Historically, tax increment finance (TIF) districts in Portland have been a vehicle to serve ambitious land use plans and create resources for investment into regional assets like light rail, the Oregon Convention Center, and the East Bank Esplanade. In recent years, Prosper Portland has used TIF in innovative ways, to support neighborhood Action Plans and implement smaller TIF districts through the creation of the Neighborhood Prosperity Network (NPN), which have been informed by significant community engagement and outreach.
In 2018, a coalition of community-based partners in the Cully neighborhood approached Prosper Portland to explore a community-centered TIF district creation process that could lead to a new TIF model that centers historically underserved, marginalized and underrepresented community voices in the TIF district creation process. To that end, we participated in a co-creation model that centered those most vulnerable to displacement with an explicit goal of stabilization. As growth comes, we want to ensure all Cully’s residents can stay and benefit from the prosperity that growth can bring, rather than be pushed out and replaced by it.
An exploration committee made up of community-based organizations and Cully residents, Prosper Portland, and the Portland Housing Bureau co-created a Cully Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District proposal for Prosper Portland Board of Commissioners and Portland City Council consideration.
TIF funds may not be used for ongoing service provision. Additional resources will be necessary to implement the vision of the Cully TIF district, which will be highlighted in this portion of the proposal.
In addition to frequent community-led engagement opportunities, Prosper Portland will lead public engagement processes to capture feedback, including surveys, discussions with neighborhood and business associations, and at least two open houses.
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.
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?Lisa Norwood2022-09-13T14:13:51-07:00
Prosper Portland’s use of TIF resources has been progressive. TIF has supported Action Plans in Old Town, North/Northeast,Gateway & 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 Cully TIF District proposal could bring new resources to help stabilize Cully residents and businesses vulnerable to displacement. It’s important to ensure community members can stay and benefit from the prosperity that inevitable growth can bring, rather than be pushed out and replaced by it. The proposal was created using a co-creation model and the process was community-led. If adopted, a new Community Leadership Committee will guide decision-making related to the use of TIF funds for the life of the district.
What are examples of Prosper Portland’s community-driven neighborhood work?Lisa Norwood2022-09-13T14:15:02-07:00
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.
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?Lisa Norwood2022-09-13T14:15:30-07:00
If the Prosper Portland Board and City Council approve the creation of this new TIF district, fund distribution will be handled with transparency and will follow the Cully TIF 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.
Was my input considered in Living Cully’s survey?Lisa Norwood2022-09-13T14:15:57-07:00
All input is considered. Engagement to date prioritized input from priority communities (those most vulnerable to displacement) to understand how the Cully TIF District might work to avoid displacement.
How do I provide testimony on the Plan?Lisa Norwood2022-09-21T15:15:49-07:00
Public hearings will take place during the public approval process. Testimony may be submitted at meetings of the Prosper Portland Board,Planning and Sustainability Commission, and Portland City Council.
Prosper Portland, Portland Housing Bureau, and Exploration Leadership Committee, made up of seven organizations as well as community members from priority populations, are exploring the use of TIF funds for anti-displacement. Once the TIF district is formed, 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. The Cully community-led TIF proposal must be approved by City Council.
Is this a new tax or levy/fee?Lisa Norwood2022-03-04T12:15:53-08:00
The Draft 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 Draft 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.
“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.
Does a stabilization-focused TIF District run counter to the City’s density goals?Lisa Norwood2022-09-13T14:42:01-07:00
No. We are intentionally not using TIF in the traditional way but rather to stabilize Cully residents most vulnerable to displacement as continued growth and increasing property values inevitably come to Cully. A stabilization-focused TIF District won’t stop growth and density from coming. Instead, as growth comes, we want to ensure folks can stay and benefit from the prosperity that growth can bring, rather than be pushed out and replaced by it.
A community-led process
In 2018, a group of community-based organizations, representing people of color, tribal and Indigenous communities, immigrants and low-income people in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood, approached Prosper Portland and the Portland Housing Bureau to determine the applicability of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to community development and anti-displacement efforts.
The Community Vision
Cully is a place where Black, Indigenous and tribal, and all people of color, low-income people, and all residents enjoy stable housing and economic opportunities and participate in the decisions that affect them and their communities. TIF-funded neighborhood change, guided by individuals and groups vulnerable to displacement within Cully, results in more opportunities and greater stability for all Cully residents, rather than leading to displacement and gentrification.
ELC Partner Organizations & Members
To realize the neighborhood’s vision, the community organizations below, together with Prosper Portland and PHB, facilitated a community process beginning in 2019 to explore the creation of a Cully TIF District. This group is formally known as the Cully TIF District Exploration Leadership Committee (ELC).