Saltzman postpones affordable housing hearing one week

PORTLAND TRIBUNE JONATHAN HOUSE  - The Abigail is one of the few affordable housing projects under construction. It is at Northwest 13th Avenue and Raleigh Street. State Treasurer Ted Wheeler supported increasing the amount of urban renewal funds for affordable housing from 30 to 50 percent during a Friday meeting with the editorial board of the Portland Tribune.

"People say there are trade offs, but we need to do it if there is truly a crisis," said Wheeler, who is running for mayor against incumbent Charlie Hales.

The Portland Tribune will include more on Wheeler's interview in its Tuesday, Oct. 20, issue.

Affordable housing advocates are urging the council to increase the percent of urban renewal funds for affordable housing to 50 percent.

Wheeler's comments came day after Commission Dan Saltzman postponed asking the City Council to increase the so-called affordable housing set-aside. Saltzman had originally planned to ask the council to approve an increase beyond the current 30 percent goal on Oct. 21. But he delayed the discussion one week after the council failed to reach agreement on a new goal during an Oct. 13 work session.

Saltzman says he will also ask the council to authorize a study to assess the impacts that commercial and residential development have on the need for affordable housing on Oct. 28. He says this “nexus study" could lead to the adoption of a "linkage fee" the council could adopt on all new development to funds more affordable housing projects.

"The need for affordable housing in our city is great, we face a shortage of tens of thousands of units of affordable housing which will require a multi-faceted funding approach," said Saltzman, who is in charge of the Portland Housing Bureau.

During the work session, the council heard from city officials who said much of the city's anticipated urban renewal revenue is already dedicated to other projects or needed for such long term goals as the purchase and redeveloped of the downtown U.S. Post Office site, which is estimated at $115 million.

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