EQ.1 Foster and equitable distribution of public resources for East Portland

EQ.1. 1 Initiate a citywide audit of resource allotment - research tax equity and contributions of East Portland to the tax base.
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To: The East Portland Action Plan From: EPAP Housing Subcommittee Date: 3/27/13 RE: Research on the Question: Does East Portland have more Tax Exempt Property due to Affordable Housing than other areas in Portland? The EPAP Housing Subcommittee finding is: No, it does not. The number of affordable housing tax exemptions is slightly higher than the city average, but not unreasonably so. Background: From its inception, EPAP members have raised concerns about a concentration of tax-exempt properties in East Portland, particularly about the tax exemption for affordable housing. Tax exemptions are perceived to reduce funding for local governments and school districts. New affordable housing is perceived to increase enrollment at already crowded public schools and increase the concentration of poverty in East Portland. The EPAP Housing Subcommittee decided to research this question to determine its validity and resolve an Action Item: HD.4.3 Review and assess housing development tax abatement benefits and impacts in East Portland; consider adjustments as warranted. Procedure: In the early fall of 2012, Frieda Christopher obtained and analyzed data on Property Tax Exemption from Multnomah County. David Hampsten assisted with the analysis. Chris Scarzello provided additional data from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The Multnomah County Tax Collector provided the data in both situations for the 2012/13-tax year. After discussion with the Housing Subcommittee, Chris Scarzello sent this analysis to Uma Krishnan at the Portland Bureau Planning and Sustainability for additional input. In December 2012, Nick Sauvie drafted the initial report and provided recommendations. The EPAP Housing Subcommittee adopted its final report and recommendations at its meeting on 3/11/13. The results of this process are shown below: 1.East Portland contains about 25% of the city’s population and it has about 25% of the city’s affordable housing tax-exempt properties. A review of the Percentage of Properties with Tax Exemption shows that the East Portland percentage (7.3%) is higher than the City of Portland percentage of 6.1%. However, other areas of Portland have even higher percentages of exemption. The percentage for North Portland is 9.7%. Percent of Properties with Affordable Housing Tax Exemptions 7.3% East Portland 6.1% City Average 1.7% Low (Central City) 9.7% High (North) 2.Similarly, when the total of all tax exemptions (exemptions for housing, hospitals, schools, religious groups, etc.) is added together, there is a slightly higher percentage in East Portland (12.9%) than for the city as a whole (12.4%). When all exemptions are combined, the area of Portland with the highest percentage of exemptions is the Central City area with 26.4%. Percent of Properties with Tax Exemptions of Any Kind 12.9% East Portland 12.4% City Average 9.9% Low (Southeast) 26.4% High (Central City) 3.The data reviewed showed that the total affordable housing tax exemptions for the city of Portland is $36.7 million per year, which is about 3.7% of total tax collections for the Portland area (City + School Districts + County). The total Property Tax collected for the area of the Portland city is $999 million. The EPAP Housing Subcommittee believes that exempting 3.7%, when compared to the total property tax collected, is a reasonable amount since it is exempted to provide housing for thousands of Portland’s most vulnerable residents, many of whom are elderly, disabled or children. Tax Inequality: An additional finding of this property tax analysis was that East Portland property tax payers often pay a higher amount of taxes for similar properties than are paid in other areas of Portland. This is clearly a property tax inequity for East Portland, which relates to two other Action Items: EQ.1.1 Initiate a citywide audit of resource allotment - research tax equity and contributions of East Portland to the tax base. EQ.1.2 Initiate county audit of resource allotment in East Portland - tax contribution/use and service needs alignment. Data from the Multnomah County Tax Assessor on properties in the City of Portland demonstrate the unintended consequences of property tax limitation measures as approved by the voters in the 1990s. There is a wide disparity between property taxes paid on different properties of similar value in East Portland when compared to other areas of the City. As a result, the taxes paid on a typical property worth $200,000 in East Portland might be $1,000 more per year than those on a similarly valued property in the Central City or another area of the City. City Commissioner Steve Novick and the League of Oregon Cities have each proposed solutions to make the state’s property tax system more equitable. Commissioner Novick’s commentary can be read at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/novick/article/428020. One of the reasons for East Portland paying more than its fair share of property taxes may be the large number of tax-exempt properties in the Central City area of Portland. More than one out of every four Central City properties – 26.4% – is tax exempt. Despite this large number of exempt properties, the Central City has by far the lowest percentage of affordable housing tax-exempt properties – only 1.7%. Final Conclusions: The EPAP Housing Subcommittee does not find there to be significant differences in the amount of tax exempt property for affordable housing in East Portland when compared to other areas of the City of Portland. The belief that East Portland has more property tax exemptions because of its affordable housing is an urban myth. The misperception of East Portland having more property tax exemptions for affordable housing may result from the fact that East Portland has a higher percentage of affordable housing, although much of it is not property tax exempt. Housing which is built intentionally to be affordable by Community Development Corporations is very likely to be property tax exempt. However, housing built by the Private Sector often becomes affordable because the properties are not well maintained and deteriorate over time making it more difficult to command higher rents. Consequently, the housing becomes affordable to lower income residents and less desirable to those with higher incomes. It is not affordable by design---it is affordable by accident. This type of accidentally affordable housing is generally not property tax exempt. The EPAP Housing Subcommittee supports good, affordable housing by design. Building well-designed new housing and rehabilitating existing housing supports strong East Portland neighborhoods. The affordable housing tax exemption is an important tool that benefits families, seniors and people with disabilities.
EQ.1. 2 Initiate county audit of resource allotment in East Portland - tax contribution/use and service needs alignment.
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Aging & Disabilities Services (ADS) is revising community contractor allocations to reflect movement of target populations to East Portland - District Senior Center funding. We are also working with nutrition services contractor to plan new meal sites in East Portland. ADS is coordinating with nutrition services provider and East Portland Community Center on development of new community garden to support the local senior meal site and low income seniors in the neighborhood.
To: The East Portland Action Plan From: EPAP Housing Subcommittee Date: 3/27/13 RE: Research on the Question: Does East Portland have more Tax Exempt Property due to Affordable Housing than other areas in Portland? The EPAP Housing Subcommittee finding is: No, it does not. The number of affordable housing tax exemptions is slightly higher than the city average, but not unreasonably so. Background: From its inception, EPAP members have raised concerns about a concentration of tax-exempt properties in East Portland, particularly about the tax exemption for affordable housing. Tax exemptions are perceived to reduce funding for local governments and school districts. New affordable housing is perceived to increase enrollment at already crowded public schools and increase the concentration of poverty in East Portland. The EPAP Housing Subcommittee decided to research this question to determine its validity and resolve an Action Item: HD.4.3 Review and assess housing development tax abatement benefits and impacts in East Portland; consider adjustments as warranted. Procedure: In the early fall of 2012, Frieda Christopher obtained and analyzed data on Property Tax Exemption from Multnomah County. David Hampsten assisted with the analysis. Chris Scarzello provided additional data from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The Multnomah County Tax Collector provided the data in both situations for the 2012/13-tax year. After discussion with the Housing Subcommittee, Chris Scarzello sent this analysis to Uma Krishnan at the Portland Bureau Planning and Sustainability for additional input. In December 2012, Nick Sauvie drafted the initial report and provided recommendations. The EPAP Housing Subcommittee adopted its final report and recommendations at its meeting on 3/11/13. The results of this process are shown below: 1.East Portland contains about 25% of the city’s population and it has about 25% of the city’s affordable housing tax-exempt properties. A review of the Percentage of Properties with Tax Exemption shows that the East Portland percentage (7.3%) is higher than the City of Portland percentage of 6.1%. However, other areas of Portland have even higher percentages of exemption. The percentage for North Portland is 9.7%. Percent of Properties with Affordable Housing Tax Exemptions 7.3% East Portland 6.1% City Average 1.7% Low (Central City) 9.7% High (North) 2.Similarly, when the total of all tax exemptions (exemptions for housing, hospitals, schools, religious groups, etc.) is added together, there is a slightly higher percentage in East Portland (12.9%) than for the city as a whole (12.4%). When all exemptions are combined, the area of Portland with the highest percentage of exemptions is the Central City area with 26.4%. Percent of Properties with Tax Exemptions of Any Kind 12.9% East Portland 12.4% City Average 9.9% Low (Southeast) 26.4% High (Central City) 3.The data reviewed showed that the total affordable housing tax exemptions for the city of Portland is $36.7 million per year, which is about 3.7% of total tax collections for the Portland area (City + School Districts + County). The total Property Tax collected for the area of the Portland city is $999 million. The EPAP Housing Subcommittee believes that exempting 3.7%, when compared to the total property tax collected, is a reasonable amount since it is exempted to provide housing for thousands of Portland’s most vulnerable residents, many of whom are elderly, disabled or children. Tax Inequality: An additional finding of this property tax analysis was that East Portland property tax payers often pay a higher amount of taxes for similar properties than are paid in other areas of Portland. This is clearly a property tax inequity for East Portland, which relates to two other Action Items: EQ.1.1 Initiate a citywide audit of resource allotment - research tax equity and contributions of East Portland to the tax base. EQ.1.2 Initiate county audit of resource allotment in East Portland - tax contribution/use and service needs alignment. Data from the Multnomah County Tax Assessor on properties in the City of Portland demonstrate the unintended consequences of property tax limitation measures as approved by the voters in the 1990s. There is a wide disparity between property taxes paid on different properties of similar value in East Portland when compared to other areas of the City. As a result, the taxes paid on a typical property worth $200,000 in East Portland might be $1,000 more per year than those on a similarly valued property in the Central City or another area of the City. City Commissioner Steve Novick and the League of Oregon Cities have each proposed solutions to make the state’s property tax system more equitable. Commissioner Novick’s commentary can be read at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/novick/article/428020. One of the reasons for East Portland paying more than its fair share of property taxes may be the large number of tax-exempt properties in the Central City area of Portland. More than one out of every four Central City properties – 26.4% – is tax exempt. Despite this large number of exempt properties, the Central City has by far the lowest percentage of affordable housing tax-exempt properties – only 1.7%. Final Conclusions: The EPAP Housing Subcommittee does not find there to be significant differences in the amount of tax exempt property for affordable housing in East Portland when compared to other areas of the City of Portland. The belief that East Portland has more property tax exemptions because of its affordable housing is an urban myth. The misperception of East Portland having more property tax exemptions for affordable housing may result from the fact that East Portland has a higher percentage of affordable housing, although much of it is not property tax exempt. Housing which is built intentionally to be affordable by Community Development Corporations is very likely to be property tax exempt. However, housing built by the Private Sector often becomes affordable because the properties are not well maintained and deteriorate over time making it more difficult to command higher rents. Consequently, the housing becomes affordable to lower income residents and less desirable to those with higher incomes. It is not affordable by design---it is affordable by accident. This type of accidentally affordable housing is generally not property tax exempt. The EPAP Housing Subcommittee supports good, affordable housing by design. Building well-designed new housing and rehabilitating existing housing supports strong East Portland neighborhoods. The affordable housing tax exemption is an important tool that benefits families, seniors and people with disabilities.
EQ.1. 3 Conduct a citywide audit of representation of East Portland residents and businesses on City and County commissions.
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EQ.1. 4 Establish a goal that East Portland will attain parity with other parts of the City in public facilities and capital spending.
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Leach Botanical Garden board and community supporters advocate to continue public investment in the Garden as the only city-owned facility of its kind east of I205. The Garden is a multi-faceted resources akin to the Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, Pittock Mansion and other west side facilities. Our leadership are making the case that the City and larger community already have a substantial 30 year investment in Leach, have undertaken and adopted a Master Plan to help the Garden better serve the community, and have taken first steps toward the needed improvements. East Portland deserves a facility of Leach's caliber, and support of efforts to bring Leach's facilities to the level envisioned are a matter of fairness and equity.
OPAL has advanced the concept of a Youth Transit Justice Summit anchored in East Portland to serve as a catalyst for a renewed YouthPass campaign, held in May 2014 at David Douglas High School. Planning for the 2015 YTJS has already begun, with hopes of returning to an East Portland location.
OPAL and youth Bus Riders Unite members, enabled through EPAP grant funding and informed through focus groups and participation at the May 2014 Youth Transit Justice Summit, were able to craft the following policy recommendations as it relates to parity with other parts of the City in public facilities and services: In order to provide access to school – work – extracurricular activities – social life: 1. First priority: Provide a year-round, free YouthPass to all young people age 13-21, with a valid student ID, who live in Multnomah County. 2. Second priority: Provide a year-round, free YouthPass to all young people age 13-21, with a valid student ID, who live in Multnomah County with family income that qualifies for free/reduced lunch, and provide a $15 monthly pass to all other youth age 13-21. 3. Third priority: Provide a $15 monthly YouthPass to all youth age 13-21. And: - Make stops at schools that don’t have YouthPass. -Provide enough service for schools to qualify for YouthPass.
The EPAP 2014 General Grant helped provide staff time for 2 major Jade District planning processes for the Jade District Community Vision and the Powell Division High Capacity Transit Project. In conjunction with the Jade District Visioning in the summer of 2014, we hosted 5 workshops in Cantonese, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish, and English at the Jade District offices within the EPAP boundaries. Each workshop had around 10-15 participants. The final visioning with all community members had around 200 attendees and took place at Bridger Elementary. This project engaged our local residents and business community and has served as the basis for our current advocacy. Our community prioritized 1) improvements to the 82nd/Division Intersection 2) Walkability and Safety 3) need for community center and 4) need for green/open space. This process was done by first recruiting community leaders within the target communities to convene a diverse range of participants from their own networks that crossed age, gender identification, and socioeconomic status. Please see http://www.jadedistrict.org/About.html for links to all the plans and concept art from the visioning. We met or exceeded our final products proposed in our grant proposal. We continued the use of these funds for multi-lingual visioning for a Community Forum regarding the Powell Division BRT line on February 28th at Fubonn, which is also within the EPAP boundaries. This event brought 100 community members and was done in English, Cantonese, and Vietnamese. This event showed overwhelming support for having the BRT line up and down 82nd as long as there were strong policies in place to prevent displacement of the community. This was an extremely important piece of information and is helping inform the Metro planning process for route alignment, station placement, and protecting our local businesses. Please see http://www.oregonmetro.gov/public-projects/powell-division-transit-and-development-project for the project documents, including the Public Engagement Report, which highlights our work. These two projects addressed removing barriers to full community input (CB.1.2) and help to attain parity with other parts of the city in capital spending (EQ.1.4, EQ.3.2). Both these processes also helped us build new leadership within the organization by pulling in property owners and diverse members of the neighborhood to become more active members of the Jade District community. These events also helped us build stronger relationships with government agencies at the Bureau of Transportation, Housing Bureau, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Trimet, and Metro. One win has already been the Metro owned property at the corner of 82nd and Division was has been turned over to the Jade District for temporary community use. We also expect traffic safety improvements to be done in the coming years, including safety improvements at the 82nd and Division intersection to be done in 2016.
EQ.1. 5 Establish annual budget set-aside for East Portland neighborhood-based projects.
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The East Portland Action Plan has successfully lobbied for at least $150,000 annually for community small grants and projects for East Portland since 2009.
EPAP community members have successfully advocated for City funding for a staff advocate position and operations and for East Portland projects in Fiscal Years: 2009 - 2010; 2010 - 2011, 2011- 2012, and 2012 - 2013. In addition, the East Portland Neighborhood Office distributes about $30,000 for community small grants in East Portland, annually since 1991.

EQ.2 Foster regional equity in the distribution of affordable housing

EQ.2. 1 Explore ways to balance regional affordable housing supply and promote fair share for different parts of Portland.
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Convening coalition of public health and social justice grassroots advocacy organizations to explore repealing prohibition on mandatory inclusionary zoning policies, which would allow local jurisdictions (i.e. Portland and Gresham) to require the integration of affordable housing within new market-rate development, ensuring mixed-income housing dispersed equitably throughout communities and transit corridors.
Home Forward (fka Housing Authority of Portland) has initiatied a number of programs designed to: (1) encourge landlords in high opportunity areas to accept Home Forward Section 8 voucher clients; (2) raise payment standards in certain areas of the county in order to make it more feasible for a Section 8 client to access higher priced neighborhoods; (3) explore erasure of jurisdictional boundaries through a pilot program with the Housing Authority of Clackamas County which will allow voucher holders from either jurisdiction to move into the other's county while retaining the voucher issued by the originating Authority, thus affording clients greater choice in housing locations.

EQ.3 Implement Actions in the East Portland Action Plan

EQ.3. 1 Create an ongoing group to monitor EPAP progress and advocate for action.
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The East Portland Action Plan has regular and ongoing monthly meetings. This is what they do, monitor EPAP progress and advocate for action, since 2009.
EQ.3. 2 Annual review of agency budgets vis a vis EPAP priorities.
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Budget trainings and partnership events are offered and can be tailored to a community’s needs and interests. The trainings help educate participants on the City’s budget process and how to engage in that process. The partnership events are opportunities to provide input during the budget development process.
Several EPAP members have ongoing positions on several City of Portland budget advisory committees: Katie Larsell (Argay resident), on the Mayor's City-wide budget committee since 2010 David Hampsten (Hazelwood board member), on the PBOT budget advisory committee since December 2009 (& Linda Bauer as alternate) Tom Lewis (Centennial president), on the ONI budget advisory committee since 2010 In addition, Dr. Karen Gray, Superintendent of Parkrose Public Schools, is on the City of Portland Planning & Sustainability Commission, since 2010.