The Oregonian: First-year urban renewal spending in new Education District would mostly stay in PDC: Portland City Hall roundup
Author: Brad Schmidt, The Oregonian
Posted: February 4, 2013

Read the original story here in The Oregonian.

Portland's newest urban renewal district is up and running, and the big financial winner in the upcoming fiscal year may end up being none other than Portland's own urban renewal agency.

The Portland Development Commission has proposed spending $1.2 million from the Education District's $1.9 million 2013-14 budget to reimburse the agency for start-up expenses and to transfer land from a different urban renewal zone. The spending plan is listed in the agency's requested budget, which faces the prospect of revisions before being adopted later this spring.

In 2012, the Portland City Council approved the new 144-acre district, which can borrow up to $169 million to pay for projects largely centered around Portland State University. Officials drew the boundaries to omit the site of the proposed Oregon Sustainability Center, but the new district does include neighboring land that used to be in the South Park Blocks urban renewal district.

Patrick Quinton, PDC's executive director, said the agency needs to transfer ownership of the so-called "Jasmine" block from the South Park Blocks zone to the Education District. That requires selling the land from one district to the other. Quinton said officials are waiting for an appraisal but the value is expected at somewhere between $750,000 to $950,000.

Meanwhile, the agency also fronted money toward the creation of the new Education District. Former Mayor Sam Adams called for a broad review of urban renewal that ultimately led to the new district, and there were many studies along the way.

Quinton said PDC spent about $500,000 but the agency may reimburse itself only about $250,000.

"I don't think we're likely to burden the new district for all that," he said. "But we certainly want to recoup our out of pocket expenses."

All along, the PDC has expected the first years of spending from the new district to be minimal.

Of the $13.1 million slated within the first five years, the agency projected spending about $2.1 million for administrative expenses, $3.8 million for affordable housing and $3.1 million to Multnomah County.