Housing Pipeline News Mixed: The Portland Housing Bureau this week released its 154-page "State of Housing in Portland" report. In the document, Mayor Ted Wheeler highlights real progress: "The city's affordable housing production has reached an all-time high, with more than 800 newly affordable units opened in 2018—the largest number ever." It's still proving difficult, however, to produce units affordable to the city's poorest residents. The report shows three components of the city's subsidized "pipeline": a phased-out tax-subsidy program and its successor, the new inclusionary zoning program, and a direct cash subsidy. Each has about 2,000 units pending. The first two won't produce a single unit for people most likely to be homeless, those earning 30 percent or less of area median income. Matthew Tschabold, the Housing Bureau's interim assistant director, says such units are achievable only when the city provides a direct cash subsidy to developers. That program will produce 248 units for people in the 30 percent bracket.
Justice Department Rejects Richardson's Move: On Monday, the Oregon Department of Justice nixed an October request by Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson to have his deputy, Leslie Cummings, serve on the Oregon Land Board in his stead. Richardson is battling brain cancer and limiting his public schedule. State Treasurer Tobias Read's office asked the DOJ for an opinion on whether the law allowed Richardson to send a surrogate in his place. On the eve of the Land Board's Dec. 17 meeting, the department rejected Richardson's request. "Although our office has a different perspective on this," Richardson's legal director, Steve Elzinga, said in an email, "Secretary Richardson does not want to waste taxpayer resources on a lengthy legal fight." Richardson attended the meeting by conference call.
Hopes for Harbor: Developer Homer Williams has taken a small step toward his long-planned Harbor of Hope project, a homeless campus proposed on vacant city land in Northwest Portland adjacent to the Broadway Bridge. Documents obtained by WW show, as part of lease negotiations with the city, Williams obtained a forgivable $100,000 loan from the city's development agency, Prosper Portland, to explore environmental cleanup of the land. Eileen Park, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ted Wheeler, acknowledged Williams is also seeking city funds to operate the project. "There isn't a formal commitment," Park says. "We continue to be in discussions."
White Nationalist Hospitalized After Street Fight: Jimmy Marr, a prominent white nationalist from Oregon, was sent to the hospital Dec. 17 after a fight with four men in Corvallis. Marr goes by the name "Genocide Jimmy" on Twitter and is known for driving a truck that he frequently paints with swastikas and white supremacist messages. The fight, first reported by the Corvallis Gazette-Times, shut down a city street. Police say Marr was taken to the hospital after "suffering from a medical event," but add they do not know if his medical condition was connected to the fight. Four other men were arrested on disorderly conduct charges and booked in the Benton County Jail.
Only Two Weeks of Give!Guide Left: Give!Guide is live and taking donations for 150 nonprofits at giveguide.org. This week, you could win a Trek FX1 commuter bike by giving $10 or more through G!G on Dec. 20. So far, the campaign has raised $1.6 million from 6,775 donors.