Housing, employment, local investment and high-flying whales – Tillamook County Pioneer
By Representative David Gomberg, House District 10
Dear neighbors and friends,
Last week I wrote about the new tsunami resistant building and vertical evacuation point at Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. And in response, I received a few letters concerned about all construction in the tsunami zone.
To find out more, I encourage you to watch this short video which details the engineering, construction and purpose of this remarkable structure.
Click here see Rising from the Shore – the marine studies building on the Oregon coast.
At Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting one of our many Rotary clubs active in the district. Among the questions asked was what we are doing to address the ongoing challenge of affordable housing and homelessness.
I answered the question but did not have all the figures at hand. And I should have! Because I co-chair the committee that made these critical investments.
In the 2021 session, we have committed over $ 765 million for affordable housing, rent assistance and shelter support, as well as an additional $ 470 for mental and behavioral health.
This included $ 410 million for housing construction under the Local Innovation Fast Track (LIFT) and Permanent Supporting Housing (PSH) programs; $ 47 million to increase the capacity of emergency shelters and navigation centers for the upcoming cold season statewide; $ 25 million to help communities manage shelters and provide technical assistance; and $ 10 million to build a behavioral health resource center in downtown Portland.
For too long we have been challenged to find housing that people who want to live here can afford. Too many of our neighbors are at a financial setback from homelessness. I will continue to advocate for policies that keep Oregon residents safe and secure, including securing rent assistance that we have allocated to tenants and landlords as quickly as possible to avoid evictions. While there isn’t a single policy that would solve these problems overnight, I have worked hard this past session to support the bills and funding to help our district move forward. .
Housing, child care, pay changes and education remain the main long-term challenges for our local economy. But in the short term, ask any employer or just drive down the street and read the signs for asking for help, and it’s clear that the worker shortage is our most pressing problem.
Why don’t people go back to work?
The Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey was designed in april 2020 to quickly and efficiently collect data on how people’s lives may have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The survey showed a number of different reasons why adults in Oregon were not working during the two-week period of September 15th-27, 2021. An estimated 580,000 Oregonians were not working because they are retired. The following main reasons were “I am sick (not related to coronavirus) or disabled”, “I was taking care of children who were not attending school or daycare” and “I do not want to be employed at this time” .
The reasons why adults in Oregon were not working changed over the most recent three survey periods. About 84,400 Oregonians did not work in the July 21–August 2nd investigation period because they were “made redundant or on leave due to the coronavirus pandemic”. By mid-August and mid-September, that pattern had fallen to less than 49,000 people.
As of the July survey period, the number of people not working because they were “caring for someone or were themselves sick with the coronavirus” and they “did not want to be employed at that time “has grown from 31,200 to 63,700 and from 49,000 to 77,100, respectively. The reasons “I was sick (not related to the coronavirus) or disabled” and “I took care of children who did not attend school or daycare” remained the main reasons in three quarters.
A detailed analysis in Oregon reports that Oregon has regained nearly three-quarters of the jobs lost by the state at the start of the pandemic. The state’s unemployment rate fell from a record 13.2% in april 2020 less than 5% last month.
Economists predict that the state will have recovered all of the lost jobs by the end of next summer, just over two years after the start of the COVID-19 recession. It’s an extraordinary recovery. By comparison, it took about seven years for Oregon to regain all of the jobs lost in the Great Recession – even though the total job loss was much smaller.
One change that will certainly continue is the appetite of Oregonians for online shopping.
A myriad of online sales and delivery services stepped up hiring early in the pandemic. Total employment in transportation and warehousing has increased by 5,600 jobs over the past two years. At 8.4%, this is the largest percentage gain among Oregon’s top employment sectors.
The flip side is what happened to retail employment, down 4,300 jobs, or 2.0%. If more people are shopping online, that means stores don’t need as many clerks to checkout or stock shelves. Retail has recovered most of the jobs lost at the start of the pandemic, but has yet to return.
No sector has lost more jobs to the pandemic than bars and restaurants, which shut down domestic service completely when the pandemic hit in March 2020 and suffered intermittent closures in the months that followed. Oregon’s entertainment and hospitality sector – including restaurants, bars, hotels and other smaller categories – has recovered 62% of the 110,000 jobs lost at the start of the pandemic, but remains in almost 20% drop.
A new analysis of labor trends in the state found that one in five Oregonians working in restaurants had moved to another industry.
Last week I received an email from the Superintendent of Sheridan Schools. The subject line read “Thank you!” “
When I opened the email I only found one photo – of a check for $ 1.9 million.
Throughout the last session, we have worked hard to secure funding for a number of critical local projects from traditional, new and temporary funding sources. The problem is simply that small towns do not have the resources to pay for major investments in water storage or distribution, improved sewers or economic infrastructure like ports, tourist facilities or school buildings. . With an injection of federal funds, this year has offered a unique opportunity and I am committed to making the most of it. Watch the audience and you’ll see the president smile as person after person has said they are “working with Rep. Gomberg on this proposal.”
While spending commitments statewide have increased, it is clear that our district has fared particularly well. We succeeded because we were well organized and the need was clear.
So what projects and investments are we talking about? Let’s take a look at the list:
- Extension of sanitary sewers, port of Toledo: $ 2.425 million.
- Greater Toledo Pool Recreation District (GTPRD): $ 3 million.
- Waldport Water Reservoir Project, Town of Waldport: $ 2.2 million.
- Restoration of pilings and wharves, Town of Depoe Bay: $ 2.9 million.
- Eddyville Fire Station, East Lincoln County Fire and Rescue: $ 4 million.
- A Place for the People, Siletz Tribal Arts & Heritage Society: $ 750,000.
- Big Creek Dam Remediation, Town of Newport: $ 14 million.
- Capital Improvements, Oregon Coast Aquarium: $ 5.1 million.
- D River Visitor Center, Lincoln City: $ 2.547 million.
- Lincoln City Cultural Center: $ 1.8 million.
- CETC West, Sheridan School District: $ 1.9 million.
- Replacement of septic tanks, storm water and reservoirs: Panther Creek Water District: $ 16.8 million.
- Replacement of water transmission line, town of Tillamook: $ 12 million.
As each project progresses through the procurement process and funds become available from different sources, we will continue to see big checks arriving throughout the district. And every day of arrival is a good day for the people who live, work or study here.
“Only slightly exaggerated”
Oregon Trip is a semi-independent agency that promotes tourism with a 1.8% statewide transitional accommodation tax. They just released a whimsical new video called “Only slightly exaggerated”. I like it! But not everyone has. The Oregonian wrote “Travel Oregon wanted viewers to believe the Oregon whales swam in the sky.”
I must say this review caught my attention.
As many of you know, for over 30 years Susie and I have owned a small kite business. We had stores, we had web pages, we made and sold to other stores. And we have specialized in large three-dimensional kites and have performed at festivals and events around the world. We flew to Walt Disney, the Super Bowl and the London Millennium Celebration. In 2005, I was inducted into the Kite Hall of Fame. We have successfully retired in 2020 and no longer have any financial interest in kite flying. So I now felt that I can say here with authority and without conflict of interest, that whales really do fly on our Oregon beaches!
Earlier this week, I sent the Oregonian a photo of some of the kites we’ve already made.
Take a minute to watch “Only slightly exaggerated”. Hope this gives you a break to smile.
Life-size whale kites flying in Lincoln City. Photo by Vonelle Swanson.
The Oregon legislature is currently not in session. Even when I’m not in Salem, I still work every day with constituents, community leaders and other elected officials on issues that impact your lives. We respond to emails and check our messages every day. So if you have a concern, comment, or need help with a state or agency issue, please contact my office. I am honored to represent you in the Oregon House of Representatives and look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for reading my newsletter.
E-mail: Representative [email protected]
address: 900 Court St NE, H-480, Salem, OR, 97301