Portland's Empty Urban Renewal Area

Tax breaks and incentives helped spur a rash of development in Portland's South Waterfront district. But the development has struggled to lure residents.

"In 1999, Portland Development Commission (PDC), city hall, and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) laid plans for South Waterfront, imagining it as a jobs district. Establishment of an urban renewal area, coupling public investment with tax breaks for developers, would create up to 10,000 jobs in Portland's newest, greenest neighborhood-or so promised the plan.

But 10 years in, it has created only 2,300 jobs and South Waterfront's dense condo buildings are ringed with retail space for lease. Empty storefronts are gaping abscesses at the feet of the glass and steel towers."

The city has spent $93 million on the urban renewal area, and some say the investment isn't paying off.

Full Story: We Built This City


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