When speaking of affordable housing, neither Eugene nor developers ever mention wages. Focusing on new, multi-bedroom apartments, rents run between $2,000 to $2,500 per month. At $2,500, a tenant pays $30,000 per year in rent. Lending standards state 30 percent of income should go to housing, meaning an adequate yearly wage is $100,000, or $52 an hour. Have developers pledged that kind of compensation in order for their workers to live in what they build? I have seen no evidence of such a promise, indicating the affordable housing mantra is an empty PR scheme.
So why should Eugene residents allow out-of-state developers to usurp our Willamette Greenway and be given property tax breaks in order to construct what few of us can afford? Extending the debate, jobs that pay at minimum $52 an hour are not being created in Lane County, nor Eugene, to the extent that warrants any of this new commercial residential real estate. Eugene doesn’t have a housing crisis; it has a jobs-living wage emergency. Time for city operatives to realize they planned for an economy that no longer exists.