Central City TIF Exploration

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Central City TIF Exploration2024-05-21T14:21:16-07:00

Central City TIF Exploration

Contact: Sarah Harpole at cctif@prosperportland.us

Tax increment financing (TIF) districts in Portland have been instrumental in implementing ambitious land use plans. TIF resources have facilitated investment into regional assets and infrastructure like light rail, the Oregon Convention Center, and the East Bank Esplanade. Recently, Prosper Portland has used TIF in innovative ways that focus on people. The creation of the Neighborhood Prosperity Network (NPN) and the 2022 creation of the Cully TIF District are two examples. Significant community engagement, leadership, and outreach informed both efforts.

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Today, the majority of TIF resources in the Central City have been fully expended or committed to key outstanding priorities. City Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who oversees the city’s Community and Economic Development service area, has directed Prosper Portland and the Portland Housing Bureau to partner with community in a TIF exploration process for Portland’s Central City. She has also directed the agencies to advance the work as far as possible before the change in City government occurs at year-end 2024.

Exploration discussions will build upon years of community planning efforts (e.g., Central City 2035, Portland Housing Needs Analysis, and various development Master Plans) to identify which priorities are eligible for TIF funding, and which are not. The exploration process may result in the creation of multiple new TIF districts.

To begin, Commissioner Rubio has appointed a Central City TIF Exploration Steering Committee. Members of the committee represent a broad range of interests and expertise including housing production across varied levels of affordability, economic development, and development of key large scale development opportunities. The committee will collaborate in the development of a proposal for City Council’s consideration, including proposed district geographies and priority project lists, while taking into consideration the geographic and financial constraints and legal limitations of TIF funding. Interest-specific subcommittees will support the work by undertaking gap analyses and developing investment priorities and opportunity site recommendations.

Central City TIF Exploration Steering Committee

Andrew FitzpatrickOffice of Mayor Wheeler
Angel MedinaRepublica
Angela RicoOffice of Commissioner Rubio
Brad CloepfilAllied Works
Brian FerrisoPortland Art Museum / Travel Portland Board
Carolyne HolcombCentral Eastside Industrial Council
Catherine CiarloMetro
Christina GhanOffice of Commissioner Rubio
Damien HallHome Forward
Dana WhitePortland Public Schools
Dr. Carlos RichardHistoric Albina Advisory Board
Eric PaineCommunity Development Partners
Erin GrahamOMSI
Gus BaumSecurity Properties
Ian RollGensler
James ParkerOregon Native American Chamber
Jason ChuppSwinerton
Jason FranklinPortland State University
Jeff RenfroMultnomah County
Jessica CurtisBrookfield Properties / Pioneer Place
Jessie BurkeOld Town Community Association
Jill ShermanEdlen & Co
JT FlowersAlbina Vision Trust
Kimberly BranamProsper Portland
Lauren PengCBRE
Marc BrunePAE Engineers
Mary-Rain O’MearaCentral City Concern
Matt GoodmanDowntown Development Group
Michael BuonocorePortland Housing Bureau
Millicent WilliamsPortland Bureau of Transportation
Monique ClaiborneGreater Portland Inc
Natalie KingTrail Blazers
Nicole Davison LeonHispanic Chamber
Peter AndrewsMelvin Mark
Sam RodriguezMill Creek Residential
Sarah StevensonInnovative Housing
Stef KondorRelated Northwest
Sydney MeadPortland Metro Chamber
Tom KilbaneUrban Renaissance Group / Lloyd Mall


Steering Committee meetings are open to the public and will include time for public comment at the start of each meeting.  Agendas and meeting notes will be posted regularly on this website.

Upcoming Meetings

Past Meetings

The Process

The Central City TIF Exploration Steering Committee will inform the TIF exploration process through a combination of Steering Committee meetings and work within interest-specific subcommittee meetings. The Steering Committee’s work will conclude with a proposal for City Council’s consideration, including proposed district geographies and priority project lists, while taking into consideration the geographic and financial constraints and legal limitations of TIF funding.
Prosper Portland, in partnership with the Portland Housing Bureau, will create corresponding TIF District Plans and Reports. These documents are legally required to establish a TIF district. They contain, among other information, guiding principles, findings demonstrating investment needs, and eligible types of projects.

The Prosper Portland Board will vote on the Draft Plan and Report, and the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will provide a recommendation on the proposal before it moves to the City Council for consideration. A super-notice and three public hearings will capture public comments on the proposal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a TIF district?2023-10-19T09:26:49-07:00

TIF is a state-authorized, redevelopment and finance program designed to help communities improve and redevelop areas that are physically deteriorated, suffering economic stagnation, unsafe or poorly planned. In short, it’s intended to leverage public resources (in the form of tax funds) for re-investment in the community.

How has Prosper Portland’s use of TIF evolved?2023-10-19T09:26:36-07:00

Prosper Portland’s use of TIF resources has been progressive. TIF has supported Action Plans in Old TownNorth/Northeast, Gateway, and Lents with goals like affordable commercial tenanting and investments that align with the agency’s strategic goals for healthy neighborhoods and widely shared prosperity.

In 2011, the creation of the Neighborhood Prosperity Network employed a community-city partnership to build capacity for community-specific economic development. The shift in TIF usage also redirected focus toward low-income populations and communities of color. However, these NPN districts are small and limited in duration, generating very modest tax increment finance revenue over a decade. The Cully TIF District area contains two NPNs, Our 42nd Avenue and Cully Boulevard Alliance.  The East Portland exploration area contains four NPNs: Rosewood Initiative, Division-Midway Alliance, Historic Parkrose, and the Jade District.

The newest TIF district in Cully will bring new resources to help stabilize Cully residents and businesses vulnerable to displacement, so they can stay and benefit from the prosperity that inevitable growth can bring, rather than be pushed out and replaced by it. The Plan was created using a co-creation model and the process was community-led. A new Cully Community Leadership Committee will guide decision-making related to the use of TIF funds for the life of the district.

How does TAX Increment Financing (TIF) generate revenue?2023-10-19T09:25:47-07:00

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a funding strategy designed to make strategic investments in housing and economic development to stabilize communities and businesses within a designated geographic area. Assuming those investments increase overall property values and associated taxes over time, TIF allows the City to essentially freeze taxes in this area and capture the increase to fund improvements over 20-30 years that will result in increased district wealth and tax revenues.

When a TIF district is created, the existing property tax revenue from the designated area is split into two parts:

  • Frozen Base: Continues to go to the taxing jurisdictions, such as the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and Portland Public Schools.
  • Increment: As property values increase over time from new commercial buildings, housing development, gathering spaces or other projects, or from appreciation, the increment goes to Prosper Portland for reinvestment in the district.

In general, TIF captures increases in tax revenue without any change in tax rates. Prosper Portland and the Portland Housing Bureau will receive funds from increases in property value that would otherwise go to taxing jurisdictions. This revenue includes up to 3% per year for existing properties plus any additional value from new development. Prosper Portland and the Portland Housing Bureau will use those resources to pay for public improvements. The City and community committee work together to set 5-year action plans to determine priorities and investments in affordable housing, home repairs, community amenities, commercial spaces for local businesses, or other eligible projects.

In most cases, the result will be that Prosper Portland and PHB will collect taxes that would have otherwise gone to the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and other taxing jurisdictions, not an increase in taxes (see the graph below for information on how TIF revenue is captured).

Graph describing Tax Increment Financing

However, the Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund (FPD&R) Plan is required to be fully funded. This requirement means that tax collections must be enough to provide both the amount requested for the FPD&R Plan and for TIF plans. Taxpayers pay an additional amount of taxes for this levy as a result of how taxes are assessed and collected throughout the city. For example, the additional tax rate for the FPD&R Plan for the Cully TIF District is an estimated $0.0014 per $1,000 of assessed value in the first year of the plan, resulting in an extra $0.70 in taxes for a homeowner whose house has an assessed value of $500,000. The FPD&R rate will vary over time depending on the requirements of the plan in any given year compared to total taxable assessed value available to calculate the rate.

What are examples of Prosper Portland’s community-driven neighborhood work?2023-10-19T09:25:29-07:00
  1. The development of Gateway Discovery Park and the adjacent The Nick Fish mixed-use housing project were collaborative, multi-partner, community-driven efforts involving considerable engagement with neighborhood businesses and community members.
  1. The North/Northeast Action Plan Leadership Committee works in partnership with Prosper Portland to implement the Action Plan for the N/NE Community Development Initiative for economic development in the N/NE Interstate Corridor. The Initiative has focused on TIF-eligible, “bricks & mortar” development projects and prioritizes non-TIF investments that support Initiative goals, such as business technical assistance. The committee leads with a focus on engagement with communities of color; supports partnerships with community-based organizations and leaders; provides recommendations on Action Plan direction and investment priorities; identifies service providers to advise on Action Plan implementation; assesses progress; and makes recommendations to improve impact.
What is the process for fund distribution?2023-10-19T09:25:13-07:00

Fund distribution will be handled with transparency and will follow the District Plan priorities, whether through a public and competitive process or in the case of loans or grants, by using program guidelines adopted by the Prosper Portland board and reported on to the public.

What is the process for accountability?2023-10-19T09:25:00-07:00

If TIF exploration results in the creation of a TIF district, accountability is multi-layered: to City Council, the community, the TIF plan and Five-Year Action Plan, budget advisory committee, our auditors, and indirectly, the district’s bond holders. Prosper Portland is responsible for distributing the funds and administering TIF districts for the City of Portland. A TIF proposal must be approved by City Council.

Is this a new tax or levy/fee?2023-10-19T09:24:27-07:00

No, TIF uses existing real estate taxes already being paid to invest back into the community.

The Cully TIF District focuses on “Priority Communities.” What does that mean?2023-10-19T09:23:52-07:00

The Cully TIF Plan takes a targeted universalism approach. Targeted universalism means setting universal goals for a community and then developing strategies to achieve those goals, based upon how different groups are situated within society. By focusing energy on those farthest from the goal, we move the entire community closer to the goal.

The Cully TIF Plan aims to stabilize Cully residents and ensure the neighborhood provides a sense of belonging for everyone. To move the community toward this goal, energy must be spent on those historically marginalized, made invisible, or most at risk of displacement.  The definition of “Priority Communities” in Cully was developed in collaboration  with partners representing those communities, and explicitly states who is intended to most benefit from Cully TIF resources.

For reference, the Cully definition is below; East Portland TIF exploration may rely on this definition, or tailor it to better match their unique communities.

“Priority Communities” refers to the intended beneficiaries of the Cully TIF District: African American and Black persons; Indigenous and Native American persons; persons of color; immigrants and refugees of any legal status; renters; mobile home residents; persons with disabilities; low-income people; houseless people; and other population groups that are systemically vulnerable to exclusion from Cully due to gentrification and displacement.

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