ONTARIO – Riley Hill doesn’t want the rest of the state to forget about eastern Oregon when a new housing plan is developed.
That’s why the former Ontario mayor applied to be on a new state board to plan how to solve Oregon’s housing crisis.
Last week Hill learned he’d been selected by Gov. Tina Kotek to join 25 other members on the Housing Production Advisory Council.
He said the appointment is important because often officials on the west side of the state “think eastern Oregon ends in Bend and Pendleton.”
The new council includes representatives private enterprise, government and tribal associations.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, Hill’s focus will be on land use and market housing development in rural Oregon. Market housing development, he said, is a focus son building more, single family homes in rural Oregon and in the Ontario area.
Hill said he isn’t sure exactly what that will entail as the board met for the first time last week.
“I want to see what they have in mind,” said Hill.
Hill said he recognizes the state faces a housing shortage. In Ontario, he said, there is a need for more houses. If eastern Oregon and Ontario are to receive state funding to create more housing, Hill said he wants to make sure that money goes to the right place.
“I hope I can benefit rural Oregon and make sure it gets its share of the pie,” he said.
The governor’s housing plan has set a goal of producing 36,000 homes per year for the next decade. The Housing Production Advisory Council will help develop a plan for how to do that.
“It’s a tall order what she wants to do. It’s overshadowed by regulation and land use and labor force issues and then the biggie, money. How are we going to finance all these houses? I don’t know,” he said.
Hill is a longtime local contractor and, he said, the appointment will be “doing what I’ve done all my life – building houses and subdivisions and apartments and so forth. At one time I owned 400 apartments so I know a little bit about it,” he said.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE – The Malheur Enterprise delivers quality local journalism – fair and accurate. You can read it any hour, any day with a digital subscription. Read it on your phone, your Tablet, your home computer. Click subscribe – $7.50 a month.