July 19, 2017
Today, City Council took a big step forward in creating a new tax incentive to clean up and redevelop brownfields.
A brownfield is any land that has contaminated soil or water. There are over 900 acres of brownfields throughout Portland. They include places like former industrial sites, gas stations, and dry cleaners.
Nearly half of Portland’s brownfields are close to environmentally sensitive areas like wetlands and streams. They are 3 times as likely to be found in underserved communities. And they are eyesores that contribute little to our community or the local economy.
That’s why the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) is stepping up to improve these vacant properties.
Today’s action directs BES, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and Prosper Portland to develop a property tax incentive – a reduced property tax rate for owners of brownfield sites who clean up and redevelop their property. And it directs them to set up eligibility and accountability requirements, to make sure projects have social, economic, and environmental benefits to our community.
Redeveloping brownfields could generate thousands of new jobs and millions in new property taxes.
None of this would be possible without the hard work of the Oregon Brownfield Coalition, or the leadership of the state legislature, who made it possible for local governments to adopt brownfield property tax incentives.
Special thanks to State Senator Lew Frederick, Metro Councilor Sam Chase, Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam, and BES staff for their presentations today and partnership during this process.