Portland Local Action Plan for the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project approved 5-0 by City Council

News Article
Community development plan focuses on creating affordable housing and supporting local businesses and residents

On July 27, 2016, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to approve the Portland Local Action Plan for the Powell-Division corridor.

This plan is the City’s community development component of the Powell-Division Transit and Development project. It focuses on getting more and better affordable housing along the corridor, especially in and around East Portland, and making sure the project benefits current businesses and residents. The intent is to address housing and economic development issues in the corridor, while synchronizing investments with construction of the transit project.

Over the next five years, the plan aims to generate 300 affordable housing units, improve multi-dwelling standards and strengthen tenant protections. On the economic development side, the goal is to provide business assistance and retention services (i.e., prevent displacement of local businesses) and improve access to jobs for residents along the corridor from outer Southeast Portland to the Gresham border.

Council discussion

Before voting to approve the Local Action Plan, City Council had a lengthy discussion. Some commissioners were concerned about the funding gap noted in the plan — $27M for housing and more than $4M for economic development activities. Kurt Creager, housing director for the City, indicated that the funding gap for housing could be filled over the next five years with new resources that weren’t available at the time the plan was prepared.

Funding for the economic development activities for the first year of the plan will come from a variety of grants and other funding sources. In subsequent years, the economic development activities may require some general fund appropriations. But Commissioners agreed the plan was a good first step in getting ahead of rising costs before the transit project is built.

Council expressed appreciation for staff ingenuity to fund economic development activities in the first year and will re-evaluate the need each year.

Next steps

Fall 2016 – Locally Preferred Alternative decided.
Winter 2016 – City Council public hearing about the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA).
2017-19 – Design and engineering.
2018-21 – Construction.

The Powell-Division Transit and Development Project is expected to be completed in 2021 or 2022.

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