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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 10, 2012 8:45 AM. The previous post in this blog was Urban League of Portland gets another pass. The next post in this blog is Lake Oswego -- what a slum. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Right on cue

Yesterday we noted that thousands of taxpayer-subsidized apartment units are about to be slapped up in Portland neighborhoods -- not just wrecking the character of the 'hoods, but at taxpayer expense. Just a few hours later, this story hits the DJC -- about a 155-unit bunker at Interstate and Prescott. And it will get a federal government loan guarantee and at least one 10-year tax abatement from the City of Portland and Multnomah County.

Given that the population of Portland is growing so slowly any more -- and has been for many years -- why does the public need to be building these monstrosities? Apparently the pushers of the project are making their pitches based on unicorns and moonbeams:

"There seems to be enough job growth and population growth in the Portland market to justify all of these projects," Lawrence said. "We are pretty excited about the North Portland neighborhood – there’s quite a bit of opportunity there. We can attract downtown professionals who don’t want to pay the rates for downtown apartments, and will have only a 10-minute commute downtown."

Will somebody please tell these people that the Portland job market is all beat up -- especially downtown? And while you're at it, please give a shout out to the Cogue, who's about to hand over the money to them:

County officials are expected to vote on extensions of the transit-oriented development program and other tax exemption programs in March or April, according to Marissa Madrigal, chief of staff for Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen.

"In these tough budgetary times, all governments are looking at everything they’re doing, and by having these abatements we’re foregoing revenues that could otherwise be used for services," Madrigal said. "But I think with the long-term nature of the (transit-oriented development) program, there’s a good case to be made that we should continue."

"Long term," this city and county are bankrupt. But they hand it over to the real estate sharpies, time after time. What a racket.

Comments (10)

The taxpayer has to have these things for the same reason we have to have a 5 star convention center hotel, because there's still some change rattling around in them thar people's pockets, i.e, "monorail, monorail, monorail..."

"But I think with the long-term nature of the (transit-oriented development) program, there’s a good case to be made that we should continue."

Shouldn't this read "a case HAS been made"


"about a 155-unit bunker at Interstate and Prescott. And it will get a federal government loan guarantee and at least one 10-year tax abatement from the City of Portland and Multnomah County."

That Rockwood plan is exactly what was always planned for Interstate MAX and what is also planned for Milwaukie/McLoughlin.

So laughable (and depressing) that public officials preach that streetcars and lightrail themselves create development along their lines. But in reality it's all the things like "government loan guarantee and at least one 10-year tax abatement" and four other taxpayer giveaways and the big gorilla-the upzoning that increases density by 6 to 12 times.

In other words, the developers know what's coming. They know that Portland as it is today is a punchline in search of just the right joke, and they want to grab the last few pennies they can before they bail. They know that the seemingly incessant hipster migration is going to end because Portland is now "too mainstream, like yah," and they're pushing for the same exact reason Sam Adams isn't running again. They don't want to be stuck with the mess, and the bill, and the understanding that Portland doesn't really need these. The push is on to sign the contracts, and grab the cash, and slap something up before the game of musical chairs ends.

Seriously, there's one surefire way to tell how much of a joke this is. Ask the developers if they're willing to put down their own money to make it happen. If it's serious, and they really think these places are going to sell in this climate, they won't hesitate. However, if it's a scam, they'll fumfuh and stammer about "2 million people coming to Portland in ten years," and then cry about how they just can't do anything unless the city gives them a break.

Imagine moving to a place you've decided is THE place you want to stay for good awhile and raise a family, only to find out after you've bought in and after the tanked economy has limited your options that you're going to have start paying through the nose for less and less so that bulldozers can destroy your neighborhood and replace it with apartments and condos.

"Gotcha, suckers!"

"A few blocks east of the Prescott, Sierra Construction and another of its development entities own a nearly three-acre site known as the Bakery Blocks. Last week, New Seasons Market announced plans to open its 13th store on the north portion of the vacant site."

Someone get the DJC reporter a map... N Interstate and Prescott is a whole lot further than a few blocks to the west of where the proposed New Seasons on Williams would be. That's over a mile away on the other side of I-5 much further south of where the apartments would be.

As far as Interstate--it's a crap street with a great neighborhood(Overlook) to the west and pockets of crappy apartments and petty crime to the east. Outside of the Polish Festival and the Alibi(and George's is a great dive bar) there's not much of interest besides ghetto motels on that part of Interstate. I lived right off Interstate for three years and it's a great area, as long as you're a block to the west of Interstate...

I'm not seeing the amount of furor over this project, but they are basically applying for a HUD loan to build this thing.

The stinky part is the loan guarantee (or govt bonding) and the tax abatement. However, Mult COunty has always targeted areas for development and given out these tax abatements.

At least they aren't setting up a non-profit to own it and pay NO property taxes which makes me think this is going to be a market rent property.

"The Prescott is less than two miles away so we'll have to look at our overall portfolio to see what the market can support for the south block," he said. "But an anchor like New Seasons is an important component in helping us revitalize that site and rejuvenate the area."

This, combined with the tax abatement, is a slap in the face to any "indigenous" resident who has been struggling with a mortgage or paying rising rent costs. I didn't see any mention of anticipated rent or lease costs but you can bet this will not be particularly affordable (read: "market rate").

Jack: an interesting parallel to my previous argument about how the developer scum know that the end is coming:

http://news.yahoo.com/china-india-skyscraper-boom-may-herald-downturn-095904234.html

Very seriously, grab your wallet with both hands, and take care of yourself. I'm not feeling very confident about Portland's future over the next five years or so.


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