Gresham voters will decide urban renewal extension
Gresham voters are being asked to extend a program responsible for improving Rockwood's economy and community.
A ballot measure in the Tuesday, May 17, election poses the question of extending the Rockwood-West Gresham Urban Renewal District through June 30, 2029, a six-year expansion from the current expiration date in 2023.
If it passes, the extension will allow Gresham to spend about $37 million on new projects centered in Rockwood, including transportation, housing, job creation, small business support, and parks and recreation. It is most often used for infrastructure and economic development.
Urban renewal districts do not increase property taxes. Instead, the system dedicates funds to a specific region, like Rockwood, for improvement. It changes how the existing taxes collected on properties are divided among taxing districts like the city and Multnomah County. If the measure fails, then that money going to Rockwood would be diverted to other locations.
In 2003 voters passed the existing Rockwood/West Gresham District, which is 1,211 acres and extends from Northeast 181st Avenue, Burnside and Stark Street, to just north of Interstate 84.
Since its formation, the urban renewal district has produced some successes.. Officials said it has assisted in relocating 40 new businesses into the area, bringing nearly 700 jobs. The district has secured affordable housing and facilitated the building of the Gresham Public Safety Facility on Northeast 181st Avenue.
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