The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funds an annual health ranking program that looks at a variety of data sets at the County level to arrive at rankings for health.
The 2019 rankings have been released and are available here: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/oregon/2019/county/snapshots/065/print
For 2019, Wasco County was ranked 17th in the state with lighter colors signalling better performance/health for the communities.
Severe housing cost burden in Wasco County was one factor, not included in the overall ranking, that was flagged as being a potential physical environment constraint on healthy living. Oregon Housing and Community Services has published several reports, based in part on Census data, demonstrating that Wasco County and The Dalles have a large percentage of severely rent burdened households. Severely rent burden is defined as households that spend more than 50% of their income on rent. Wasco County and Hood River are ranked in the top five of counties in Oregon that are the most expensive for housing (https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/rent-mortgage-vs-health-care-an-aching-tradeoff/).
Oregon Housing and Community Services has published a five year housing plan that identifies rural housing, and land use regulations in particular, as a target for addressing housing issues. Analysis of our housing regulations, and feedback from community members, helped produce our short list of housing related strategies to build in to Chapter 10 (Goal 10: Housing) of Wasco County 2040, the Wasco County Comprehensive Plan. Based on input from our outreach, Wasco County Planning staff will be presenting to the Citizen Advisory Group on May 7th some possible policies and implementation strategies to help reduce barriers to housing. Some of those recommendations are covered in the Wasco County 2040 2019 Outreach report.
We invite you to participate in the meeting, email or mail comments, or submit comments through the website.
See a pdf version of the snapshot: