Tualatin cans "urban renewal" -- report
Down in Tualatin, the city held an open house on Thursday night to discuss whether it wanted to continue the "urban renewal" juggernaut -- funneling tax revenues to infrastructure projects and other frills that make developers wealthy but starve essential-service agencies. There was a lot of opposition expressed to renewing the "urban renewal" district, and the massive municipal government borrowing that comes with it, and according to one report we received on Friday, the city's decided not to go forward with the renewal -- at least not anywhere near along the lines of the current arrangement:
Last night I attended and contributed to Tualatin's open house/town hall regarding what was an imminent amendment to renew their 35 year old Urban Renewal district with a new $120 million plan.To have a place like Tualatin involved in "urban renewal" is a farce. There's never been any "urb" down there to begin with. It's a nice little town with some nice farmland nearby. It needs new apartment bunkers and plastic coffee shops like a hole in the head. Especially when these boxes come at the cost of services like fire protection. Bully for the firefighters down that way for standing up to real estate sharpies.
It was to be a typical mixed-use vision for the city center and be funded with the current Urban Renewal proceeds due to expire June 30th. The huge increment created with over 35 years of a frozen base for basic services and diverting the other 35 years of property tax increases to retiring their old debt is currently generating $2.2 million annually.
On June 30th the prior debt will be retired, the district will expire and the $2.2 million/year will now return to fund the full spectrum basic services. Along with the average 4% increases every year to come.
It's obvious the feedback from citizenry at last night's lengthy open house/town hall (7 pm - 11 pm) turned around the decision to extend the district.
Today Mayor [Lou] Ogden discussed the issue with council members and they made the decision to let the district expire and the debt retire.
Congratulations to them all.
When "urban renewal" and "tax
excrement increment financing" is sold to the taxpayers, the explicit promise is that some day, after all the debt is paid off, the increased property taxes generated by development will be available to pay for basic services. But in places like Portland, the city just extends the district, confirming that the original promises were lies.
Apparently Tualatin is going to show some decency and live up to the original commitment. We hope not only that this report is true, but that folks like the Multnomah County commissioners will also see how it's possible to face fiscal reality. Just say no to wasteful, ineffective "urban renewal"! Let's fix what we have -- it's falling apart -- before slapping up more Starbucks and building more apartment schlock.