Rising population, rents lead to emergency declaration in rural Oregon

By The Associated Press | The Seattle Times

A rural county in southern Oregon has joined larger West Coast places in declaring a housing emergency.

The Josephine County Board of Commissioners took the action this month, hoping to free up state assistance and suspend some state rules, the Daily Courier reported. The board asked Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to declare a two-year emergency.

A housing crunch caused by a rising population and meager apartment construction has sent vacancy rates plummeting and rents soaring. A 2015 study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies found that at least half of the households in Josephine County were rent-burdened, meaning they pay at least a third of their monthly income on rents and housing expenses

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