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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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Progress on Affordable Housing

Portland's Housing Bond January Newsletter

 Dear Fellow Portlanders,

We’ve made great progress together since you passed Portland’s Housing Bond just over a year ago – we established a strategic framework with the help of more than 1,000 community members, appointed a Bond Oversight Committee that is already reviewing new funding opportunities and, last month, we announced plans to build the first new development with Portland’s Housing Bond.  

In the meantime, the Bond is already making a difference for Portland families. Thanks to Bond investments, more than 200 units at the Ellington Apartments are now permanently affordable for low- and extremely low-income families. More than 100 Ellington households who were facing displacement last year are now stable in their homes and 28 families who were homeless a year ago are finding stability and community there, close to schools, and parks, and bus stops. I’m humbled to share one of the many stories from the Ellington with you in this newsletter. 

I believe Portland’s Housing Bond represents what’s best about our city: it’s Portlanders helping Portlanders so we all can have the chance to live in thriving, diverse neighborhoods and participate equally in what our community has to offer. I’m proud to look back on what we’ve achieved so far and to be starting 2018 with new, exciting work under way. We have more hard work ahead of us to reach our goals, but we have this historic opportunity to make a difference in our community because of you.

Click here for the full Portland Housing Bond January newsletter and then sign up to receive email updates.

Thank you and Happy New Year.


Mayor Ted Wheeler

N/NE Oversight Committee Meets January 11, 2018

Mayor Ted Wheeler will be joining the Committee for the first meeting of 2018.

N/NE Oversight Committee
January 2018 Meeting

Thursday, January 11 from 6 - 8:30 pm
New Song Community Center 
220 NE Russell Street
Portland, OR 97212

Join Mayor Ted Wheeler and the N/NE Oversight Committee next Thursday for the first meeting of the new year. The Committee will meet to hear updates on rental housing developments in progress on N Argyle St. and N Williams St., and the status of homebuyers using the preference policy. The agenda and meeting materials are available online here

Oversight Committee meetings are held every other month, with time reserved for public comment or questions on the agenda items. Meetings are broadcast on Channel 30. Click here for this month's broadcast schedule. Watch video of past meetings by clicking here

Portland to Develop Affordable Housing at Former Safari Club Site with Housing Bond Funds

The site will be the first new construction project since adoption of Housing Bond Strategic Framework

Mayor Ted Wheeler today announced plans to move forward with the first new development project under Portland’s Housing Bond since adoption of the Strategic Framework. The former Safari Club site at 3000 SE Powell Blvd was purchased by the City with short-term rental revenue in September for affordable housing. A recent evaluation of the property by the Bond Oversight Committee determined that its location meets community criteria for using Housing Bond funds to develop the site.

“The bond gives us the resources to build and preserve an additional 1,300 units of affordable housing in Portland,” said Mayor Wheeler. “Our strategic framework focuses on creating housing opportunities for families and individuals impacted by racism, housing discrimination, homelessness, and displacement.”

Under a framework for Bond expenditures adopted by City Council in October, Bond investments should seek to prevent displacement and provide access to opportunity. The property’s location in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood provides good access to education, transportation, economic opportunity, green spaces, and other community amenities. It has also been identified as at risk for gentrification and displacement.

“We’re pleased to build our first housing bond project in such a dynamic area,” said Shannon Callahan, Interim Director of the Portland Housing Bureau. “We look forward to working with the Bond Oversight Committee and the community on the development plans.”

PHB plans to begin the design process for the 50,000-square foot parcel immediately with construction expected to begin in early 2019.

Portland voters passed the $258.4 million general obligation bond for affordable housing in November 2016, with a minimum goal of producing 1,300 units. The 3000 SE Powell site will represent the first new development to be built with the bond. PHB is currently reviewing other proposals received through an open solicitation issued in October and continues to seek proposals to acquire both land and existing buildings. For more information, visit


A message from Kurt Creager

It has been a great honor to serve as the Director of the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB).... When I came to Portland in 2015, the PHB was doing compelling finance and development work primarily within the Urban Renewal Areas which comprise less than 15% of the City. In addition, PHB was the conduit for federal community development and emergency shelter programs, countywide. With the full support of two Mayors and the entire City Council, we have have seen the transformation of PHB into a City-wide provider of affordable housing policy, services and financial tools. I summarize these accomplishments because the outcome has been truly transformational:

-       N/NE Preference Policy in 2015 – Preference for community residents subject to or at risk of displacement. This pathfinding policy is the first step towards Restorative Justice for people displaced due to public action in the historically black neighborhoods of North and Northeast Portland (Albina and Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area). People displaced or at risk of displacement from the area will have priority access to housing (rental and homeownership) developed through this initiative. ($50 Million invested to date);

-       Declaration of a Housing & Homeless State of Emergency in 2015 – the SOE led to a 50% increase to the amount of urban renewal funding dedicated to affordable housing ($270 million additional TIF resources);

-       Dedicated Short-Term Rental (Transient Lodging Tax) revenue to affordable housing in 2015 – The City of Portland subsequently moved to securitize the TLT revenue into a general-fund backed revenue bond ($9.7 million for land acquisition to replace affordable housing lost to the short-term rental platforms);

-       Funded Home Forward Voucher Utilization Program in 2015 – The Fall Budget Modification Process included culturally specific navigators, a regional fair market rent study and an eviction prevention program;

-       Provided the first tenant protections by any local government in Oregon in 2016 – By requiring a 90- day notice for no cause evictions or rent increases in excess of ten (10) percent, the Portland City Council led by example and motivated the Oregon State Legislature to provide similar statewide tenant protections;

-       Worked with the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives Tina Kotek and legislative leaders including prime sponsors Senator Alan Dembrow and Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer in 2016 to overturn a 17-year prohibition in Oregon prohibiting Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning;

-       Established the Joint Office of Homeless Services with Multnomah County in 2016 – thereby transferring $25 Million and four (4) staff to the office of the Multnomah County Chair;

-       Instituted a Commercial Excise Tax – Beginning in 2016, all residential, commercial and industrial construction projects over $100K help to capitalize offsets for Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning ($8-10 million/year);

-       Conducted residual land value analyses in over 30 zones within Portland in 2016 – in consultation with a Panel of Experts instituted Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning citywide for all multifamily and mixed use urban projects over 20 units with density and financial offsets;

-       Conceptualized the first General Obligation Bond for Housing approved by Portland Voters by over 60% in November 2016 authorizing $258.4 Million for Low Income Housing (100% below 60% of the Area Median, half of which will be “family-sized units” and 600 units will be for people with extremely low incomes at or below 30% of the area median income. The first-bond-funded project, The Ellington Apartments-a 263 unit complex, was acquired within 90 days of voter approval. Convened all community stakeholders in 2017 to conceive the Portland Housing Bond Framework Plan which, by adoption of the Portland City Council, will guide housing bond investments for 5-8 years;

-       Implemented Emergency Relocation Protection for Tenants in 2017 – ($2,700-$5,000 per unit depending on bedroom count) is provided to any residential tenants (other than in units owned by demonstrably small landlords) experiencing rent increases of more than 10% or who experience no cause evictions;

-       Created the Office of Renter-Owner Services within PHB in 2017 and staffed the newly created Rental Services Commission. PHB is actively collecting county wide eviction data; supporting enhanced legal services (quintupling the prior level of effort); providing through grantees and service providers relocation assistance for households that need case management and establishing a City- wide Rental Registration Database;

-       With the full support of the City Council, increased the Housing Bureau Budget from $70 million to $215 million, a 300% increase in less than two (2) years;

-       Increased affordable housing production from 700 units to over 2,000 units within two (2) years. PHB pipeline constitutes over 30 specific projects located within high opportunity areas of the City of Portland. Among the most transformational is the PHB’s partnership with Prosper Portland within the Lents Town Center, within the Interstate Corridor Urban Reneal Area and the USPS/Broadway Corridor where over 700 units of affordable housing are ensured for future generations; and

-       Worked with allied bureaus to establish priority permit processing and other process improvements to accelerate the velocity of affordable housing through the permit & design review process citywide.

Bureau staff, management and I have worked tirelessly for the people of Portland. Given these many group accomplishments and the end of the year approval of several momentous projects like Block 45 and River Place Parcel 3, I have decided to explore other opportunities in my field of practice. My last day will be December 8, 2017. I wish you, Mayoral staff, and my colleagues within the City of Portland and our many community partners and stakeholders the very best.