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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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The Portland Housing Advisory Commission Announces New Members

Commissioner Dan Saltzman and the Portland Housing Bureau have announced the appointment of six new members to the Portland Housing Advisory Commission (PHAC). The volunteer public body is charged with advising the bureau, the Housing Commissioner, and Portland City Council on housing and homelessness policy, strategy and resource issues, as well as promoting improvements within the bureau and the larger housing system, highlighting opportunities for influence, and providing a forum for public input on housing issues.

The new additions to the commission include: Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director/CEO of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative, Inc.; Stephen Green, Assistant Vice-President & Market Manager at Albina Community Bank; Nate McCoy, Executive Director of the National Association of Minority Contractors—Oregon; Betty Dominguez, Director of Policy & Equity for Home Forward; Daniel Steffey, Affordable Housing Development Professional; And Cobi Jackson, Vice President and Community Development Officer for Oregon and Southwest Washington for Wells Fargo Bank.

“On behalf of the Housing Bureau and City Council, I’d like to welcome our new commissioners to PHAC. We deeply appreciate the willingness of these volunteers to serve,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “PHAC’s members bring expertise from all parts of the housing system to the discussions that move housing policy in our city. This diversity of experience and perspectives is a tremendous asset to us as we develop programs and policies to serve the people of Portland.”

For more information on the Portland Housing Advisory Commission, click here.

PHAC welcomes the public to attend meetings, give testimony, or submit feedback. Meeting schedules, agendas, minutes, and other materials are available online here.

Commissioner Saltzman Appoints New Housing Bureau Director

Kurt Creager will take over as Housing Bureau director in August.

Image of Kurt CreagerCommissioner Dan Saltzman announced today his appointment of Kurt Creager as the new Director of the Portland Housing Bureau.

“Kurt Creager is a proven leader in both the private and public sector in the field of affordable housing,” stated Saltzman. “He brings substantial policy and resource development experience, as well as a proven track record of the development of thousands of units of affordable housing.”

Creager’s appointment follows a national recruitment to fill the position. Commissioner Saltzman and his team, bureau employees, representatives from partner organizations and community members were part of the selection process.

Commissioner Saltzman sought a Director with strong leadership skills, experience in affordable housing policy and resource development, public and private sector experience, management and a commitment to equity. “Kurt brings a creative approach and skill-set Portland needs to increase our supply of affordable housing.”

Kurt has served as the Director of Housing and Community Development in Fairfax County, Virginia; the Director of Housing and Community Development for Otak, a Portland-based design firm; and the Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Housing Authority in Vancouver, WA. He held similar positions previously with Arizona State University and Metro King County.

Creager earned a B.S. in Environmental Planning & Architectural Graphics from Western Washington University and completed the Kennedy School of Government State & Local Public Executive Program at Harvard University.

“I am honored to be leading the Portland Housing Bureau,” said Kurt Creager. “I look forward to aiding community stakeholders, affordable housing developers and policy makers in the creation and preservation of affordable housing throughout the City.”

 He will assume his duties on August 10, 2015.

 

City Council Approves Affordable Housing Incentives

Portland City Council voted this afternoon to support the creation of new incentives for affordable housing construction. Under the new incentive program, developers seeking to build to the maximum density currently allowed in the Central City would provide affordable housing within their project, or pay into a fund for the creation and preservation of affordable housing.

“Too often, we have to make tough decisions about how to slice the pie with our limited public dollars,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “We have an opportunity now to expand the pie by bringing the private development community to the table to be part of the solution to our affordable housing crisis." 

An incentive bonus system allows for additional square feet in a development project that provides a public benefit.

“Portland has been missing a major tool in our toolbox. This is a best practice that many other major cities employ to develop affordable housing,” Saltzman said.

Last year, City Council charged the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to develop new zoning recommendations to better incentivize affordable housing development. To earn up to the maximum 3:1 floor-to-area ratio bonus, developers must either construct units on-site as part of a project that are affordable to households at 80 percent of the median family income (currently $58,800 for a family of four), and maintain the affordability of those units for 60 years, or pay into a public benefit fund for the production and preservation of housing affordable to households below 60 percent of the median family income (currently $44,100 for a family of four).

Based on average levels of development activity in the Central City, the bonus could result in as many as 60 additional units per year, or $120-200 million for affordable housing development and rehabilitation over 20 years.

Following today’s hearing, BPS staff will work with project and public stakeholders to propose changes to the zoning code. Final decision-making and recommendations will be made in public forums as part of the overall Central City 2035 planning process, outlined below:

  •  Late Fall 2015 – Central City 2035 draft plans available for public discussion
  •  Early Spring 2016 – Central City 2035 hearings at the Planning and Sustainability Commission
  •  July 2016 – Central City 2035 hearings at City Council

 “Access to good jobs, transportation options, and strong schools are the building blocks for family success,” Saltzman said. “By creating more affordable housing in our most amenity-rich areas, we're committing to a better, more prosperous future for the people of Portland.”

Affordable Housing Set Aside Policy Set to Undergo Review

The Portland Housing Bureau and the Portland Development Commission will seek input from stakeholders and the public for possible updates to the affordable housing Set Aside policy.

The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) and the Portland Development Commission (PDC) are beginning work on a process to review and update the City’s Set Aside policy for affordable housing. Established by Portland City Council in 2006, the Set Aside remains the largest and primary source of financing for affordable housing programs in the city.

The policy is reviewed for any necessary updates and changes every five years, with the last review completed in 2010. The Housing Bureau and PDC have scheduled three public meetings to gather input from stakeholders and the public before making recommendations to City Council.

 

Set Aside Review Public Involvement Opportunities

All meetings will take place during the Portland Housing Advisory Commission meetings at the Portland Housing Bureau, located at 421 SW 6th Ave., Suite 500, Portland OR 97204


Public Hearing One: Overview of current policy and initial discussion on any changes needed

When: July 9, 2015 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm


Public Hearing Two: 
Presentation of initial draft policy and program recommendations

When: August 4, 2015 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm and again from 5:30pm to 6:30pm


Public Hearing Three: Presentation of final draft policy and program recommendations

When: September 1, 2015 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm

For more information, contact Matthew Tschabold, Policy and Equity Manager for the Portland Housing Bureau, at Matthew.Tschabold@portlandoregon.gov or by phone at 503-823-3607. 

Members of the media may direct inquiries to Martha Calhoon, Public Information Officer, at Martha.Calhoon@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-1132.

“It is time to... prioritize affordable housing”

The City releases new incentive zoning recommendations.


Photo of High-rise constructionThe Portland Housing Bureau and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability have released a study that will inform recommendations for a possible new bonus system to incentivize private affordable housing construction in the Central City. 

In the next 20 years, Portland’s Central City is projected to gain 30,000 new households. To ensure that the Central City maintains a mix of income levels while accommodating rapid growth, Commissioner Dan Saltzman asked the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to analyze and then recommend how bonus programs in the Central City’s zoning code could be updated to support affordable housing development. The initial recommendations and report were released today. 

“It is time to streamline our incentive bonus system to prioritize affordable housing,” said Commissioner Saltzman. “This an important tool to encourage the private market to be part of the solution to our affordable housing crisis.”   

Key recommendations include redesigning the Central City bonus system to prioritize affordable housing, retaining the current 3:1 cap on bonus FAR that can be used on a single site, and allowing developments to earn this bonus by:

  • Constructing affordable housing on-site as part of a project affordable to households at 80 percent of the median family income (MFI), and that units be kept affordable for 60 years.
  • Paying into a public benefit fund for the production and preservation of affordable housing, which would be used to create affordable housing at  income levels below 60 percent MFI.

Based on average levels of development activity in the Central City, the proposed affordable housing bonus could result in as many as an additional 60 affordable units (at 80-percent median family income per year). Developers would also have the option of paying a fee in lieu of building the affordable units themselves. If all bonuses were earned through the in-lieu-payment option, $120-200 million could be generated for affordable housing development or rehabilitation over 20 years.

An incentive bonus system allows additional square feet of development for a project in exchange for a public benefit, such as affordable housing. A current bonus system already exist in Portland’s zoning codes and has 18 different bonus options. The recommendations would prioritize a bonus for affordable housing. 

The report will be introduced to City Council during a work session tomorrow at 9:30am, and will be the subject of a public hearing on July 9. Following the July 9 hearing, Commissioners will vote on a resolution to accept the study and provide additional guidance to staff on the development of a new Central City bonus tool.

Download the full report here.

Download a summary here.