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Portland’s Mayor Delays Spending Money on Affordable Housing

By PDX People

PORTLAND, OR – Portland Oregon’s Mayor, Ted Wheeler, announced this week that he’s going to delay spending the $258.4 million affordable housing bond until he can establish a specific plan for oversight and spending.

Although more oversight and management of the $258.4 million affordable housing bond is a good idea, nobody can deny that real solutions are needed right now to combat the affordable housing problem in Portland Oregon especially as more of the cities homeless are dying this winter due to prolonged exposure to the elements.

Moving Towards Affordable Housing in Portland

Portland voters in November approved the bond after the City Council declared a state of emergency for affordable housing. The city has since earmarked almost 15 percent of the bond to buy an affordable housing complex in northeast Portland. That purchase will go as planned, but beyond that, the mayor wants to set his own strategy for spending and evaluating the use of the bond, spokesman Michael Cox said Monday. Willamette Week first reported the halt in spending, according to Oregon Live.

“I want to make sure we have a community agreement in place around the goals and priorities for that spending,” Wheeler said in a statement.

The mayor hopes to set up measurable goals for bond spending so that he can evaluate the most effective use of the money, Cox said. Wheeler plans to appoint a chair of the bond oversight committee.

He also plans to consult with housing experts to get consensus on how to best spend the rest of the bond.
“I’m going to rely upon the advice of 
affordable housing experts to make sure we meet the public’s expectations,” Wheeler said in a statement.

Real Solutions for Affordable Housing Are Needed Now

Mayor Wheeler’s commitment to sound fiscal management of the affordable housing bond is commendable but with ever rising rents, combined with sluggish job growth, the city needs real solutions now to create more affordable housing in Portland Oregon.

The city recently spent $51 million on an apartment complex in Portland, with the goal of turning it into affordable housing, but with more developers purchasing real estate in the city by the day, it’s anyone’s guess as to how much progress they can make in 2017 with creating more affordable housing here.


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