Homelessness in Oregon is caused by lack of affordable housing, decline of the forest industry, reduction in mental hospital capacity, drug and alcohol addiction. Overzealous land-use regulation and money printing by the Federal Reserve has driven up housing costs. Progressives are often blind to consequences of government programs. California, Oregon, and Washington have intentionally reduced the supply of housing and caused a lack of affordable housing. Houston and Laredo, Texas have little zoning regulation, and as a result have affordable housing.
Douglas County recently considered opening up 35,000 acres of rural land zoned forest and grazing to 20-acre home plots. Deschutes and Jefferson counties submitted letters of support. Douglas county withdrew its plan because the change was opposed by Oregon's LCD Department, Department of fish and wildlife, and the 1,000 Friends of Oregon anti-growth super PAC. Housing supply has simply not kept up with demand. Most policymakers and media reports overlook the elephant in the room. The supply dilemma can largely be attributed to onerous zoning regulations.
Another major cause of homelessness is poor forest management. Oregon has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Environmentalists have decimated Oregon's number one business, the forestry industry. Living-wage jobs have been lost, plus service related jobs dependent upon the forest industry have been lost. Divorce, alcoholism, and homelessness have increased. The State and county governments have not replaced lost forest revenues. The Endangered species Act established the rights of animals as transcendent to the rights of mankind and is a post-Christian worship of nature. Reducing fuels through logging and thinning would result in a decrease in forests fires, and provide jobs. Less restrictive zoning would reduce homelessness. Progressive regulations have consequences.