March 5th, 2008 5:33 pm | by COREY PEIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, Politics, City Hall

North Portland Drowns In Mustard!

ezoneMake that gravy.
The yellow parts on the map signify "enterprise zones," where the Portland Development Commission grants property tax breaks to certain businesses, in hopes of luring them to the city.
Today the City Council reauthorized the PDC program, which was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1985 and tweaked in 2007.
Notice something about the boundaries? They're non-contiguous. There's even a couple of little gravy islands.
This is what so ticked off opponents to Commissioner Erik Sten's plan to create "satellite" Urban Renewal Districts, which are also managed by the PDC. The Portland Business Alliance opposed the plan when Sten first announced it, and last week, a legal memo requested by Mayor Tom Potter's office tried to poke holes in Sten's plan, but found that non-contiguous urban renewal boundaries were "not likely to be a serious impediment to proceeding."
With all this fuss over sending Pearl District dough to David Douglas, how come nobody makes noise about the enterprise zone archipelago?
"It's kind of funny, but I wouldn't put too much in that," says Sten.
Sten joined today's unanimous Council vote in favor of enterprise zones, even though he thinks they've been "woefully ineffective" in the past. This time around, he thinks the Legislature has done a reasonable job requiring more concessions from companies wanting a tax break.
For instance, the resolution the Council approved today requires that companies pay 15 percent of what they would've paid in property taxes into a state workforce development fund, that they make an effort to buy locally and that they retain half of the employees who make it past probation for two years.
PDC says the e-zones have brought 4,600 jobs to Portland at a cost of $26 million in forsaken tax revenue.
Want a property tax break for your business? Here are the instructions. Good luck.
Got no capital? Tough luck.
But take heart, the Council is working on it. Thanks to today's 4-0 vote (Commissioner Sam Adams was said to be out sick) here should be a day labor hiring site in Northeast Portland by May Day or Cinco de Mayo.
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