Prosper Portland’s primary source of funding for projects and programs are debt proceeds generated through the use of tax increment financing. Approximately 90% of our resources come in tax increment debt proceeds, with additional funding coming from federal and other grants, program income earned on asset management, contracts for services, City of Portland General Fund allocations, and lending agreements.
Our mission is to create economic growth and opportunity for Portland by investing in job creation, encouraging broad economic prosperity, and fostering great places throughout Portland. We accomplish this by targeting our investment of public funds to stimulate private sector investment, job creation and expansion of the tax base. Our work in the River District urban renewal area is an excellent example.
Home to the Pearl District, Old Town/Chinatown and swaths of grittier, industrial properties, the River District URA has experienced phenomenal growth since 2001. Twenty years ago, what we know as the Pearl District was a derelict, underused railroad yard and warehousing area. Today, it’s an internationally-recognized success story – just one of the highlights of our work in the River District, which has included public investment in an array of neighborhood parks, new roads and parking facilities, affordable and catalyzing market-rate housing and innovative projects that maintain the vibrancy of Portland’s downtown core. Much of the URA’s 350 acres have been transformed into a high density urban neighborhood with a lively mix of residents and businesses, major office spaces, regional attractions, retail, parks and open spaces.
That transformation has also included redevelopment of the historic Meier & Frank department store in the retail core south of Burnside and supporting the important connection between the River District and downtown Portland.
Prosper Portland’s role was to put in place the appropriate infrastructure that would allow private development to go forward. In the final analysis, 90 percent of the funding for River District development has come from private sources. Since the inception of the district in FY 1999-2000, its assessed value has grown by $1.7 billion.