Kotek Says She May Veto $2 Million Appropriation for Old Town Sneaker Incubator

The governor identified projects around the state with little or no discernible connection to increasing housing supply.

An August day in Portland's Chinatown. (Michael Raines)

Gov. Tina Kotek singled out a number of relatively modest appropriations today from this year’s legislative session for possible veto.

On the list: seven projects around the state included in Senate Bill 1530, a housing production measure. The seven projects on the chopping block would cost a total of $14 million.

“The legislative intent of this funding is to support shovel-ready projects that are essential for new housing production,” Kotek said. “After the legislative session, my office began a review of each of the projects to confirm project scope, cost, timeline, feasibility, and the nexus to housing production and affordability.”

Kotek also highlighted an unusual $2 million expenditure earmarked for Portland’s Old Town Community Association to help seed a proposed athletic shoe manufacturing incubator called Made in Old Town. That $2 million was included in House Bill 5701, the so-called Christmas tree bill that includes special expenditures at the end of every session.

It’s rare to see the Legislature fund Portland neighborhood association projects. And although Prosper Portland, the city’s economic development agency, has long promoted Old Town, an agency spokesman said it had not previously provided funding or support to the project.

Kotek wants to know more about it.

“I appreciate the intent of this project to help revitalize the Old Town neighborhood in downtown Portland,” the governor said. “My office is awaiting more information from the development group about the viability of financing for the entire project before I make my decision.”

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