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Auditor’s report notes PDC’s contribution to economic progress in urban renewal areas

December 13, 2012

Auditor's Report

On December 13, 2012, the Portland City Auditor’s office released a status report on the city’s urban renewal areas, with findings that speak strongly to the value of PDC’s quality-job creation and revitalization efforts.  The report, Portland Development Commission: Indicators in Urban Renewal Areas suggest economic progress, looked at jobs, wages and real estate values in selected urban renewal areas (URAs) managed by the Portland Development Commission.

Urban renewal is a key component of the City of Portland’s economic development strategy, and URAs represent a significant economic investment.

The study found that compared to other areas of the city and to the city as a whole, employment, average wages and real estate values in the URAs have grown during the study period (1996 through 2010). While citywide job losses reached 10 percent during the study period – which coincided with the deepest part of the national recession– the number of private sector jobs increased by 18 percent and wages increased 29 percent in the selected URAs.  Real estate values in the URAs also increased almost twice as much as in other parts of the city.

During the study period (1996-2009 for employment information, 1996-2010 for real estate data), PDC completed many highly visible projects. Among those were: infrastructure improvements to Airport Way, including Cascade Station and the airport light rail project; completion of the Eastbank Esplanade; the leveraging of large scale housing projects in the River District resulting in thousands of new housing units; contributions to the Portland Streetcar Loop; and improvements to Waterfront Park Saturday Market. In addition, hundreds of business and storefront loans encouraged new and existing businesses to expand in the areas, and many more businesses were provided assistance to help expand or relocate to the area.

Mayor Sam Adams and PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton said in a joint response to the audit, "The City and PDC are proud of the accomplishments in the report, which include many public/private partnerships and iconic developments. We look forward to continuing this important work."