Medford is Planning to Continue Providing Housing for Low and Middle-Income Earners

MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford City Council is investigating the best way forward to provide housing for low and middle-income earners. The project was discussed at a study session last week.


City Council Plans Smooth Continuation of Affordable Housing

Medford City wants to ensure a smooth continuation of affordable housing for lower-income groups once its current programs are completed.

The three housing programs that expire within the next few years are the Medford Urban Renewal District project, which will expire when the Housing Opportunity Fund, and the Multiple Unit Property Tax exemption programs are completed in 2028.

The aim of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency (MURA) is to eliminate depreciating property values and urban decay within the city’s urban renewal area. The Downtown Medford City-Center Revitalization Plan was originally adopted by the city council in 1988 and was substantially amended in 2018.

The city council is now planning to create a new Urban Renewal District upon completion of the current projects.

City officials at the study session discussed three potential income streams that will replace or work together with the existing programs. The options are:

  • Middle-Income Revolving Loan Program
  • Community Development and Housing Foundation
  • Local or Regional Housing Millage/Bond


Middle-Income Revolving Loan Program

Medford’s city planning director, Matt Brinkley has confirmed that the Middle-Income Revolving Loan Plan is attracting the most interest. Oregon has approved a $75 million revolving loan program which will be available to local governments to fund lower income bracket housing projects. The fund was established in terms of the Senate Bill 1537 (Section 24).

Brinkley indicated that the revolving plan fund will begin operating by the end of 2025, or 2026 once state funding becomes available.

Read: $20M Awarded For Affordable Housing By Oregon Housing And Community Services

The city will not derive tax revenue if it borrows from the Revolving Loan Plan. Instead, that revenue will be plowed into the fund until outstanding funds on the loan are paid, after which Medford will receive the tax revenue.

Related: Medford May Extend ADU Housing Incentive Program


Community Development and Housing Foundation

The Community Development and Housing Foundation is another option under consideration by the city council to attract and keep essential workers such as teachers and nurses within the Medford community.

The foundation will provide middle-class families with affordable housing if it receives the support of local employers who need to attract people into the workforce. Brinkley says there will be no point in using the foundation without the support of local employers.

The Community Development and Housing Foundation provides housing with funds received from charitable donations. If Medford city adopts this option, it will set up a 501C3 non-profit foundation to accept charitable donations to fund affordable housing. The foundation can also accept donations of housing development land.

Related: Seeking Funds For Affordable Housing Projects In Medford


Local or Regional Housing Millage/Bond

The third option, and least likely to be adopted, is the local or regional housing millage/bond. Millage rates are an extra form of taxation for the provision of affordable housing and are obtained from a levy over and above current property taxes.

Voters will have to agree to a millage rate to be placed on their properties. The reason why this form of taxation is less likely to succeed is because a similar proposal was recently rejected by residents of Medford.


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