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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making inroads against the "urban renewal" scam

There's a "work session" scheduled in Salem today on a bill that would shield some local option tax levies from being raided by "urban renewal" (i.e., developer welfare) plans. This would doubtlessly help some school districts, but what we'd really like to see is abolition of "urban renewal" in Oregon altogether. It's a bunch of worthless boondoggles, doing much more harm than good.

Comments (13)

How about they do more than making "inroads" and just shut them down state-wide, like Moonbeam did to the south?

"Developer welfare" is good but that can take so many other forms. How about "Urban Plunder"?

Oh look, they define blight; one of the elements is a lack of planning. Laugh out loud.

How about they do more than making "inroads" and just shut them down state-wide, like Moonbeam did to the south?

Because it's just too much slush money to give up. Besides they don't see urban renewal scams as the problem, just that other "worthy" funding is being cut. The obvious solution is to make sure both get money. After all, money grows on trees around here.

Look for blight to come skating through your neighborhoods,
once given a foot, they go miles!

Mr. Grumpy agrees with Andrew. Nothing is going to change because government and developers have colluded to form a self-serving and self-sustaining body and there's simply too much money to be made, either by shaking it out of the residents, or by developing and marketing a pristine environment in order to "save it". It's the perfect rip-off, really. It's the return of the "company town".

Many of us probably appreciate the attempt to better define "blight", if we have to have UR, but Bill 2632 is definitely a slipper slope. For example look at a few of the proposed definitions of blight:

"(1) 'Blighted areas'..one ... or more of the following conditions."

Buildings...unfit...because of one or a combination of following conditions.

(A) Defective design and quality of physical construction..faulty interior arrangement and exterior spacing.

(E) Obsolescence, deterioration, dilapidation, mixed character or shifting of use;"

There is much more that opens a pandora's box of interpretation. Take "one or more..conditions", apply "faulty interior arrangement", then if one or a few houses or a few commercial buildings are determined arbitrarily to have poor floor plans (however that is determined), then a governmental agency can urban renewal you. Your house only has 1 1/2 baths, while the norm is to have 2 1/2 baths so you are "faulty".

What is also missing is that there should be some fixed economic measurement with explicit number percentages with a high threshold that would allow the creation of a URA. It has to be well spelled out so that bureaucrats/pols/planners can't just take the loose words and call "Blight" whenever they want.

Also, the maximum indebtedness of a UR needs to be limited, based not on a whole city, county formula, but on a percentage of the tax base of the proposed boundaries of an URA.

If more concrete restrictions can't or won't be done, then UR should be throttled or eliminated.

An end run around property tax limits (page 2; item D)?
With that definition of blight it would have been more economical to not define it.

Developers are not a protected class. Instead of taxpayers providing welfare for socially engineered development, if the market won't support it without subsidies, it shouldn’t be built.

...mixed character or shifting of use...

Scary words indeed, who is defining?
At one point even though the codes were in place, a city evaluation came back saying that essentially it was no longer whether the project fit in with the character of the neighborhood as it exists, but now with the character as the city sees it in the future.
The city can say and do a lot when they know that the financial money needed to go against their actions can be too enormous. Talk about a set up cruelty, when these people are supposed to be on our side!!

I'm pretty worried about H.B. 2338 to enlist a task force to extend WES to Salem.

Oh, and it "declares an emergency"...say what??? (Nearly every other law declares an emergency...if it's illegal for me to misuse 9-1-1 or shout "FIRE!" in a crowded theater...oh, never mind...)

Supporters are either getting the picture that opposition is rising, or that federal funding may dry up, consquently they're in a big hurry to sign contracts in secret and get to that "it's too late to turn back now, you'll get sued!" stage. We've seen it before.

SHEESH! I have wondered for a huge amount of time if I was hallucinating or what, when I started seeing the horrible waste, delusional thinking and discovering the strange tangled "can of worms" that is (I think, but can't quite get a handle on this) what I thought was out City Government. Understand, I am from the West side of our region - Beaverton, etc. So, I did not think a lot about daily municipal life. I was busy raising a family and being employed. So, moving to inner city Portland and observing what is happening to our once "nice to live in" City has shocked me! For me, it started with small things that occurred with our neighborhood "Association". Things such as painting neighborhood intersections psychedelic and crazy patterned colors and promoting a bike path "To Nowhere" that can never be finished and can never be maintained after the first year of installation. This bike path will remove an existing, in perfect condition, cement sidewalk and the whole cost is $2.5 Million Dollars. Taken away from essential services i.e. street repair, fire, police and education. After trying to make sense of the smaller items, I discovered the truth about PDC's Urban Renewal or Business Development Corridors!! MY GOD!! THE MONEY!! It boils down to them desperately trying to come up with projects (one day street fairs, etc) to justify their existence AND their salaries. Now I find out that the Executive Director of PDC has put into place the edict that no has the right to complain about PDC's decisions and that the Executive Director's decisions ARE FINAL!! OHH, SO MUCH MORE - greed, fraud, misrepresentations, etc. etc. I'm Happy to find this blog. I thought I was alone in my observations.

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