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  • 27 Dec 2014

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  • 28 Dec 2014

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Sources Say: Hales parks carbon tax

As Charlie Hales considers possible new revenue sources for maintaining and improving Portland streets, he has taken a city carbon tax off the table.

The mayor’s office worked with the Oregon Environmental Council this year on a poll to determine whether Portland would support a local tax on carbon-based fuels. The OEC, which paid for the poll, has so far declined to release its results. But Hales tells the Portland Tribune it showed little backing for a local carbon tax.

“People think a carbon tax is something the federal or state government should do, not the city government,” Hales says.

Michael’s right 2 dream of a higher appraisal

Michael Wright says he’s holding out for $2 million before selling his land at Northwest Fourth Avenue and Burnside Street — home to the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp — to the Portland Development Commission.

But Patrick Quinton, PDC executive director, says his agency told Wright it would pay the appraised value for the site, and an appraiser set the value at $1.2 million. “He agreed to the appraiser that we used,” Quinton says of Wright.

That valuation was based on what appraisers call the “highest and best use” of the property, which would be along the lines of a social service provider for the homeless.

But PDC has no intention of selling the property for such purposes, Quinton says. “Old Town has its share of those kind of organizations.”

That suggests that PDC wouldn’t even recoup its $1.2 million if it buys and then

resells the property.

PDC already has some pricey property across the street from Wright’s site, the former Grove Hotel. But Quinton says PDC is talking to an interested buyer for the Grove, even with the homeless camp across the street. “They’re not at all turned off by the camp,” he says.

Little boxes smash through Black Friday

Portland’s “shop local” Black Friday event turned out to be a smashing success — in part thanks to the rise of social media, organizers say.

In the two days after Thanksgiving, promoters of “Little Boxes” say the 200 participating independent retailers brought in about $283,500 in revenue. Cash register sales came to an average of $60, or $1,453 per store.

Overall, shoppers made more than 4,700 purchases and 29,000 entries into the event raffle.

Part of the popularity was the ease in access, with 2,300 shoppers downloading the new Little Boxes iPhone app to check the location of stores and unlock discounts.

The app proved so popular that Little Boxes creators Betsy Cross and Will Cervarich kept the mobile directory operating through December.

Little Boxes promoters are still blogging and using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels. Now if they could just invent an app to wrap all those presents.