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Volume 16, Issue 7
July 2018


Metro’s Affordable Housing bond measure

Portland-area voters will see a $652.8 million general obligation bond to fund affordable housing on the November 2018 ballot.  The measure, proposed by Oregon’s Metro Council regional agency, could fund the construction, acquisition and renovation of affordable housing for approximately 7,500 to 12,000 people in the greater Portland region.  The measures defines affordable housing as land and improvements for residential units occupied by low-income households making 80 percent or less of area median income, which in 2018 for a family of four was $65,120.

If approved, the bond is expected to cost the region’s homeowners an average of $5 a month, or 24 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

This measure will authorize Metro to issue $652.8 million in general obligation bonds to provide affordable housing for low-income families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities in the Metro region, which includes Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties. (Approximately 45 percent of homes created through the bond would be in Multnomah County, 34 percent in Washington County, and 21 percent in Clackamas County.)

Metro will use the bond funds for its affordable housing program, and will work cooperatively with local housing providers to provide them with bond funds to purchase and rehabilitate existing housing to preserve its affordability and prevent displacement, and to buy land for the immediate or future construction of new affordable housing.

A group of community and housing leaders met during the spring to advise Metro on the measure. They found alignment around some of the key values that informed the framework Metro developed for the measure. The group had previously affirmed that racial equity and equity related to age, ability and inclusivity are key values that Metro should use in designing the potential funding measure and investing in building and protecting affordable homes.

In March the stakeholders also articulated a number of additional priority values, including: Homes for youth, seniors, families and people who are experiencing homelessness or are vulnerable to homelessness; Development that increases community access to transportation, employment, education, food and social services; Fiscally sound projects that permanently preserve affordability; and Mixed-income communities and mixed housing types.

The Oregon Legislature has also recently referred a constitutional amendment to statewide voters for consideration on the November 2018 ballot. If this amendment passes, the Metro measure can leverage additional funding and partnerships with cities and nongovernmental entities, such as nonprofit housing providers. If Oregon voters don’t approve the proposed amendment, only government agencies could own affordable homes built and acquired with proceeds from a regional bond measure.

A report issued by Metro’s Chief Operating Office Martha Bennett describes the process and fills out many of the details of the proposed plan. You can download it here.


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Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
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