Portland Asking Local Businesses to Chip in for Community Improvements


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Portland, Oregon, is trying to improve the Cathedral Park neighborhood in north Portland. But they’re asking local businesses to chip in for infrastructure improvements.

The neighborhood, which currently features many potholes, broken sidewalks, and other aesthetic issues, is being designated as a Local Improvement District. This means the city is working with developers to bring in new retail and housing options. In fact, an out-of-state developer is planning a new project in the area – but the city needs to move a sewer line and clean up the roads and sidewalks first.

This is what the city is asking local businesses to chip in for. Unfortunately, many businesses have already abandoned the area. Two that remain are St. John’s Truck & Equipment and St. John’s Marine. According to an investigation from KATU, St. John’s Truck & Equipment was originally asked to pay $7,000 a month for 20 years for the improvements. And St. John’s Marine was told their monthly bill would be $12,600 for 20 years.

When KATU reached out to the Portland Bureau of Transportation for comment, they said those numbers have since been significantly reduced. The business owners have also retained legal counsel to negotiate with the city since they said those amounts are unaffordable, and they’re worried the city is trying to drive them out of the area.

Kevin Meader, Owner of St. John’s Truck & Equipment told KATU, “I’m not against cleaning this area up… I just think the cost of it should be borne by the people who will profit from it.”

It’s certainly true that businesses can benefit from improvements to roads and sidewalks and increased activity in their neighborhoods. But local businesses also provide tons of value to their local communities, in addition to paying taxes. And according to Portland’s website, homeowners and residents in Local Improvement Districts are not expected to chip in for improvements, even if they benefit from them.

The situation in Portland is still developing. And the outcome could ultimately determine how other cities handle similar situations when planning improvements in their own neighborhoods.

Image: Envato


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