Construction continues on homes in Northeast Bend. A shortage of affordable housing is a big issue in Wallowa County, but a bill before the Oregon Legislature would help create a new board to tackle the issue.

Pending legislation would give state government broad new authority to prod Oregon cities and the Portland metro area to promote more housing production — and penalize them if they do not.

The legislation, in the form of a proposed change to House Bill 2889, is seen as one step toward achieving the stated target of Gov. Tina Kotek to increase production to 36,000 units annually. She said in her inaugural remarks Jan. 9 that Oregon must make up for a decade-old shortage of 111,000 units plus provide for continued population growth — and more housing is the only long-term solution for homelessness.

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