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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Branding malarkey at the Portland housing bureau

We lamented a while back that the City of Portland was spending mucho consultant dinero trying to generate a "brand" for its public housing for the poor. Well, who knows how much they spent, but they've come up with a sexy new name for the housing authority. Henceforth it will be called "Housing Forward."

Isn't that special?

UPDATE AND CORRECTION, 2:04 p.m.: City Commissioner Nick Fish responds that the city did not pay for this rebranding, and that the Housing Authority of Portland is not a city bureau. Fascinating, and we regret our error. But that begs a couple of additional questions that we'll have to work on: Just what is the Housing Authority of Portland, and what ever became of the actual housing bureau's "strategic planning" effort?

Comments (11)

Hmmm... sounds like "Wagon's Ho!"

"Taxpayers Backward"

Hope Access Potential

Nice byline they use; too bad the rest of the citzens of Portland do not see any of these three concepts in the acts of its leaders.


The City of Portland did not spend one dime on this rebranding.

Portland Housing Bureau is the City's housing bureau; Home Forward, formerly HAP, is not a City agency or bureau.

Nick Fish

Nick is petulant.

For those who don't know, the Housing Authority and the city's Bureau of Housing are two different things. The Housing Authority administers mostly federal funds through HUD, through the public housing and Section 8 voucher programs.

The City's bureau... um... does some stuff. I think.

It's strange for a Housing Authority to rebrand itself, because HA's play a large and pretty specific role. This makes them sound like just another local non-profit managing a couple of properties.

Portland Hosing Bureau has a certain ring to it....

"Just what is the Housing Authority of Portland"

As far as I understand, HAP is a govt/non-profit corporation. They own housing and they distribute HUD/other grant money for affordable housing. Go to their WEBsite, they have about $100M annual budget.

20% of which goes to admin, so it's not cheap to run. I'd have a bigger issue with that than the name change.

The Housing Authority does the compliance inspections and tell you your concrete step and handrails are out of compliance with code.

It is under BDS as far as I am aware.

They follow nuisance complaints and insert themselves into places they feel they have a right to oversee. Enforcement is uneven and selective. Seems complaint driven now that budgets have been cut, but there are those special situations for certain people.

Don't know if Comm Saltzman plans any changes.

I always wanted Nick to respond to my questions about why that authority (formerly) known as HAP, who administer those federal funds plan to pay $400k per unit to rebuild properties such as Hillsdale Terrace, when on the open market multi unit properties can be purchased for far under $100, per unit?

Let's do that math...
$41.5 million (with an additional $5 M kicker from Council) was proposed when existing units could be bought for less than $10 million all in.

Who gets that $30 million difference?

Isn't that always the question?

Seems to me the slush in this fund goes to the administration and perpetuation of the cycle of dependency for those lower income residents, rather than a constructive means to reestablish and insert them into a productive and non dependent status in society.

But then we wouldn't need all that administrative staff. Anyone see a conflict of interest?

Looking at names on that admin and board might provide some of the answers.

And why are they so adamant against these units being called what they are "public housing" properties.

Mayor Katz and others for years kept saying we need more affordable housing in Portland, most people might think that yes we need more housing that is affordable which is very different than "public housing" - there seems to be a big push on this kind of housing. I sometimes think that if the city had their way, they would like to take a bulldozer over some neighborhoods and replace them with "public housing" projects one after another with very little space between.

$400k per unit?

Who gets that $30 million difference?
Isn't that always the question?

Sure would like some answers.

I'm not clear on what Housing Authority of Portland is. It isn't a corporation, it isn't a city bureau, it isn't (apparently) a partnership -- it may be some sort of multi-governmental agency. As of this afternoon, "Housing Authority of Portland" doesn't show on the secretary of state's website at all, and "Home Forward" shows only as a business name reserved by the Stoel Rives LLP law firm on May 20.

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