Prosper Portland (formerly known as the Portland Development Commission) plays a major role in making Portland one of America’s most livable cities, using tax increment financing (TIF) as a tool to focus public attention and resources in specific areas of the city. Prosper Portland helps Portland realize capital projects – parks, streetscape improvements, community centers –that would not happen on their own.
Prosper Portland leads the planning and implementation of comprehensive projects that fulfill Portland’s goal of creating healthy, vibrant neighborhoods throughout the city. The agency focuses on implementing plans unique to each TIF district, using an integrated approach to revitalization that includes commercial, retail/institutional, residential/mixed use, streets, mass transit and parks development.
Since its establishment in 1958, Prosper Portland has managed 25 TIF districts and/or programs, primarily locally funded. The four earliest, and federally funded projects were the Albina Neighborhood Improvement Plan, Portland State, Emanuel Hospital, and the Model Cities/Neighborhood Development Program. The remaining areas, with debt funding via local taxes, conform with current district definitions and include three closed/debt-retired areas (South Auditorium, NW Front Avenue, St. Johns), eleven existing districts, and the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative Districts.
In March 2015, a set of amendments to six TIF districts resulted in releasing approximately $122 million in property taxes to taxing jurisdictions and providing $97 million to Prosper Portland to invest in projects that will compel economic growth and real estate development in the North Macadam and Central Eastside districts.
The use of TIF continues to evolve to meet the wisdom, goals and community needs of the times.