A: Each state sets up its own unique set of statutes for urban renewal (or redevelopment) but not all states have urban renewal. In general, Oregon allows urban renewal to act in a fairly broad capacity but with considerable checks and balances. Washington allows urban renewal to act in a more narrow capacity. California was allowed to act in a fairly wide capacity, until it was terminated in early 2012. Similarly, urban renewal (or redevelopment agencies) in different regions of the U.S. can vary.
A: The Talent Urban Renewal Agency is a separate legal and financial entity established in 1991 by the City of Talent under the authority of ORS 457. It consist of a 7-member board of directors appointed by the City Council, including four citizens an three city councilors, and maintains a separate budget and separate capital improvement program. The Agency was originally planned to sunset in 2019, but is now targeting an earlier date of December 2016.
A: The Agency’s mission, like other agencies in Oregon, is to eliminate blight in the Urban Renewal Area. The Area encompasses 122 acres roughly bordered by Front Street, Colver Road, Highway 99, and Rapp Road. This Area principally focuses on the downtown area, but also extends across Highway 99 to include commercial land between Valley View and Suncrest Road, of which Anjou Apartments and the partially constructed Clearview development are a part.
A: Projects within the Agency’s authority are road and infrastructure improvements, park improvements, land acquisition, building rehabilitation, alleys and public pathways, public facilities, and amenities such as lighting, landscaping, telephone booths, benches, and drinking fountains, among others. The Agency is also able to work with private property owners on projects that meet the goals of the Agency and are authorized under the Plan. Participating in affordable housing is also allowed, as well as rail transportation.
A: The Agency’s Urban Renewal Plan, first written in 1991 and substantially amended in 1998 and again in July 2005, serves as the guideline for urban renewal projects. The 2005 amendment provided further clarification to the Agency’s goals and objectives, particularly along the lines of providing economic development assistance, and expanded the district by the allowable 1% in order to include a tax lot owned by the Talent Irrigation District on West Valley View Road, a key site fronting a major downtown thoroughfare.
A: Typically, the Agency has issued long term bonds to finance its capital projects. However, in 2008 a decision was made to sunset early in 2016, and the Agency now intends to finance its remaining projects through short term borrowing, either duJour borrowing or a revolving line of credit.
A: Urban renewal tax is not a new tax nor is there a tax rate, even though the property tax bill appears this way. Based on an annual calculation produced by the County Assessor, the overlapping tax districts give up a minor portion of their own tax rate to urban renewal. When the agency terminates, the taxing districts go back to receiving their full tax rate. For more information on how Talent Urban Renewal Agency’s revenue is calculated by the County Assessor, see the Annual Financial Report on file at the City of Talent or the Talent Urban Renewal Agency.
A: While maintaining an independent status, the Agency has established effective lines of communication with the City over the years to help coordinate Agency projects with the City’s stated goals and needs, since most capital projects completed by the Agency are eventually turned over as assets to the City. The Agency employs an Executive Director to handle administration, finances and project management. The Agency hires outside consulting specialists, particularly in the areas of urban renewal law and financial analysis, but hires the same auditor used by the City. On capital improvement projects, the Agency contracts separately with the City Engineer for advisory services.
A: Eliminating blight – caused by deterioration, faulty planning, inadequate or improper facilities, harmful land use or the existence of unsafe structures – is part of the Agency’s mission to improve safety, quality of life, and public infrastructure in the downtown core area.
A: Urban renewal agencies are created as a long term investment strategy by a city (or county) in order to achieve public improvement projects a city may otherwise not be able to afford on its own. It is a long term investment strategy because all overlapping taxing districts, including the city, fire districts, vector control, etc. give up a minor portion of the local property taxes they normally receive so that urban renewal can utilize those funds.
Why is this important to know?
Because Oregon urban renewal agencies are required to eliminate blight (via public improvements) and be in debt, which is then paid off over the life of the agency. (Cities usually borrow and repay for shorter periods of time.) Also, urban renewal agencies are able to sell property for less than what it was purchased for, which aids in establishing effective public-private partnerships and encourage private investment in the community. These are important distinctions.