Major Projects Could Make Big Changes In Portland

<p>Two major projects -- the extension of a streetcar line and the construction of a hotel -- are under consideration in Portland, Oregon, but some local officials are hesitant to support what could dramatically change the character of the city.</p>
August 18, 2007, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The Portland City Council and the Metro Council will decide whether to invest around $300 million in two large projects that could forever change the character of Portland's inner east side. If both projects go through, planners predict a wave of mixed-use developments, including more than 3,400 new homes."

"Both projects are dogged by controversy, however, including questions over their ultimate costs."

"The city project would extend the Portland streetcar line from Northwest across the Broadway Bridge to OMSI. The council is scheduled to vote Sept. 6 on whether to commit $27 million in urban renewal funds to the project, currently estimated at $147 million, including $75 million from the Federal Transit Administration and $20 million from the Oregon Lottery."

"City Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams briefed the council on the streetcar project Tuesday morning. He said the council needs to commit $27 million in urban renewal funds by early next month to secure $75 million in Federal Transit Administration money for the extension."

"According to the budget presented to the council, the rest of the project would be funded with $20 million in Oregon Lottery bonds, $15 million from property owners along the line, $6 million from system development charges assessed against new projects in the area and $3.7 million in federal funds administered by Metro."

"During the briefing, Mayor Tom Potter and Commissioner Randy Leonard repeatedly pressed Adams on the reliability of the budget figures."

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Published on Friday, August 17, 2007 in The Portland Tribune
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