By Lars Larson
I want citizens, reporters and our so called leaders to do the math before they waste more of our money. In this case, it’s Portland City hall deciding today how to spend more than a quarter of a billion dollars on so called “affordable” housing.
They’ve already spent a bunch of money buying an existing apartment building. Call me crazy but how do you expand the supply of housing buying EXISTING housing.
But about that quarter billion. The city proudly says it will build or rehab 13-hundred apartments. Not a single report I’ve seen points out that the math works out to almost 200-thousand dollars a unit. That’s half the cost of an average house for goodness sake. Rob Justus, who builds a lot of apartments in this area brings in his average unit for 75-thousand bucks, about one third of what the rocket scientists at city hall plan to spend. But he builds without public subsidies, and his low costs are reflected in the rents he charges.
I’d like to suggest city hall consider doing it that way, but have you ever seen a 10 year old with his first ten dollar bill at the store? That’s city hall.