The Mercury Endorsement Strike Force had a rare moment of unanimity in hashing out our stance on Measure 26-179, which would charge the average homeowner about $75 a year for the next two decades in order to devote $258.4 million on much-needed affordable housing.

We were all primed for the cause, digging on the promise of progress in a rapidly shifting housing market that needs to add roughly 25,000 affordable units. But then we were reminded of the number that came with that promise: 1,300 units either built or refurbished within the next eight years.

To every one of us, it felt paltry given the magnitude of the need. It also felt like a lot of money. But we’re supporting the measure anyway.

As one Strike Force member put it, “It’s like I’m starving to death, I go to this restaurant, and it’s $10 for a corner of a piece of bread. Yeah, I guess I’ll pay it. I’m starving.”

But it’s more than just the city’s abject need that convinces us the housing bond is a wise investment.

The measure’s critics knock the high price city officials tend to gladly dole out for affordable housing, which can cost much more than comparable market rate units. Should the 1,300-unit figure stand (it’s a floor, not a ceiling), we’re talking nearly $200,000 per unit.

There are valid reasons for that high price tag, but also questions.

Part of the cost, City Commissioner Dan Saltzman says, comes from the city’s pledge to build high-quality units. “We are going to build these units to last 100 years,” he says. “They’re going to be energy efficient, water efficient.”

Officials have motivation to follow through: The properties created or fixed up by the bond money would be owned by the City of Portland as public amenities akin to libraries or schools. That’s a new step in Portland’s efforts to fight a housing boom that’s sending rents skyrocketing while wages sit stagnant. Affordable housing projects are typically owned by outside entities, and merely subsidized with public money.

The city’s also pledging to establish these affordable units throughout the city—including in the walkable, amenity-rich neighborhoods that longtime Portlanders are finding themselves evicted from.

Most crucially, nearly half of the pledged units, 600, would be affordable to people making 30 percent of the area’s median family income or less. That’s $22,000 for a family of four—the lowest of low-income. We need this housing.

Yes, this money should absolutely be watched carefully. The housing bureau has a spotty track record under past leadership, frequently breaking promises for creating affordable units or keeping existing affordable units around. We’ll be concerned—as will the city’s budget office—with ensuring that this money delivers the result it promises.

But we’re also starving. While other cities have enacted bonds like this for years, there’s never been so much will—or so much need—here in Portland. Vote “yes.”

Read the rest of our endorsements here.