WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2015 — City Council today approved Mayor Charlie Hales' amendments to the city's urban renewal areas, marking the first-ever comprehensive reform of the development tool.
"I'm very proud of this one," Mayor Hales said. "I spent a lot of time talking to voters a few years ago, telling them that I thought URAs were a great tool, but needed to be right-sized."
For instance, the mayor said, on Southeast Clinton, the new light rail stop area is desolate, "a terrible place to wait for a train now. But it will be a great place in the future with this URA."
On the other hand, the Airport Way was a success, and nearly 1,000 acres were returned to the tax rolls with the redrawing. "Stand on the floor of Leatherman Tools, and you'll see how successful that URA was," Mayor Hales said. "It's active, with diverse employment."
The mayor's plans for redrawing URAs, which help redevelop and improve blighted areas, put $800 million in assessed value back on the tax rolls — effectively increasing the city’s budget by $1.5 million; increasing Multnomah County’s budget by $1.5 million; and increasing the Common School Fund by about $1 million.