The city of Irrigon has amended its Housing Development Program to provide greater incentive for building new homes in and around the community.

The program, which launched in February 2015, is funded by the Columbia River Enterprise Zone and administered through the Boardman Community Development Association. It provides grants for homebuyers to purchase or build houses within the Irrigon ZIP code, so long as they live and work in Morrow County.

Applicants originally received $5,000 grants, though homebuyers intending to purchase an existing home will now receive only $2,000. Anyone looking to construct a new permanent home is still eligible for the full $5,000. The changes were approved Tuesday by the Irrigon City Council.

“If people are building a home, they’ll get a much bigger incentive,” said city manger Aaron Palmquist.

Since the Housing Development Program was established, Palmquist said the city has awarded 62 applications, with 15 more in the queue. However, among those, just three have resulted in new developments.

“That’s not really a good percentage,” Palmquist said.

In addition, Palmquist said the changes will make the program more sustainable, and allow more people to potentially receive grants and move into town.

“Our council is looking at how can we have strength and stability in the program, as well as longevity,” he said.

In order to qualify for a grant through the Irrigon Housing Development Program, applicants must first attend a homebuyers training class offered through CAPECO. The house must be used as the applicant’s primary dwelling for at least five years. No funding will be awarded until all conditions have been met.

For more information, contact Irrigon City Hall at 541-922-3047.

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Contact George Plaven at 541-966-0825.

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