Project promotes social equity, improves socio-economic opportunities for underserved and underrepresented communities
Portland City Council today voted unanimously to approve the Broadway Corridor Ordinance introduced by Mayor Ted Wheeler, marking a major milestone in the development of Portland’s next diverse, vibrant new neighborhood.
The 5-0 vote sets the stage for the next phase of the large-scale community development project in northwest Portland. The work at Broadway Corridor, which firmly places equity at the center of all development, will focus on reducing disparities, extending community benefits, building affordable housing and improving socio-economic opportunities for underserved and underrepresented communities.
The Ordinance represents more than four years of community engagement and development planning work, including negotiations over the past 18 months between the city of Portland, led by Prosper Portland, the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB), the Healthy Communities Coalition, and development partner Continuum Partners on a community benefits agreement (CBA).
“Our action today advances a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop the Broadway Corridor in a true partnership between city bureaus, community organizations and private partners, with equity as the driving force of transformation,” said Mayor Wheeler. “I am proud to have championed this groundbreaking development project throughout my time as Portland’s mayor and look forward to watching this project unfold for our entire community.”
The Broadway Corridor Ordinance encompasses the CBA, disposition and development agreement (DDA), the public investment strategy and a local improvement district for the project.
Prosper Portland executive director Kimberly Branam said, “We are so pleased to advance this truly transformative project. By centering all design, engagement, and construction work around equity, we have created a model that we hope becomes the standard for all subsequent development projects in Portland. As we prepare to start the next phase of work at Broadway Corridor, we acknowledge and thank the many public, private, and non-profit partners and community members who helped us reach this milestone.”
“This action brings us another step closer to creating a new, vibrant neighborhood that provides equitable opportunities and is welcoming to all Portlanders,” said Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan. “I appreciate all of the partners—the Healthy Communities Coalition, City bureaus, and Prosper Portland—for their shared commitment to making this a reality.”
“There are things we’ve never done before that are in the community benefits agreement,” said Vivian Satterfield, director of strategic partnerships at Verde and lead negotiator for the Healthy Communities Coalition. “We’re all living through this extraordinary period in which the confluence of multiple crises is showing us there has to be a different way of doing business. This is one example, one way I think that we can do things differently, do things better, and I’m excited to see us succeed.”
“Thanks to Prosper, the HCC members and staff, and Continuum for really imagining something new and better when it comes to sustainable development,” said Felisa Hagins, political director for SEIU Local 49. “These agreements are a real commitment to workers of color, women workers, immigrants and other marginalized groups that will stay with the project long-term. The CBA meets the true definition of sustainability and I look forward to seeing it in reality.”
“This landmark Broadway Corridor work with its collaboratively constructed CBA, and the city leadership that was wise enough to champion it, will put Portland on the map as the model for accountable, responsive, redressive government,” said Marcus Mundy, executive director of Coalition of Communities of Color. “It is the acknowledgement of the unfettered potential for equity in Portland when Portland includes all residents in planning, economic opportunity and wealth creation. This project takes an important step in this process.”
“The Broadway Corridor and the framework of these agreements presents the opportunity to completely reimagine how large-scale projects distribute equity for the benefit of all citizens of the community,” said Mark Falcone, CEO, Continuum Partners. “We are most excited about the innovative strategies we are working on with key members of the very communities whose members were coercively displaced from economic opportunity over the last century to ensure that this new neighborhood will include meaningful wealth creation opportunity for those citizens. We’ve done a lot of public-private projects, and I can assure you that none of them have ever had the kind of ambition reflected in these agreements. We all have a lot of work ahead of us, and Continuum looks forward to the next decade or two of work alongside of our partners in this exciting project.”
Next steps on the Broadway Corridor work include relocation of the United States Postal Service retail facility; demolition of existing mail processing buildings and environmental remediation; and finalization of the intergovernmental agreements and land transfer with the Portland Housing Bureau.
Council’s approval further directs bureaus to now take actions necessary or appropriate to facilitate the development of Broadway Corridor consistent with the CBA and DDA term sheets, which include the following specific actions:
• Portland Housing Bureau’s participation in the CBA, including a commitment to conduct intentional outreach to Black, Indigenous, Chinese and Japanese American communities with historic ties to the site as part of PHB’s affordable housing efforts;
• Adding the Broadway Corridor project to the Portland Parks & Recreation System Development Charge Capital Improvement Plan and the Transportation eligible TSDC project list to provide a share of funding for new parks and streets;
• Directing infrastructure bureaus (Water, Transportation, Parks and Environmental Services) to undertake design and construction of public improvements and to negotiate and enter into one or more CBAs substantially consistent with the City’s template community benefits agreement as part of those projects;
• Via separate legislative action, creating a local improvement district assessed against development to fund new streets at NW Johnson Street, NW Kearney Street and NW Park Avenue.
• Restructuring Prosper Portland’s repayment of the line of credit originally provided by the City to assist with acquisition of the property. This restructuring aligns with Council-advised support for community benefit and infrastructure outcomes envisioned in the agreements. The restructuring also allows for up to $15,000,000 of the line of credit to be covered by the general fund, if required.
“I want to thank Prosper Portland and Executive Director Kimberly Branam for their hard work on this project,” Mayor Wheeler said. “This ordinance is another example of Portland’s commitment to sustainability, creating a welcoming gateway that will strengthen connections across the river and create a sense of belonging for all who live, work or visit the site. It is also a key opportunity to reduce racial and social disparities and extend benefits to all communities throughout Portland.”