Focus and mindset on housing

To the Editor:

The mental whiplash in the January 15 issue of the Keizertimes demands not only a “change in mindset,” but “focused” scrutiny of our city leadership. 

Compare the articles, Buckle Up: Homes in Keizer white hot, extremely limited with new City Councilor Kyle Juran’s analysis of housing disparity in, Groundwork laid for council’s future efforts.

The first highlights the less than 10 homes available for sale in Keizer, with houses going above and beyond market value in a highly competitive market. 

The second, noting Juran’s assignment to a subgroup focused on reducing barriers to home ownership in Keizer, quotes Councilor Juran: “This is something I’ve noticed with employees. Most of the entry level carpenters I have hired make just above minimum wage and have no expectation of ever owning a house. It’s very achievable, they just need to change their mindset, focus and make it a goal.”

Setting aside the inherent condescension in that quote, two facts: 1) a local real estate ad from Jan. 7, 2021: 1 bedroom, 1 bath home, $219,000. 2) Oregon minimum wage as of January 7: $12.75/hr. Does Mr. Juran hire at even $15/hour? That’s $31,200/year. It takes more than a mindset and focus to make even a one bedroom house affordable.

Perhaps the Mayor should appoint Juran’s employees to the subgroup addressing housing disparity. It’s obvious they have a firmer grasp of reality. Juran could also set a very achievable goal of apologizing to his employees for his own mindset and commit to changing it. It’s possible, with focus.

Carolyn Homan