This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 4, 2009 4:08 PM. The previous post in this blog was Cha-ching! More green for the boys. The next post in this blog is A ticket for jaywalking in downtown Portland. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Talking some sense into "urban renewal"

Here's someone calling for the legislature to take a long overdue look at the wayward slush funds known as "urban renewal" in Oregon.

"Every square inch of land in the state of Oregon can be considered blighted," Gorman said. "There are 14 very vague rules regarding blight and those vaguely written rules allow urban renewal agencies to basically declare whatever they want blighted."

A problem, though: The reformers have thrown in their lot with Dave Hunt and Ginny Burdick, who aren't going to rock the boat on this in any serious way. Hunt's latest claim to fame is carrying water for the Henry Paulson stadiums deal; Burdick is the state senator representing the Arlington Club.

Comments (5)

I applaud the Clackamas Co. Fire District 1 for shaking the tree on urban renewal. Over four years ago several people representing other taxing entities including a rep from FD 1, met to discuss how UR siphons off property tax dollars. I hope the discussion and subsequent UR legislation includes the other affected parties, like schools, police, counties, etc.

The Oregon UR statutes need to be refined with more explicit definitions and limitations. Like other states, voter approval for UR should be initiated. Term limits and stringent requirements for continuation or reforming/additions to UR districts should be employed like many other states. These refinements, plus what FD 1 is trying to accomplish, also expanded to other taxing entities being in the formula, should be included.

If not, there could easily be a backlash from voters to eliminate urban renewal. Especially in these economic times.

Given the Willamette Week article noted that Multnomah County is losing nearly $20 million a year due to property tax deferrals, I would think the economics may favor changes coming to the UR rules. Other local governments are also losing tax revenues, and given the times, this could be the opportunity to better regulate urban renewal activities.

I hope some critical mass is building to fix UR in this state. The WW article mentioned that Mult.Co. is supportive of changes. With the Pdx school district, I'd think that would be enough political pull to get some changes made no matter how much City of Portland whines.

Perhaps we can simply declare the entire state of Oregon to be blighted?

Erik Sten wants to make Bend a satellite of the Pearl URA.

Clicky Web Analytics