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Wheeler was elected mayor at the May primary election on a platform that included addressing the affordable housing crisis. The bond measure was overwhelmingly approved by voters after a campaign that said it was necessary to increase the supply of affordable housing. The measure requires the appointment of a committee to oversee its spending.


In his first significant act since taking control of the Portland Housing Bureau, Mayor Ted Wheeler has suspending spending any more money from the $258 million affordable housing bond approved by voters in November until more agreement is reached on its goals and priorities.

"I have directed the Portland Housing Bureau to suspend contractual negotiations that use funds associated with the housing bond until we have a community agreement in place. I expect that community agreement to clarify the goals and priorities for use of these funds," Wheeler said in a statement in response to questions from Willamette Week.

Wheeler has not halted the purchase of the 263-unit Ellington apartments approved by the former City Council in December. The council agreed to spend $51 million to buy and repair the sprawling Northeast Portland complex, with $37 million coming from the bond.

That averages nearly $194,000 per unit. The council has previously been crticized for investing affordable housing funds in projects with similar costs. One affordable housing builder, Home First Development, has been building projects whose units average around $80,000.

Wheeler was elected mayor at the May primary election on a platform that included addressing the affordable housing crisis. The bond measure was overwhelmingly approved by voters after a campaign that said it was necessary to increase the supply of affordable housing. The measure requires the appointment of a committee to oversee its spending.

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