29 affordable rentals ‘better than nothing’

New apartments planned for the intersection of North Shaver and Vancouver in Portland

A neighborhood in North Portland, Feb. 3, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
A neighborhood in North Portland, Feb. 3, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — New apartment complexes are planned for lots at the intersection of North Shaver and Vancouver in Portland and the developer has requested a tax break for adding 29 affordable rental units.

The Boise Neighborhood Association wrote a letter supporting that developer’s plan even though it’s only a 10-year tax credit.

“It’s better than nothing,” said the association’s Stephen Gomez. “It’s much better than nothing.”

Some wonder what happens after those 10 years, if the rent would increase out of the affordable housing range. Questions also linger about what the city does once they grant a tax break like this.

Martha Calhoon with the Portland Housing Bureau said all developers that get the grant must report the rents they charge and income levels of people in low income units every year.

After the tax credit expires, the developers have the option to renew, bu the tax break does not guarantee affordable housing beyond that decade.

Gomez said the “city absolutely has to follow through.”

“We’re trying to do what we can do to support people, either staying here or coming to the neighborhood, who are not as affluent as we’d like to see people be,” he said.

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