Housing program awards first applicants

During Monday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Jeff Gowing proclaimed Feb. 11, 2020 to be Magnolia Gardens Senior Living Day in honor of the assisted living facility’s service to the community.

The Cottage Grove City Council has received and approved its first three requests for assistance under the city’s new Housing Development Cost Assistance Program.

The program was adopted when councilors voted for the housing policy during the Jan. 13 City Council meeting. Under the new assistance program, which targets nonprofits and government agency developers, applications may request assistance from the city on development costs related to system development charges and building permit fees.

Requests were submitted by Cottage Village Coalition, Legion Cottages and DevNW.

Subject to approval of a supplemental budget proposal on Feb. 10, Cottage Village Coalition was approved for $82,235 in assistance, $23,877 to Legion Cottages and DevNW the remaining $8,888.

The decision has effectively drained the program’s funds for the remainder of the fiscal year.

“Housing is in such desperate shortage in our community,” said Councilor Mike Fleck. “We have these great groups that are working toward that. … I’m just thrilled that we’re able to help them in some small part.”

Representatives from each of the projects expressed their appreciation to the council.

“You’ve come up with a very thoughtful, very deliberate and innovative way of approaching hous-ing and recognizing the diversity of housing needs that are within our community,” said Bruce Kelsh, chair of the Cottage Village Coalition. “We thank you very much for your support.”

In other council news:

Magnolia Gardens Senior Living Day Proclamation

Mayor Jeff Gowing declared Feb. 11, 2020, to be Magnolia Gardens Senior Living Day in celebration of 25 years of the assisted living facility’s service in Cottage Grove.

Magnolia Gardens Senior Living broke ground in October 2019 on a new multi-million-dollar expansion project which aims to provide 20 additional memory care suites and 17 additional assisted living suites to the community.

Right-of-Way Purchases

Councilors voted unanimously to approve right-of-way purchases and sale agreements to purchase 40 parcels of land required to construct sidewalks meeting Americans with Disabilities Act standards for the Lincoln Middle School Safe Routes to School project.

Several landowners along East Harrison and South Fourth Street have signed purchase offers sent out by Lane County.

The $70,595 in parcel purchases will be funded through the city’s street fund.

Census 2020

The city has partnered with U.S. Census staff to find ways to reduce the non-response rate for the community and improve the accuracy of the local count.

“This Census will be very important for the State of Oregon as we may be able to acquire additional congressional seats,” said City Manager Richard Meyers. “It’s also very important for us in funding that we receive, the hospital receives and the school district. Even nonprofit organizations receive funding as a result of the count.”

Michelle Maher, partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, delivered an informational presentation at the council meeting.

Maher highlighted non-response factors such as those who are highly mobile, complex living arrangements, lack of knowledge about the Census, rapidly changing technology causing disuse of USPS mail and distrust of government.

Cottage Grove and its surrounding South Lane area has a non-response rate of about 18 to 20 per-cent, according to the Census website.

As well as determining state representation in Congress, Maher stated that Census data is used to inform how $675 billion of federal funding is allocated each year, funding which is funneled to areas such as transportation, housing, education and healthcare.

The George Washington Institute of Public Policy reported that in the 2016 fiscal year, Oregon re-ceived nearly $13.5 billion through 55 federal spending programs which were informed by data derived from the 2010 Census.

Data collection has already begun in Alaska and will continue through May. Census Day will be observed April 1 nationwide as a reference date.

Maher encouraged interested citizens to join the effort for accurate local counts.

“We’re way low on our recruiting goals,” she said.

Paid supervisory and non-supervisory positions are available in Lane County.

Applications may be found online at 2020census.gov/jobs.

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