A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

This week, Portland’s City Council will get the first annual report on how the city is spending its affordable housing bond money. The four-page report—yes, it’s really only four pages—is colorful and has lots of pictures but nothing about actual results. So, I did some research.

Turns out, by the end of 2018, the city spent almost $38 million and built exactly zero new units of affordable housing. Sure, Portland bought two buildings. But, the buildings were already built or almost completely built, which means the money did nothing to actually add any new units.
Once the city spends millions more on the four other buildings in their pipeline, Portland might have only 250 additional units of affordable housing.

Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to reform the country’s social welfare programs. He said, “We put a crazy amount of dough into our social benefits and poor people are still poor.”

The same can be said for Portland: We’re spending a crazy amount of money on affordable housing, but we’re not actually building much new affordable housing.

Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

One Response to Portland’s Affordable Housing Bond: Nothing for Money

  • Did you hear about the ‘Mary Ann’, in Beaverton, the first Metro ‘Affordable’ housing Bond project? O’Toole writes it will cost more than $500 per square foot of living space – more than twice the going market rate for dinky sized apartment units (about 700 square feet per unit).

    I think those who voted for ‘affordable” housing bonds would probably be better off voting NO and sending their share to a low cost charitable home builder who in some cases if the Government would unlock some land and remove the permit paper morass, can build for only $100 per unit.

    Mark Twain quote: It’s easier to fool people…..than to persuade them they’ve been fooled.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Sponsors