So I just read meeting minutes, and I think the WG should look into 64-bit kernel + 32-bit everything else. With that, there's a supported kernel. The i686 images will be created no matter what, per releng's comments, so they might as well be in a supportable condition.
This also means not quiting i686 cold turkey. And while unsupported, is not impracticle for users to tack on a 32-bit kernel themselves if they really have 32-bit only x86 hardware (if 32-bit kernels will continue being built, which arguably they shouldn't be if they can't be supported).
This is the path of least resistance and change. And acknowledges kernel team's concern/limitations.
I think status quo (32-bit kernel) is risky. It could turn out worse than dropping i686 altogether.