By editorial board • 

No room at the inn for low income

As Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote almost 250 years ago, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” And so it seems with well-meaning city and county plans to foster new housing options for the low income families and individuals.

Three lines of attack leap first to mind when it comes to accommodating the burgeoning homeless population in our increasingly upscale, tourist-oriented environs: places where families living out of dilapidated RVs can park their rigs, clusters of tiny houses that can be developed at relatively modest cost and parks or lots capable of accommodating relatively inexpensive mobile homes.

So far, little progress has been made on RV sites to serve the homeless and none on development of tiny house clusters to that same end. Meanwhile, we are, it seems, taking two steps backward for ever step forward on mobile home capacity.

Of course, the city and county aren’t in the development business. While they can offer inducements and accommodations, they ultimately remain reliant on private parties. And, it should be noted, both have respective initiatives and projects underway to create low income housing

However, three stories on Tuesday suggest private parties envision more future only at the other end of the spectrum — the high end, driven by wine country tourism.

Last week, county planners approved an RV park just outside Dundee on Fox Farm Road. Much to the delight of neighbors, the applicant is planning to develop on the site of a demolition dump, eliminating a longtime eyesore.

However, he won’t be reserving spaces for RVs accommodating low-income families. He’s proposing extensively landscaped facilities for luxury vehicles, complete with a winetasting venue.

Earlier this summer, two Californians announced plans to develop McMinnville’s first cluster of tiny houses on Alpine Avenue.

But they aren’t targeting low income either. Their proposed custom cottage project, dubbed the Boutique Retreat, is designed to attract wealthy wine country tourists interested in a more memorable type of vacation rental.

Meanwhile, Amber Johnson, who is holding down two jobs to support her 7- and 10-year-old children, faces eviction from the Coachman Manor mobile home park on First Street.

She’s the final tenant, in fact. The rest have already pulled up stakes to make way for an apartment complex none of them can afford.

Johnson will be moving in with her mom, as she can’t find anything else within her means.

Coachman Manor’s demise follows that of many similar parks. No replacements are in the offing, and if there were, they wouldn’t be accepting yesterday’s single-wides.

We take no exception to any of these developments. They each figure to add value and meet demonstrated demand. But we can’t help but note the unfortunate irony.



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