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Urban Renewal: Surprisingly interesting – and comprehensible


The Portland Tribune’s 6/12/08 article, by Steve Law, on urban renewal areas, When Will They End?, was an astonishingly good read. (Law librarians are admittedly wonkish, but still, if you want to know what an urban renewal district is, this story was riveting, and kept me occupied the length of a long morning commute (including fellow passengers who also seemed interested (maybe morning commuters are also a wonky and an alert bunch :-))


“… Under Oregon’s system, cities and counties create an urban renewal district, and “freeze” the property taxes in the district going to schools and other local governments. Any property taxes derived from new development or rising property value go to urban renewal authorities….” (full story)

And if you thought this particular Portland urban renewal district that is the subject of the article affects just Portland, read on:


“…. If that property were put back onto the regular tax rolls …Portland Public Schools would collect an additional $1.7 million a year from its local option levy and “bond gap” levy authorized by the Legislature. Another $4.7 million would go to Portland Public Schools from local property taxes, instead of coming from the State School Fund. The impact would be to free $4.7 million for other school districts around the state….” [my emphasis] (full story)

For more on this particular urban renewal district extension:

* City of Portland
* Portland Development Commission

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One response to “Urban Renewal: Surprisingly interesting – and comprehensible”

  1. John Williams says:

    I have totaled the loss of State School funds during the last 15 years of Urban Renewal projects in Oregon. The state education fund (fed from income taxes)has been tapped for a MINIMUM of $400 million. And as hinted in the Tribune story, much of the value used by UR plans to increase their take is value that would have appreciated without UR.

    The data is not easily available for all the years before 1992, but it would send the total loss well over $500 million.

    John Williams
    (former Mayor, Oregon City)

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