LINCOLN CITY — Technical assistance for small communities seeking housing help may be coming to Lincoln County, State Rep. David Gomberg announced Friday.
When Congressman Kurt Schrader asked Gomberg to give a room of Lincoln County leaders an update on how things are going this legislative session, the state lawmaker announced three main takeaways that he believed would be the biggest news of the session.
The first was funding for education: the legislature is looking at committing $2 billion to Oregon schools in an effort to “decrease school sizes, provide more counselors, provide more preschool, (more) health and mental health supports, and make sure ... that kids are getting the education they deserve,” he explained.
The second was HB 2020, which focuses on climate, carbon and greenhouse gasses — Gomberg said he is working to make sure that “the increased costs that may be incurred don’t land disproportionately on the kind of people that live here on the coast … like in Toledo, where the plants there could be affected by this and they’re working on a thin margin.”
Gomberg said that he couldn’t imagine what Toledo would look like if the bill drove Georgia-Pacific out of the state, leaving so many unemployed.
The final component that Gomberg shared was specific to his district: a pilot program that he proposed.
“I introduced legislation earlier this year to try and get technical support for small communities, because the state is generating dollars for housing but we often don’t have the resources to apply and qualify for it,” said Gomberg. “We don’t have a big grant department, we don’t have a group of people who are getting ahold of the money that is being allocated to address this pressing problem. So, I suggested that we provide technical assistance to small communities; that came back with a $2.5 million price tag to provide technical support across the state.”
The leadership of the Ways and Means Committee was unsure, as that is a hefty amount to invest into a new program. Gomberg said that he then proposed a pilot program in a small part of the state to test it out and see how effective it could be — specifically, he proposed running the pilot program in Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop counties.
“So that’s what we’re working on right now,” said Gomberg, “to try and find another way to generate the support we need, so that we can grasp some of the dollars that are being allocated.”