Among the many proposals Mayor Sam Adams announced in his February State of the City address was one he called the "neighborhood opportunity district." The concept is a sort of small-scale urban renewal zone that doesn't use long-term bonds to finance improvement projects.

"Without the larger scope or length of traditional urban renewal debt, these micro districts can jumpstart small-scale, big-impact projects, while not hampering Multnomah County or the City of Portland's general fund," Adams said in his Feb. 18 address.

The mayor's announcement followed months of wrangling with Multnomah County officials over another proposed urban renewal district, a sprawling central-city zone that looked a bit like a lobster when drawn on a map. That lobsterlike zone prompted questions from Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen about its financial impact on the county's dwindling budget.