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2022 Oversight Committee Report Highlights Landmark Year for Portland’s Housing Bond

News Article
A photo of PHB Interim Director Molly Rogers, Bond Coordinator Megan Grillo, and Bond Oversight Committee Vice-Chair Allan Lazo presenting the 2022 Bond Progress Report to Portland City Council.
The committee overseeing implementation of city’s first affordable housing bond presented their 2022 report, highlighting the City’s accomplishments in exceeding commitments for the voter-approved resources.

PORTLAND, OR (April 19, 2023) – The committee tasked with overseeing implementation of Portland’s first voter-approved affordable housing bond presented its 2022 report to Portland City Council this afternoon, highlighting the City’s progress in the last year toward exceeding its commitments to voters.

The 2022 report shows that with the Bond funds now fully committed, the Portland Housing Bureau will exceed the original 1,300-unit production goal for the Bond by 43 percent – achieving 1,859 permanently affordable homes, expected to house more than 4,000 Portlanders. Additionally, five Bond projects opened in 2022 providing a total of 538 new units and housing more than 1,200 Portlanders.

“Portland’s first voter-approved housing bond has been a testament to what we can achieve when we come together as a community. Now we are truly seeing the fruits of our collective effort,” said Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “Hand in hand with our partners, we are delivering on our promises to the voters. I am especially proud of the thoughtful, intentional work of the Portland Housing Bureau and their development partners to advance racial equity through these investments so that our BIPOC communities are able to receive the supports necessary to thrive in their housing, as well as a shared sense of belonging and pride in their communities.”

City Council appointed the five-member Bond Oversight Committee (BOC) to oversee implementation of Portland’s Housing Bond, which dedicated $258.4 million to support the creation of new permanently affordable housing. In 2017, City Council also approved the Bond Policy Framework, a community-driven roadmap that established production goals, priorities, and accountability measures to ensure Bond investments advance equitable housing opportunity for low-income households, with a focus on vulnerable Portlanders earning between 0-30% of Area Median Income (AMI) – or no more than $22,389 per year for a single adult in 2022. The BOC is also tasked with ensuring Bond funds are invested in a manner consistent with the original intent of voters, as well as adherence to the Policy Framework, engaging communities, and maintaining fiscal accountability.

In addition to exceeding all production targets,the report highlighted accomplishments in meeting the policy priorities of the Framework plan. These included:

Constructing new housing in high opportunity areas with access to transportation, jobs, open spaces, high-quality schools, services, and amenities; and preventing displacement by acquiring housing in areas at high risk for gentrification.

The report shows that 83% of the new units opened or in construction are located in high opportunity areas; 39% of the total units are located in areas at high risk for gentrification.

Increasing Equity in Contracting.

At the end of 2022, the ten Bond projects completed or under construction had exceeded the Portland Housing Bureau’s goal of 30% Disadvantaged, Minority, and Women Emerging Small Business-owned firm participation for hard costs, achieving 32% collectively (including 24% participation by certified D/M/WBE firms – exceeding PHB's 14% sub-goal category).

Portland's Housing Bond projects also achieved the bureau’s Apprentice & Workforce Diversity program minimum goal of 20% of labor hours worked by state registered apprentices on contracts that exceed $300,000. In 2022, apprentice hours for Bond projects represented 22% of the total labor hours worked, with apprentice hours reaching 39% for BIPOC individuals and 15% for women. Journey level hours were over 34% for BIPOC individuals.

Increasing access for priority communities; aligning with services from community partners and the homeless system of care.

In partnership with the Joint Office of Homeless Services and Home Forward, 93% of Bond projects include Supportive Housing units, a total of 399 units overall, which provide services for households exiting or at risk of homelessness. Two-thirds of these projects have partnered with culturally specific agencies such as the Native American Rehabilitative Association (NARA), Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), El Programa Hispano, and Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), to provide supportive services and referrals.

Engaging Community.

Collaboration with community partners and transparency to the public are among the guiding principles of the Framework. The Bond Oversight Committee is committed to ensuring Portland communities are kept informed and have opportunities to provide feedback throughout the implementation of the Bond. The report found that Bond project teams continuously worked with community stakeholders to inform project designs, leasing strategies and resident services programs. Community feedback has resulted in design changes including added laundry rooms, community space, outdoor amenities, and increased bedroom sizes. Further, Bond projects already open engage the resident community primarily through on-site property management and resident services staff to understand needed resources and improvements, such as securing partnerships and grants to increase programming and amenities.

Use of remaining Bond funds.

The final Bond funds were released in an October 2021 solicitation. Three new projects were awarded Portland Bonds in early 2022, committing the remaining Bond funds to create an additional 369 affordable housing units for families or people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. These three new projects began pre-development activities in 2022 with construction beginning in early 2023, providing homes for approximately 780 Portlanders. 

“At a time when we recognize there is so much need among our families, friends, and neighbors for access to housing, it’s encouraging to see the progress being made to create affordable housing options for thousands of residents and hundreds of families across Portland,” said Allan Lazo, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Council of Oregon and Vice Chair of the Bond Oversight Committee. “I have also greatly appreciated seeing the intentionality the City has taken in this work to serve often under-resourced communities and to not only identify areas of pressing need but to also be in position to leverage emerging opportunities.”

Download the full report here.