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Airport Way URA: Overview

Formed in 1986, the Airport Way URA is unique in its proximity to major transportation infrastructure and its absence of a substantial housing element. As such, the URA’s primary goal has been to facilitate development to create a major eastside employment center. Originally, at 2,780 acres, the Airport Way URA was the city’s second largest urban renewal district. The district’s boundary, from NE 82nd Avenue, adjacent to the Portland International Airport, to the Portland city limits at NE 185th and Marine Drive, remained unchanged from its inception until 2010 when the Portland City Council passed the Tenth Amendment to the Plan which removed 872 acres and reduced the URA’s size to 1,841 acres, so as to create additional capacity to expand an existing or create a new urban renewal area in the city.

Airport Way’s maximum indebtedness of $73 million has been reached and there is no capacity to issue additional debt even though the district does not expire until 2011 . Therefore, project activities now must all be funded with land sale proceeds: in other words, the money that PDC receives from the sale or lease of property that it had acquired over the years. Currently, PDC still has an estimated $16 million in real estate holdings (vacant land) that it is marketing for new development.

The Urban Renewal Plan and the Development Plan identified several objectives:

  • To facilitate development in the district that generates significant new employment opportunities for new and existing businesses 
  • To support development of public infrastructure, transit, and to protect the district’s natural resources 
  • To encourage employers to provide quality job opportunities to residents of economically disadvantaged communities 
  • To utilize the land near Portland International Airport for a major mixed-use development, consisting of retail, office and hotels, capitalizing on the MAX Light Rail line.
To accomplish these goals and objectives, PDC has provided financial incentives, direct infrastructure investment, development and economic development assistance.