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PHOTO CREDIT: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Pedestrians walk by a two-acre property at 2095 S.W. River Parkway, where the city plans to build at least 200 affordable housing unit. The City Council will consider an ordiance to buy one more acre for affordable housing in the area on Wednesday.More affordable housing will be built in the city-subsidized neighborhood known as North Macadam if the City Council approves an ordinance it is scheduled to consider Wednesday.


The ordinance, introduced by Commissioner Nick Fish, will commit the city to buying an additional one-acre parcel in the area for affordable housing no later than the 2022-2023 fiscal year. It is apparently part of deal worked out between Fish and Mayor Charlie Hales to reconfigure several of the city's urban renewal areas.

The ordinance can be read here.

Hales wants to place some of the property in the URAs on the property tax rolls earlier than scheduled. Fish wants the council to recommit to an affordable housing goal in the North Macadam URA that has not been met and appears to be slipping away.

The ordinance submitted by Fish is apparently key to Hales winning council approval for the URA changes he has been pursuing. They will also be considered by the council Wednesday. Hales also supports recommitting to the affordable housing goal.

Although the numbers have changes over the years, the council had most recently committed to having 788 units of affordable housing built in the North Macadam URA that includes the growing South Waterfront area along the west bank of the Willamette River south of the Marquam Bridge. Only 209 units have been built so far, however.

The council has agreed to help finance at least 200 more units of affordable housing on a two-acre piece of property owned by the Portland Development Commission at 2095 S.W. River Parkway, across the street from the Marriott Residence Inn. Fish's ordinance commits the council to buying one more acre in the North Macadam URA for the additional units needed to meet the city's goal.

Changes sought by Hales in the North Macadam URA will help finance the purchase and construction. According to Fish's ordinance, they will increase the URA by approximately 45 acres, which will generate an additional $38 million in urban renewal funds for affordable housing.

The ordinance directs the PDC, which administers the city's urban renewal areas, and the Portland Housing Bureau "to work collaboratively to identify and acquire the rights to develop affordable housing on a site of at least one acre in addition" to the Southwest River Parkway site. Work on that location is scheduled to begin in 2017.

South Water has been heavily targeted by the city for redevelopment. It is served by the Portland Streetcar and the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Line will run through it. Completed projects include several privately owned condominium towers, the Oregon Health & Sciences University Center for Health & Healing, the Collaborative Life Sciences Building & Skourtes Tower being used by OHSU, Oregon State University and Portland State University, and a number of market rate apartment buildings.

It will eventually include OHSU's Schnitzer Campus and Commons.

The only affordable housing project completed to date is the Gray’s Landing, located on the corner of Sothwest Lowell and Bond in South Waterfront.

The other ordinances relating to the URAs can be found at www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=26997.

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