Street car property assessments

By early 2011, the new eastside line of the Portland Streetcar is expected to be up and running. The line will run from downtown across the Broadway Bridge, hugging the southern edge of Eliot before heading south to OMSI and then back again.

Quite a nice benefit for Eliot, which already is blessed with some of the best transit options in the city.
But for some property owners who live near the project, there will be a price tag.

Rick Gustafson, on behalf of the Portland Streetcar Inc., spoke to Eliot’s land-use committee on May 21. Gustafson detailed one of the street car’s funding sources called a Local Improvement District (LID). The LID, which needs approval by the Portland City Council, would impose a one-time assessment on owners of property within three blocks of the new line.

In Eliot, that will include property between Broadway and San Rafael Street (south side of the street only).

The good news is that the current proposal is to exempt land zoned for low density residential that is owner-occupied.

But the owners of property currently in residential use but zoned for much more intense development will have to pay. The value of those properties will benefit significantly from the streetcar, and officials are reluctant to cut them the same break.

The current proposal would create two zones of property. Within 250 feet of the line, owners will pay .60 cents per square foot. So, a 5,000 square foot lot would face a $3,000 assessment.
If the property is owner-occupied, there is a 50 percent discount, which reduces the total to $1,500.
In addition, it can be financed over 20 years.

The Zone B assessment would be half as much — an estimated $1,500 with a 50 percent discount for owner-occupied properites.

Remember, most of the houses in this area are zoned low-density residential (R2), and will face no assessment at all if they are occupied by the owner.

Those interested should not waste any time in getting involved.
A resolution is scheduled to go to the Portland City Council June 20th.
Final approval of the LID is scheduled for August 22nd.

Kay Dannen
Rick Gustafson