This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 21, 2011 9:41 AM. The previous post in this blog was Oregon "lottery" has no time to listen to taxpayers. The next post in this blog is Well, of course. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Friday, October 21, 2011

Portland "urban renewal" property tax breaks 26 cents on dollar

Our annual property tax statement has arrived, and here is the tale of the tape:

As can be seen, the "urban renewal" tax now exceeds 26% of all of the property taxes that the City of Portland takes in. On a more encouraging note, property taxes for Portland police and fire pensions actually dropped as compared to last year, although the longer trend is still clearly upward.

The new taxes are there -- money for the historical society, a hefty jump in the operating levy for Portland public schools, and "new" Portland bonds -- that's the extra tax we have to pay to buy fire trucks. Overall, our tab went up by about 5.4%. Go by streetcar!

UPDATE, 10/22, 12:24 p.m.: We've crunched some more of the numbers, here.

Comments (24)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought there was a state imposed limit of 25%?


The limit is 15% of all assessed value and 15% of total acreage.

Smaller cities get to use 25%. Many of which have or are in the process of maxing out on municipal improvements that generate no new taxes.

Leaving them incappable of "investing" in any UR job creation plans.

25 cents to Police/Fire Pensions + 25 cents to UR debt payments leaves only 50 cents for services. A big piece of that is spent on administration and other debt service, leaving perhaps 35 cents or so really going to police, fire, parks - the stuff people really care about.

Alright, we're spending more on urban renewal than we are on police pensions - That's good, right?

I this before or after the, almost, $100 million collected taxes that is diverted to UR districts through TIF?


I've done some of this math over the years on my own tax bill. Would love to see the final column -- share of the tax bill for each jurisdiction -- over time.

And Jim, the city calculates the TIF rate on a city-wide basis, even for property, such as Jack's, not in an urban renewal area. So that rate accounts for the $110 million they will collect this year.

How do you expect Homer and Hoffmann to turn a profit in a tough economy without URA dollars?

"So that rate accounts for the $110 million they will collect this year."

And there is not a single public school district or board opposing this outrage.

Instead they tell the public UR doesn't hurt their schools much becasue "the state backfills the loss".

However techniccly accurate, it's another pants on fire lie by public school administrators.

As they know full well when they tell this whopper their loss to UR debt is severe but state law allows districts to lie by spreading the impact by inflicting loss upon every other public school in the state.

What good would it do to know more?

The 2010 PDC 5 year projected impact on PPS was completely ignored by district officials trying to mass their massive levy.

Even now everything they they do is conniving manipulation to posture and play politics. The last thing they will ever do is tell the truth, come clean and faciliate genuine reform.

That would be too troublesome for their political cronnies in city hall and elsewhere.

So, if Portland has already exceeded the state maximum, what exactly are the consequences supposed to be? What's supposed to happen next? Or is this like when certain people with the right connections philander in bathrooms with teens?

The 26% of taxes collected is not the same as 26% of all assessed value.

The limit is not a percentage of taxes collected.

So unless I have missed it and someone has checked recently they are probably still under the limit.

But still, it is a monster nearly every elected official in sight knowingly neglected for either conflicted, ignorant or fearful of being cast as a trouble causer.

Can't have anyone rock the boat.

Beside that would take some authentic leader with integrity.

Now that's funny.

...As they know full well when they tell this whopper their loss to UR debt is severe but state law allows districts to lie by spreading the impact by inflicting loss upon every other public school in the state...

I have ofter wondered about this, if pdx URA's hurts every other public school in the state, where is the outrage about this?
I would think all around the state, there would be big noise about this...am I missing something?

Unfortunately, it looks like officials here simply don't really care about the children, do they?

Can we get Urban Renewal to be renamed to something more meaningful?

Maybe something like:

Developers and Elites Backdoor Tax (DEBT)

"I would think all around the state, there would be big noise about this...am I missing something?"

Yes and why is it such a mystery?

The vast majority of the UR misuse and abuse is by people who are conflicted by political alliances.

PPS and their supporters are not going to do anything to tarnish Adams et al and Metro, TriMet etc. or their agenda they also endorse.

The whole school board is a gullible green mindlessly supporting all things sustainable. Even if it means perpetual fiscal crisis and cronic mediocrity.

It's all a despicable political cesspool.

I might be wrong, but I think the urban renewal tax is related to the older URAs (South Park Blocks, Downtown Waterfront, Central Eastside, and Convention Center). It seems like this should be going down instead of up since South Park Blocks and Downtown Waterfront expired in 2008. Or, maybe it continues until the bonds are 100% paid. I'm curious when that is expected.

I don't think the tax has anything to do with the more recent ones (i.e. River District, South Waterfront, Lents, Interstate, etc.).

Sounds like several good reasons to move out of Portland ASAP before it even gets worse. By the way, here in Nevada the property taxes have been going DOWN for the past three years. Plus if you're a veteran, you get an extra discount on either your property taxes or your vehicle registration fees. (But not both!)
Reno and Washoe County are basically working on a 2002 budget, have cut at least 200 public employees and told both the police and fire unions to either accept lower pay or they start cutting positions. Both unions caved in, by the way. And the Fireboys are now riding three man trucks instead of four man trucks.

How much for the new boats?

Jack can you point us to some resources in Portland where a person could learn how to contest our taxes and get walked through the cities process? I know it is a loosing battle but worth the effort.

Here's a resource to appeal property taxes, if you want to hire someone: First Class Property Tax Appeals-www.1st-Properties.com or 503 345 7441.

Very knowledgeable and experienced. Has resources for all of OR and most of WA.

The sheeple pay and pay and pay because they do not understand TIF.
Of course the status quo must be maintained so the media never discuss this issue and this is one of the few public forums where TIF and the Urban Renewal rip off and robbery is discussed.
Unfortunately this is like preaching to the choir.
It is too bad that a real tax revolt could not be organized.

One of the little discussed features of urban renewal is that the TIF credit line increases with each new tax increased that is passed.

Even worse, the properties inside a UR district with fr ozen values aren't taxed for new bond levies even though voters in the district got to vote on those new levies.

clinamen: Last I checked, the state school fund forgoes $120 million every two year budget due to the impact of TIF statewide.

PDXpessimist: The TIF impact of URAs, old and new, is calculated as a citywide rate, which is then used for the compression calculations. You are right that the when URAs expire, they can no longer issue debt, but must continue to collect TIF for a while (often 20 years) to pay off that debt.

Panchopdx: Properties inside urban renewal areas pay the same tax rates as the rest of us. And when the tax rate goes up, that does yield additional TIF revenue for UR.


Properties within a UR district with a frozen value do not contribute to new tax levies on an equal basis with non-UR properties. In some of the older ur districts, there are properties that pay less than 40 cents on the dollar toward tax levies that are fully paid by everyone outside the district.

My point is that these same property owners get to pass new taxes that they don't fully pay. In a fair world they would have a weighted vote that didnt exceed their frozen value ratio. If you only pay half the tax rate for your district, maybe you should only have half a vote.

Panchopdx, property values are not frozen in URAs. The frozen base has to do with the distribution of the taxes collected, not the amount that is collected from individual property owners. Sarah is right, properties in URAs pay at the same rate as people outside the URAs.

Clicky Web Analytics