After fundraising targets were moved to accommodate what districts could hit, The Portland Development Commission’s six Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative districts have all met their targets, PDC’s Dana DeKlyen told the Memo last month.
All six districts, including Mid-Multnomah County’s Parkrose, Rosewood, Division-Midway and Jade districts have raised at least $15,000, she said. This, plus a pledged dollar for dollar match by PDC, will allow them each to hire a manager for the next six months.
PDC’s original plan was to have each district raise $30,000 by June 15, and use this plus an additional $30,000 to hire a full-time manager for a year. The timeline was gradually extended as the six were unable to surmount the fundraising hurdle, individually or collectively.
A joint fundraising effort did secure a $50,000 grant from JPMorgan-Chase Bank, but it proved to be one of a kind.
The Parkrose district’s Stakeholders Committee had posted the job announcement as the Memo went to press. According to co-chair Joe Rossi, they hope to complete a hire at their February 12 meeting.
Among the other districts, the furthest ahead is the Rosewood District, which hired a manager in January. The laggard is the Jade District, where PDC is working with local volunteers to broaden the Stakeholder Committee.
Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative Districts are like mini urban renewal districts; they include commercial corridors plus about two blocks of territory on either side. The corridors are “under-performing” in terms of private investment, and they serve communities that are ethnically diverse and below average in household income.
As with other urban renewal districts, property taxes generated in the district, over and above the level already being collected when they formed, are placed in a special tax increment account for use in the district. This, plus other funds, will give each district $1.2 million to spend over the next eight to ten years. The funds can be used for business improvements, for projects and events to promote the area, and perhaps for one or two small physical public improvements.