Everyone has a role to play in housing efforts

Editorial voice of the Chieftain

It has become abundantly clear over the past couple months that housing in Wallowa County is a topic that impacts the lives of many residents on a daily basis.

Whether you are on assistance and looking for Section 8 housing or a middle-class business manager seeking an affordable home to rent, prospects are equally bleak.

Although recent discussions have brought the issue back onto the table, lack of adequate housing across the board has been a long-term issue. There’s been a lot of talking, not that much doing.

Now we are on the cusp of the “doing” phase this time around. Several groups and organizations have stepped up and made commitments. Yeoman work has been done by Rich Wandschneider and his group, part of the Brown Bag luncheon series at Josephy Center. Wallowa County Rotary Club has stepped into action, as have other groups and organizations.

Someone once said paying lip service is the cheapest way to address an issue. But to move the issue forward requires planting a seed, then watering it and then harvesting. It’s a concept people in an agricultural part of the world understand. No seed, no harvest.

The scope of the housing issue indicates that there is a role to play for every sector of our societal fabric. The faith community has a role to play. The county and cities have roles to play.

Perhaps most importantly, average citizens have roles to play. Everyone brings background and a set of skills to the issue. The amount of life experience represented in Wallowa County’s residents is massive.

What is your role in helping solve the housing crisis in Wallowa County?

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, it’s time for all of us to ask what we can do for the impacted citizens of our county and those who would gladly live and work here if housing opportunities were available.

Further, JFK talked about doing things that were “hard,” because we don’t shrink back from daunting tasks.

One day, we will all look back at this day in our history and note with due pride that time in space when doing something about the housing crunch replaced talking about it.

And when the curtain finally opens, the production that results from all of the players succeeding in their roles will represent hard work and solution-based outcomes.

Let’s do this.

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