RIGGINS — Continuing discussion raised at its meeting last month, the Riggins City Council will visit on the issue of a lack of affordable housing in the community at its meeting tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 13.
In a social media post by the City of Riggins last Friday, it stated a group of Salmon River School District staff attended the December council meeting to voice concerns about the lack of affordable housing in town. In discussion, it was stated people are being displaced due to either an increase in their monthly rent or a change in the status of their rental, noting that many local rental properties have been converted to vacation rentals. According to the post, school district staff stated there is also a wage gap in Riggins with long-term rentals having “metro” pricing.
In a Dec. 9 letter to the council, in support of district staff and their concern, Salmon River Jr/Sr High School Principal Kyle Ewing stated, “The lack of affordable housing and rental units is a threat to our students’ learning, a threat to the success of our schools, and a threat to the long-term health and stability of our community.”
Ewing wrote this issue has come to his attention on several occasions in the past couple of years, and that it is currently affecting four staff members.
“This is an issue throughout the state,” stated Councilor Brady Clay, as noted in the city’s post. “The geographic location of Riggins limits building — We’re between a mountain and the river. There are very few properties in city limits that are buildable, but with some negotiation and creativity… can we come together and fix the problem? What have other small cities done?”
According to the city, resources and information are being gathered from the Clearwater Economic Development Association and the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, which will be reviewed and discussed at the Jan. 13 meeting.
The Riggins City Council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. (MT), in the council chambers. Those not wanting to attend in person can view the meeting online through Zoom. Contact the city for details: 208-628-3394.