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Multnomah Property Taxes Will Increase to Highest Rates in Two Decades
By: MICHAEL MANGAN
On Tuesday, Portland voters approved the $652.8 million bond measure to build thousands of affordable homes for low-income residents in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties (detailed here). Measure 26-199 was proposed by Metro, which says it will use the money to build between 2,400 and 4,000 units of affordable housing in these three counties.
Property owners will pay the bond back through higher property taxes over the next 30 years. You can expect taxes to rise 24 cents per $1,000 in assessed value. That’s $60 a year for a home with an assessed (taxable) value of $250,000. Though the region's average real market value is actually much higher than $250,000, assessed values are significantly lower than real market values due to Measure 50.
Measure 50 and Measure 5 were intended to permanently fix tax rates and limit the growth of assessed value to three percent per year. But, taxing districts like Metro and PPS have really learned to closely study the exceptions to those laws and propose ballot measures that push hot button issues for voters in the city of Portland (e.g. schools and affordable housing). As a result, these taxing districts have succeeded in pushing the overall property tax rate and assessed values higher and higher each year.
Portland is currently at the highest overall rate it’s been since Measure 50 passed in 1997. The tax rate will increase again next year when this affordable housing bond measure goes into effect. And, shortly thereafter, we can expect the Portland Public School to reach out for more money to complete its much needed, but very expensive facility renovation project. In other words, the end is not in sight for property tax increase proposals –even though rates are already at historic highs.