PORTLAND-The Airport Way Urban Renewal Area has reached its legal maximum indebtedness of $72.6 million, which means no new projects will be undertaken as part of the program. From here on out, the tax increment income from the urban renewal district can only be used to retire bonds, with the balance returned to the taxing jurisdictions.Although no additional debt can be issued, available fund balances and any other non-tax increment program income, such as income from property sales, can be used to fund current ongoing activities. The PDC fiscal year 2004-05 budget includes about $10 million for Airport Way activities using such funds.PDC executive director Don Mazziotti says that since the program’s inception in 1986, growth in assessed market value in the Airport Way Urban Renewal Area has occurred at more than three times the pace of the citywide assessed market valuation growth during the same time period. Since 1986, assessed value growth in the district has averaged 13.6% per year, which compares to an annual citywide growth rate during the same period of 4%.As a result, some $2.9 billion in assessed valuation in the Airport Way URA has been released back to the taxing jurisdictions over the past five years. Estimated five year increases for some of the local governments include approximately $13.2 million for the City of Portland; $12.5 million for Multnomah County and $2 million for Portland Pubic Schools. When the debt is paid off, estimated to be 2020, the full valuation will be returned to the taxing jurisdictions.The Airport MAX light rail line was the most visible project funded in part by tax increment income from the district. Other key projects completed include: the 4.3-mile, $25-million expansion of NE Airport Way from I-205 to NE 138th and its extension from NE 138th to NE 185th; the Columbia Slough Trail, Trailhead and boat dock, and; infrastructure for Cascade Station, a retail development by the airport that has yet to get off the ground. Non-tax-increment income from the program will continue to fund: finalization of development plans for Cascade Station; selling or redeveloping the Riverside Parkway Corporate Center (34 acres); and the acquisition of key industrial sites to complete land assembly for large parcel development and land for job-producing developments.

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