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Portland Housing Bureau

Solving the unmet housing needs of the people of Portland.

Phone: 503-823-2375

fax: 503-823-2387

421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204

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City Program Brings 81 New Units of Affordable Housing in Three Private Developments

Portland City Council approves three new projects for affordable housing tax exemptions.

December 9, 2015 - Three new private developments in Portland will include 81 affordable apartments with the approval of Portland City Council this morning. The City of Portland and Multnomah County recently revamped a tax exemption program aimed at creating more affordable housing in private market developments by offering developers a tax incentive. These three projects are the first to proceed under the new program.

“It’s going to take all of us working together to solve our city’s housing emergency,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “We’re glad to have private market partners using this program and joining us at the table to be part of the solution to our city’s most pressing need.”

Two projects planned for the Boise neighborhood were put forward by local developer Marathon Acquisition & Development. A third project planned for Goose Hollow is a partnership between the Nevada-based Molasky Group and local developer Liam Thornton of Trinity 3 Investment. In total, 54 of the units in these projects will be reserved for tenants earning no more than 80% of the Median Family Income—a maximum of $41,200 a year for an individual. Another 27 units, all in Marathon’s forthcoming Vancouver Avenue project, will lease to lower-income tenants earning up to 60% of the median ($30,900 for an individual) with monthly rents capped between $772 for a studio and $993 for a two-bedroom. The total tax exemption for all three projects is $1.2 million annually for 10 years.

“This program allows us to provide affordable housing in the Portland Central City, and in particular in the Goose Hollow submarket, while maintaining a high quality standard of the built product,” said Thornton. “The structure of the program provides lower-income tenants the access to a high quality location and building and allows the developer to still achieve the economics necessary to obtain financing, without any compromise to the design, construction, and operations of the project. As these types of programs are utilized by more developers in Portland, it will create access to a greater number and variety of Portland neighborhoods that were previously unattainable by lower-income residents.”

The Portland Housing Bureau began accepting project proposals for the Multiple-Unit Limited Tax Exemption Program (MULTE) this fall under new guidelines designed to increase utilization.

“We’re extremely pleased to have three projects moving forward, and more being considered, in just three months,” said Housing Bureau Director Kurt Creager. “This tells us that the changes we’ve made have produced the kind of nimble, streamlined tool needed to attract developers in a market boom and respond quickly to the current need.”

The changes put in place this year increased the annual cap from $1 million to $3 million, eliminated the competitive application in favor of a rolling process to better align with construction and financing timelines, and clarified compliance requirements to create greater predictability for investors. In exchange for 10 years of tax relief, developers commit to restricting rents on 20% of their new residential units. The bureau expects to add roughly 200 - 300 new affordable housing units per year in the private market through increased participation in the program.

The Housing Bureau will continue accepting applications for 2015 through December 31 and expects to reach the $3 million cap by the end of the year. Interested applicants should contact Dory Van Bockel, MULTE Program Coordinator, at 503-823-4469 or, to schedule a pre-application meeting.   

The N/NE Community Oversight Committee Meets December 15

Tuesday, December 15 from 6pm - 8pm
(Sandwiches and beverages will be served from 5:30 - 6pm; the meeting will begin promptly at 6pm)

Maranatha Church
4222 NE 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97211

The Community Oversight Committee is a community-based group formed to oversee the Portland Housing Bureau's work in North and Northeast Portland to increase housing opportunity and address displacement. (Click here for a list of committee members). The committee meets quarterly to hear progress updates on the N/NE initiative. These meetings are open to the public.

This month, the committee will hear and discuss updates on the following items:

  • The Preference Policy — a new policy being finalized that is designed to give preference to historically marginalized families in North and Northeast Portland for new rental housing and homeownership programs.

  • Grant Warehouse — affordable rental housing being developed on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (between Cook and Ivy streets). Click here to learn more.

  • Homeownership Programs planned for the N/NE Portland community.

The last 30 minutes of the meeting are reserved for public comment and questions on any of this month's agenda items. If you have questions or comments about any issues that are not on this month's agenda, we encourage you to contact us directly by phone at 503-823-1190 or by email at Comment cards will also be available at the meeting.

 The public is welcome. Join Us.
Meeting schedules and agendas are posted here.

City of Portland Releases Unprecedented Funding Amount for Affordable Housing

The Portland Housing Bureau has partnered with Multnomah County, the Portland Development Commission, and Home Forward to make $61.6 million available for affordable housing

The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) announced today that it has $61.6 million in local and federal funds for affordable housing project proposals – the largest Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) to date. This investment of public funds is expected to generate another $150 - $200 million in economic activity and produce at least 600 new affordable housing units.

The annual NOFA process is the primary means through which PHB solicits and funds affordable housing projects. This year’s NOFA includes five sites owned by the Housing Bureau, Multnomah County, and the Portland Development Commission (PDC). In addition to the sizeable amount of funds, the NOFA also draws from a broad diversity of sources, including City and County General Fund, Tax Increment Financing from six of the city’s urban renewal areas, and federal HOME and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, as well as 100 Project-Based Section 8 vouchers from Home Forward.

“Solving our housing crisis is going to take this kind of cooperative approach from our local agencies,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Housing Bureau. “We are in a critical moment as a city and I’m glad that we’ve been able to mobilize our collective resources to have the greatest impact possible.”

The notice outlines the City’s priorities for the funding, which include:

  •  $7.5 million for affordable housing development to support the priorities of the A Home for Everyone homelessness initiative.
  •  $10 million, plus at least 40 Project-Based Section 8 vouchers, to develop one City-owned property and one County-owned property in North/Northeast Portland, in accordance with the priorities of the N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy to mitigate displacement in the area.
  • $5 million for development in the Lents area, plus a PDC-owned site.

Recognizing the city’s housing emergency, Commissioner Saltzman directed the Housing Bureau to deploy all of its available resources, which included pulling forward Tax Increment Finance dollars budgeted for future years.

“The people of Portland can’t afford to wait,” Saltzman said. “Our city’s housing crisis demands thoughtful, immediate action.”

Interested proposers will need to attend a mandatory information session on November 12 and a mandatory contractor networking session will be held on December 3. Proposals will be due in January with award announcements expected to follow by March.

For details on the information sessions and for more information, click here to download the full NOFA

New Pearl District Development Will House Homeless Families

More than 30 families facing homelessness will soon have a place to call home in the Pearl District. The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) announced today it has selected a proposal by nonprofit developer Innovative Housing Inc. to develop new deeply affordable housing on City-owned property at NW 14th Avenue and Raleigh Street. 

“Our city’s housing crisis has left too many Portland families on the brink,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “We are excited to partner with Innovative Housing on this project to give dozens of these families the opportunity to put down roots in one of our great neighborhoods, and bring their children up near the things that make life better for families—a pre-school, a grocery store, a city park, and good access to jobs.” 

PHB issued a Request for Proposals in May for the vacant property, which the City of Portland acquired earlier in the spring. The selected proposal seeks to provide at least 30 family-size units dedicated to serving the lowest income households—those at or below 30% of the Median Family Income (currently $24,250 for a family of four), plus additional one-bedroom units below 60% of the median (up to $35,280 for a two-person household). The opportunities for added density on the site may yield even more housing as development moves forward. 

Ground-floor common areas will also offer residents a community room, indoor and outdoor play areas, a laundry facility, and on-site resident support services. 

“When families are displaced by a rent increase or a medical crisis, it’s children who suffer,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “This project will give kids safe, stable homes where they can thrive.”

As part of the A Home for Everyone collaborative, the City of Portland and Multnomah County have identified families with children as a priority population in the local effort to end homelessness. A recent count of homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County published in June showed a 24% increase in unsheltered families with children since 2013. Families with children also make up a disproportionate percentage of the estimated 12,000 people who are “doubled up” in housing or living in motel rooms on any given night.

“This project will help protect our most vulnerable Portlanders — low-income families — as we grapple with affordability problems, rising rents, and the heart-wrenching effects of homelessness,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We need long-term solutions like this affordable housing development to continue to move the needle on affordability, livability, and equity.”

The site was acquired at a discount from Hoyt Street Properties (HSP) this spring as part of a longstanding affordable housing agreement between HSP and the City of Portland. The project will further affordable housing goals set forth for the River District Urban Renewal Area. Construction is projected to begin in 2017.