I've got some good news and some bad news

First the bad news: The Portland "urban renewal" pork barrel is looking pretty empty.

Now the good news: The Portland "urban renewal" pork barrel is looking pretty empty.

"Urban renewal" builds swanky condo towers on the backs of working people who pay property taxes, either directly as homeowners or indirectly as renters. It's an invitation to corruption, and it tends to destroy the character of the city.

Of every $1,000 the city collects in property taxes, around $275 goes to "urban renewal." They rebrand it every now and then – it used to be the Portland Development Commission, now it's "Prosper Portland" – but it's a ton of money taken from average people and handed to developers, construction companies, and similar weasels. The fact that it's running low on dough does not evoke my tears.


  1. Somewhere your old blog is smiling.

    As I recall it worked like this: They'd take a section of downtown or wherever and create a zone where the property taxes are committed to a project. The property tax revenue from that zone never made it into city coffers so that meant more to worry about for the people living in places that weren't committed to some project, including paying for the new services the project might require.

    Then these districts were scheduled to dissolve after a ridiculous time like 20 years, etc...whereupon the zone from this magical project would suddenly start paying into the city again... theoretically. If they didn't extend the time limit first.

    The planners would then point to this estimated future tax revenue as proof that the whole project had been a brilliant and practical move. Of course, if the project flopped there would be not as much future tax revenue from it and it just turned into a short term get rich scam for everyone involved and a long term boondoggle for the city of Portland.

    Wasn't that it?


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