westside study - Project Update

 

The PDC asked (in a memo from Executive Director, Bruce Warner) the Advisory Group to help answer the following questions:

      • Should PDC expand the RD by up to 61 acres?
      • Should PDC increase the maximum indebtedness of the RD, which will likely be reached in 2010?
      • Should PDC extend the last date to issue debt for DTWF and SPB? 

These questions grow out of The Central City Urban Renewal Area Study, November 19, 2004.  The study’s conclusions were: 1) focus DTWF resources on Old Town/China Town area projects; and 2) consider moving portions of Old Town/Chinatown into the RD.   

The URAG is meeting monthly throughout the Fall of 2007 and into early 2008 to look at these issues. They have been asked to submit their recommendations to the PDC by January of 2008. If approved by the PDC, the URAG’s recommendations will be submitted as proposed plan amendments for review by the Portland Planning Commission and for final adoption by the Portland City Council in Spring 2008.

Over the course of several months the advisory group will hear from panels on Housing, Jobs & Economy, Infrastructure, Education and Culture to assess the opportunities and challenges facing our downtown. 

Through this page you will be able to track the Westside Study discussion with access to all of the URAG’s meeting notes and materials. 

In June 2008, City Council adopted the Amended and Restated River District Urban Renewal Plan (PDF). It was subsequently appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). In January 2009, LUBA remanded Council’s decision based on two technical inadequacies in the Report accompanying the Plan. In June of 2009, Council adopted a revised Report to the Amended and Restated River District Urban Renewal Plan (PDF) which addressed LUBA’s issues. Again, this Plan was appealed to LUBA. Over the next three months, negotiations between the City and appellants occurred.

On September 9, 2009, the City of Portland announced a settlement was reached with the appellants. According to the terms of the settlement, PDC reduced the maximum indebtedness of the district from $549.5 million to $489.5 million in the 2nd Amendment to River District (Plan (PDF), Report (PDF). In exchange, the appellants dismissed their appeal to LUBA. With this negotiated settlement, the City can begin to once again address some of the most pressing public investment priorities for the area, such as:

  • Moving forward on building the Resource Access Center to open by 2011.
  • Investing in our City’s century-old Amtrak train station, and leveraging federal dollars available now to upgrade it and improve the experience for customers. 
  • Supporting our small businesses and retailers, who are struggling and need access to public dollars for small-scale capital improvements.
  • Harnessing the River District’s prime location to grow Portland companies and recruit companies to Portland.

 

First Amendment to the Amended and Restated River District Urban Renewal Plan

The amendment to create a satellite district in the David Douglas School District was appealed on October 27, 2008. PDC submitted their response on November 17, 2008. LUBA gave their final opinion and order on Jan. 2, 2009. The City Council, in conjunction with the City Attorneys and PDC, are working to determine next steps.

On Wednesday, June 25, 2008, the City Council approved the following amendments with a 4-0 vote.

  • The First Amendment to the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Area will expand boundaries by 140.05 acres, increase maximum indebtedness by $170 million and extend the expiration date to June 30, 2020. 
  • The Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Downtown Waterfront Urban Renewal Plan will remove 47.03 acres from the Plan area and standardize Plan amendment process. 
  • The Tenth Amendment to the South Park Blocks Urban Renewal Plan will remove 3.20 acres from the Plan area and standardize Plan amendment process. 
  • The Amended and Restated River District Urban Renewal Plan will expand boundaries by a net 41.98 acres, increase maximum indebtedness by approximately $325 million and extend the expiration date to June 30, 2021. 
  • The First Amendment to the Amended and Restated River District Urban Renewal Plan will expand boundaries by 8.53 acres and increase maximum indebtedness by $19 million.

June 18th Council documents:

Downtown Waterfront

South Park Blocks

River District

David Douglas

On May 14, 2008, the PDC Board unanimously approved the Downtown Waterfront, South Park Blocks and River District Resolutions. The Board approved the David Douglas Resolution with a 4 to 1 vote.

The Urban Renewal Advisory Group completed its work on March 4, 2008 and approved the Final URAG Report.

  • PDC Commissioner Charles Wilhoite (URAG Co-Chair)
  • PDC Commissioner Mark Rosenbaum
  • City Commissioner Erik Sten (URAG Co-Chair)
  • City Commissioner Dan Saltzman
  • Portland Planning Commissioner Don Hanson
  • County Commissioner Jeff Cogen
  • Citizen Member Jon Kruse

 

Acronyms
  • DTWF : Downtown Waterfront Urban Renewal Area
  • FOUR : Future of Urban Renewal
  • LTC : Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Area
  • ORS : Oregon Revised Statutes
  • PDC : Portland Development Commission
  • RD : River District Urban Renewal Area
  • SPB : South Park Blocks Urban Renewal Area
  • TIF : Tax-increment financing
  • URA : Urban Renewal Area
  • URAC : Urban Renewal Advisory Committee
  • URAG : Urban Renewal Advisory Group (Westside Study)