Portland: $67 million of tax increment financing for affordable housing

In late October of 2015, Portland, Oregon Commissioner Dan Saltzman announced a recommendation that advocates have long been looking forward to.

He filed an ordinance proposing that money specially reserved to build affordable housing should increase from a minimum of 30 percent to 45 percent of the money snatched up in five of the city’s urban renewal areas (URAs)—potentially adding $67 million to the coffers for cheap housing over five years.

Affordable housing advocates are thrilled, calling the proposed increase a victory. Leah Greenwood, a former senior policy manager for the Portland Development Commission (PDC) who’s advocated for ratcheting up affordable housing money, said after the announcement that she was pleased with Saltzman’s calculations.

To seriously address the affordability crisis, we have to look at all potential sources of funding,” Saltzman said in a press release. “Increasing the amount of money we spend in urban renewal areas is a community-led solution.

Advocates had initially pushed Saltzman for more.

The original proposal for increased housing money, made by civic group Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG), suggested Portland City Council raise the housing set aside to 50 percent of collected TIF (tax increment financing) money.

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