The potential homes would be built on the three lots that developer Riley Hill acquired on the west side of North 14th Street, adjacent to the Vale BLM. (The Enterprise/Joe Siess)

VALE - Developer Riley Hill is considering building three homes in Vale. 

Hill, mayor of Ontario, said he is still not certain if he will proceed, but has acquired three lots on the west side of North 14th Street, adjacent to the Vale BLM.

The three homes would be for sale, not for rent, and would have fenced in yards, full landscaping, and underground sprinkler systems.

In September, the Vale City Council approved a variance allowing Hill’s prospective properties to be 66 feet wide instead of the 75 feet mandated by the Vale City Code.

At this point, Hill said he might start the project in the spring, but is consulting with real estate agents to get a sense of what might be saleable in Vale.

Hill said he looked at a similar project he did in Ontario, and the fact nobody is buying concerns him.

“Do I want to build in Vale? Yes, I do,” Hill said.

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Hill said he is gauging whether incomes in Vale are currently high enough for people to afford to buy.

A statewide housing shortage and record low construction rates have made housing less affordable for local residents.

In Malheur County, where a quarter of the population is considered in poverty, the median household income between 2014 and 2018 was $42,478, according to the census.

The median value of owner-occupied housing units was $135,500, and monthly costs with a mortgage was $1,143.

Hill said that Sen. Lynn Findley (R-Vale), the previous Vale city manager, contacted him more than once about building in Vale.

Hill said that while there is a market for this kind of housing in Vale, housing prices are at record highs, and so assessing the affordability of the market is the next step before anything can proceed.

Vale City Manager Katy Lamb said that she is hopeful that if the housing units go in, they will bring revenue in addition to three new homes to Vale.

News tip? Contact reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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