This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 18, 2006 2:38 AM. The previous post in this blog was No bill. The next post in this blog is Total recall (eventually). Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

E-mails, we get e-mails

In my e-mail inbox yesterday came a note from one of those little birds who tell me things. She notes that at this morning's Portland City Council meeting, the commissioners are scheduled to consider the "recommendation" of the Portland Development Commission about the "Tax Increment Financing for Affordable Housing Policy and Implementation Plan." This plan would require that 30% of the money the city spends on "urban renewal" -- most of which is currently going for toney condo farms and gelato joints -- be spent on building housing for regular people.

Indeed, when one checks the agenda of the other day's PDC meeting (a document which came out awfully late this time around), one sees that the PDC was indeed scheduled to vote on a resolution that would make recommendations on the subject.

But according to my little bird (who is usually a knowledgeable little bird), that's not exactly what the PDC did. Instead of adopting recommendations, she writes, they adopted their own policy. "PDC is basically telling Council 'this is what we've decided, if you don't like it you'll have to challenge it.'"

My my, could that be? Especially with the mayor's appointees all in place on the PDC board, you'd think they'd play nicey-nicey. We'll see if her little story is true, and whether there's any pushback from the council members, today.

Comments (10)

The problem is there's a lot of legitimate competition for those TIF dollars. Our neighborhood association, HAND, just last night voted to remind the Council and PDC that Central-Eastside TIF money has been promised for the long-fought for Community Center in SE at the WAMO (Washington-Monroe) school site. TIF money has also been promised for the Burnside-Bridgehead Couplet. The 30% for affordable housing, however laudable, could mess with these plans, long in the works, if applied to the Central Eastside Urban Renewal Area.

The problem is fair and equitable distribution of resources and tax based funding based on need or ability to pay.

Many things funded by TIF should have been funded as illustrated by this earlier post, by the developers whose construction and profits are putting the strain on the system.


Instead the tax burden to the tune of 20+% now as Jack pointed out earlier this week falls on neighborhood homes like yours and mine.

Think about how many neighborhood amenities, parks, police, street sweeping, leaf collection, 20% of your and your neighbors tax bill could purchase.

If your neighborhood had half that amount or 10% set aside for neighborhood improvments, not tax abatements for the rape of the Clay Rabbit, you could easily allocate money to pay back a LID for a new park and operating costs.

What PDC did, according to Willy Week today, is vote to make 30% a goal to be spread across all URAs, rather than a hard number to be reached in each of them.

So...They average across all the districts?

Over time, that makes for a concentration of high end in one area and a concentration of "affordable" in another.

Shall we call it "ghettoization"?

That sounds as though its antithetical to the original objectives.

Over time, that makes for a concentration of high end in one area and a concentration of "affordable" in another.

Which I suspect is why Sten's reaction in today's Willy Week reads to me like a polite version of "WTF?"

Could it be the PDC staff? Could it be that this group of commissioners, busy elsewhere, are being led astray by the staff?

No, Jack, it's not the staff.

For anyone who missed the cablecast live, I heartily recommend catching the re-run. Highly entertaining. Council voted 4-1 (Potter against) to table the PDC report instead of accepting it. And they voted unanimously for Erik's amendment adopting the Council's policy of 30% in each applicable Urban Renewal Area, rather than 30% average. Lots of implied "We're in charge" from PDC commissioners, lots of stated "If you are, we will change that" from Randy, Sam, and Erik, all of whom were awesome.

The vote on the amendment was the only one taken today. The whole package is voted on at second reading. Second readings are usually dull with no comments..... I will be watching this one to see if there are further political maneuverings in the interim.

I guess my little bird was right.

I wish that, instead of just posting the agendas of their meetings, the PDC and the Council also posted what happened at them. It wouldn't kill anyone for them to post the text of the resolutions that have passed as soon as they are passed.

It also wouldn't be too hard to put links to reports and other relevant background in the web version of the Council agendas, posted on Fridays. Today at Council, both in the Rosa Parks Way item this morning, and in the Human Rights Commission and Immigrant inclusion discussions this evening, there was a lot of talk about the importance of citizen participation. Yet when there is something simple that would greatly assist citizens in finding pertinent information, like posting the new version PDC adopted on Monday, it doesn't get done.

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