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City may move some of Pearl District back on tax rolls

The Portland Development Commission is readying a proposal to shrink the size of the River District, the city’s urban renewal area that includes the Pearl District and Old Town, in order to put more property back on the tax rolls.

Mayor Charlie Hales has expressed a desire to put some of the Pearl District on the regular tax rolls — enough to generate $40 million to $50 million in property taxes over the next decade for local governments.

"We are looking at scenarios that I think would get him to that number,” said Patrick Quinton, PDC executive director.

The prime beneficiaries would be Portland Public Schools, Multnomah County and the city general fund. Currently the PDC collects the bulk of property taxes generated in the Pearl District, using the money to pay off urban renewal bonds that finance improvements in the district.

Quinton said the city urban renewal agency likely would propose moving something less than 20 percent of the River District onto the regular tax rolls. That would give PDC the ability to collect ongoing revenues to focus on improvements to Old Town and other unfinished business, including redevelopment of the regional Post Office facility and the Centennial Mills property.

Reducing the size of the district could mean it takes an extra year or two to pay off all the bonds sold for urban renewal projects, Quinton said.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or stevelaw@portlandtribune.com.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteveLawTrib

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