Portland property tax jumps 9 percent

You know that another year is rounding the far turn and heading into the home stretch when the property tax bill shows up. I usually pick mine apart pretty carefully. Doing so reveals the many layers of government to which property owners in Portland must hand over their hard-earned dough.

I've got a fuller analysis of this year's charges on my list of things to do, but it's worth stopping right at the outset to note that our bill is up 9.01 percent from what it was last year. Nine percent! The tax hit increases every year, but that's way bigger than what we normally see. Last year, the year-over-year increase was 3.82 percent, and at that point the ten-year average was 4.65 percent.

Of all the times to inflict a record-high property tax increase. The quality of life in Portland, which has been in steady decline since Dud Wheeler took over as mayor, has dropped like a rock in the past year. But this is the moment that has been chosen for crushing tax increases. If the lawlessness in the streets doesn't chase you, maybe the taxes will.

The bobblehead politicians keep moaning about the high cost of housing. Well, jacking up property taxes like this is making that situation far worse. Landlords pass property taxes on to tenants. But somehow that link is never made in all the speechifying.

Of course, a lot of the obscene increase is due to the lunacy of the city's voters. Right after voting for the likes of Jo Ann Hardesty, Sarah Iannarone, and Chloe Eudaly, the trust fund kids mark "yes" on every goofball bond and tax levy that appears on the ballot. We're platinum-plating the physical facilities of the community college and the library these days, just in time for Zoom, and many other boondoggles are contributing to the fleecing of the taxpayers.

For 9 percent, you would hope they could at least pick up the used hypodermic needles, but no. You need to organize your neighbors and do that yourselves. Hey, look on the bright side, the Blumenauer Bike Bridge will soon be open!


  1. Got mine today too. Up 9.3%. And Jack, I agree with everything you've stated above. Property taxes in Portland are a multi-pronged problem. The voting demographic in Portland has been shifting for some time now toward a younger group of voters. It’s been my experience that most in this group don’t believe they have to pay property taxes since they rent and don’t write a check to the county tax collector. Because of that and the nature of most younger voters tending to be idealistic, they generally support and vote for every bond measure that appears on the ballot.

    On top of that, is the fact the Oregon laws allows counties to automatically raise assessed values by three percent each year. This annual raise has a compounding effect since the raise is calculated on the new values each year, not the value at the time of purchase of the property.

    Here’s where I think property taxes (everywhere) are fundamentally flawed. Unlike income tax, which is based on the amount of money you earn, have access to, and your ability to pay. Property taxes, on the other hand, are based on unrealized gain in the value of your home. It would be like the county saying that you’re earning $40,000 this year and you pay taxes on that amount. Next you we’re going to tax you on 41,300 (a 3% increase) even though your wages stayed the same. When I bought my home in 2000 property my property taxes were $2800 annually. This year they will be pushing close to $7,000. That’s almost a 150% increase since I purchased my home. This increase far outpaces inflation, and any annual salary increases. Unlike income tax, where I can set aside the funds necessary to pay my taxes, I can’t take a piece of my house to satisfy my property tax bill. Keep in mind that the taxes are against what the county values your home. This always increase 3% a year regardless of what the housing market is doing. Back in 2008/2009 when the housing market tanked and market values droop, assessed values continued to rise.

    This model of taxation hits people on a fixed income the hardest. An older retired person is hit the hardest by this taxation model. When I've brought this up the common retort is that they should just move.

    I find it ironic that the city and county will sit there and express their concerns about housing affordability and then raise property taxes on some who are least able to afford it thus literally taxing them out of their homes.

    Interesting Fact: Assuming no massive increases or additional taxes and using a 3% annual increase in assessed value, after 30 years (same length as my mortgage) I will have paid as much in taxes as the original purchase price of my house.

  2. The Great Shakedown. Hiding under a table though won't be of much help.


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