroom units are specifically in demand.
  5. The current rental market supports the development of 20-40 downtown upper-story rental units or units for sale.
  6. The market area can support up to approximately 90 new for-sale units targeted at the entry- and mid-level markets, with additional support for more expensive homes targeted at more affluent buyers and current owners who wish to “trade up.”

(This information comes from the executive summary on pages 1-5 of the analysis.)

The second goal of the committee was to provide a list of practical recommendations to the City of Pendleton for actions it might take to increase the availability of housing in the next two years. Discussions during the committee meetings ranged from the cost of construction in Pendleton to land availability to the ability of local workers to buy or rent and strategies to attract more developers or landlords.  (These recommendations are contained in Appendix C).

The last goal of the committee was to provide ideas on how the City could build a ten-year plan to improve housing availability in Pendleton.  (see Appendix D).

In conclusion, we determined that there was no easy solution to the problem of available housing in Pendleton.  Many of the reasons why this is a difficult problem to solve can be found in the Sabino analysis.   If we want Pendleton to improve its housing supply, we must continue to vigorously pursue the recommendations contained in this report.  This is a long term issue that requires persistent and energetic management.  Outreach to builders and landlords is imperative.

We strongly recommend a semi-annual review by the City Council of City progress towards the recommendations in this report.

 

John H. Turner

Committee Chair