Portland Business Alliance board of directors endorses regional affordable housing bond

Portland Business Alliance board of directors endorses regional affordable housing bond

Bond revenue will support thousands of new affordable homes for low-income residents

Today, the Portland Business Alliance board of directors announced the endorsement of the $652.8 million regional affordable housing bond ballot measure, citing the need to increase the region’s housing supply and address home affordability, especially for low-income residents. The board also reaffirmed support of a proposed state constitutional amendment, which will give local jurisdictions more flexibility to work with nonprofit and private-sector partners on bond-financed projects. Both measures will appear on Portland-metro ballots in November.

If passed, the bond measure will fund the construction, acquisition and renovation of affordable housing units with capacity to house approximately 7,500 people. If the proposed state legislative referral to amend the Oregon Constitution also passes, the same bond revenue could house as many as 12,000 people, by allowing local governments to work with private-sector and nonprofit partners to leverage public funds and private efforts. The bond will cost homeowners 24 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. A majority of the bond revenue will benefit the region’s lowest-income households, those earning between 0 and 30 percent of the median family income. The revenue will be allocated among Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties based on assessed property value.

“Ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing in our region is a preeminent workforce issue and a long-term priority of the business community,” said Sandra McDonough, president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance. “We are proud to support this collective effort knowing that it will have broad positive impacts on our regional economy and the stability of Portland-area families. We look forward to working with the campaign team to pass both the bond measure and constitutional amendment this fall.”

In voting to endorse the bond measure, the Alliance board emphasized that Metro and local jurisdictions should maximize flexibility and competition in disbursing bond funds to ensure the greatest number of units. Additionally, the board said Metro, the government entity that is proposing the bond measure, should ensure ongoing evaluation, oversight and accountability over bond proceeds and the outcomes they generate. Additionally, given the rising property tax burden in the Portland-metro area, the Alliance board urged Metro and other local taxing jurisdiction to ensure all future tax requests are focused on urgent regional priorities.

The Alliance board of directors voted on proposed endorsements at its June 12 meeting after hearing the recommendation from its Housing Task Force, which reviewed the bond proposal. As with all Alliance endorsements, this proposal met required two-thirds vote of board members present.  
The Portland Business Alliance
The Portland Business Alliance is Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce. With more than 1,900 members, we strive to promote and foster an environment in the Portland region that attracts, supports and retains private-sector jobs, spurs economic vitality and enables quality educational opportunities for the region's residents.