By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Board conditions Newberg Urban Renewal Plan approval on city vote

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David S. Wall

I know I will be vilified and possibly tied to a whippin' post for saying this but...the two sisters, Starrett and Berschauer have done everyone in Newberg and the County a favor by voting against the Urban Renewal District project and putting the issue to a public vote.

Whenever you hear politicians and or their city managers and or their economic development gurus say, "We've had extensive public outreach...We've even spent millions of your taxpayer dollars in doing so and the community says it is alright to go forward with the project..." hold fast to your wallets unless you're into the municipal snake oil being foisted upon you.

Urban Renewal Agencies are 'mega-debt and tax-increase' machines. Once they are in place, the governing body over the URA is the local Mayor and City Council. This can be a nightmarish descent into unending debt and increased taxes. Remember, the Bonds and or other creative financing instruments usually tie into the General Fund as a last resort to stave off bankruptcy.

This does not mean good works can flow from Urban Renewal Agencies. Hospitals and other needed County Building projects can be of great utility to everyone...but, when the project benefits only a few under the illusory guise everyone will benefit this is a different matter.

Go to Post #2

David S. Wall

David S. Wall

Post #2

Let's mention a scant few who will benefit from the URA project.
From the article,

"The urban renewal district would divert a percentage of future tax dollars from taxing districts, including the county, to help pay for a list of projects to improve Newberg’s downtown and riverfront, with a focus on economic development. City officials stressed that it will not reduce money that is currently coming in."

Note the added underlined words.

The foreseeable riverfront property owners will benefit greatly from this public / private partnership. The Newberg Downtown property owners do have local names (an heiress to the ADEC fortune for example) and their property values as well as future but, assured income revenue, is all but guaranteed.

Meanwhile, the folks in the Taxing Districts will be squeezed and squeezed in perpetuity to pay for the privilege of watching other people get richer off of their money.

Economic Development will occur without the need of an Economic Development Director. Businesses will locate in Newberg because it is in their business interests to do so.

System Development Charges are a sure way to artificially inflate the cost of a program. And who really pays them? The costs are factored into the cost of the project.

One of the tools of the Economic Development trade is 'community meetings' so the community can be involved. Whoopee.

At some point in time, the 'community meetings' will cease. The Mayor will make a pronouncement the 'community' has given the project their blessings so let us move forward.

May I remind the Mayor and the assorted political skanks in his entourage, the 'community members' who show up at these meetings only represent themselves and certainly not the voters.

Go to Post #3

David S. Wall

David S. Wall

Post #3
Whenever a prominent and successful local attorney becomes involved with a lucrative public / private development opportunity, I say to myself, "Self, haven't you've seen this movie before?"

From the article,

" John Bridges, president of the advisory committee, told commissioners that TVF&R helped develop the plan, guiding requirements to add access points to the various sites for firetrucks. Bridges said the district is urgently needed.

TVF&R's blessings are just window dressing. The "pretty-bird in the window" for those not accustomed to political shenanigans. "No" development project of this magnitude could go forward without the necessary fire suppression to appease the insurance companies.

From the article,

"It was focused on our number one priority to make sure Newberg has living wage jobs,” Bridges told the commissioners."

The aforementioned is shear illusory gobbledygook. Is there a guarantee of living wage jobs" built into the agreements or even a definition of the money a "Living Wage" represents? And then there is the legal sticking point on how many living wage jobs will be created who is to receive the living wage jobs?

From the article,

“We really don’t have industrial sites that are shovel ready. What this project will do is focus on getting those sites shovel ready. ...That’s really what this project is about. It will have some pretty things in it, but that’s really its focus.
Bridges said it has some urgency because, “In the last 20 years, virtually no development has occurred down by the river; we’ve only lost jobs.”

A Public / Private Industrial site developments, arguably high system development charges all flowing from the local taxpayers property tax increases? Yeah, right.

Go to Post #4

David S. Wall

David S. Wall

Post #4

From the article,

"Mayor Rick Rogers told commissioners that the city will be competing with other jurisdictions to attract crucially needed “trade sector jobs.”

Nice try Rogers. No, I retract the accolade.

Only a first class moron would believe the tripe you spew on a routine basis.

From the article,

"Starrett and Berschauer said they are concerned about the loss of future revenue. City officials said they believe that in the long run, it will be offset by increased tax assessments on downtown Newberg property."

Note the added underlined sentence. Once again, sophistry of illusory riches enters into the discussion. What are the identities of the "City Officials" who tendered this testimony?

Who chooses whom and what makes a candidate successful in being chosen to be on the "advisory committee?" We know from the article the President of the "advisory committee" identity, you know, the " prominent and successful local attorney."

From the article,

"Rux said the city has put years of effort into public outreach, and spent some $2 million on the effort, which included updating all of the city’s master plans for its downtown and riverfront."

So, the Newberg City Council authorized the expenditure of $2 Million taxpayer dollars pursuing the Finnegan's rainbow without legal authorization for the project to go forward.

Hmmm...sounds like the a more expensive variation of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail where Kulla, Olson and Primozich ran up a bill without getting legal clearance first to proceed.

Podunk jurisdictions always run-up the bill as a tool to justify projects they can ill afford. If successful, they start jacking-up property taxes.

Newberg's government wants to annex Yamhill County land.

County Taxpayers should get to vote on this one.

I'll be voting "No."

David S. Wall


Wall's comments are longer the the NR article!

Jeb Bladine

I'm not sure Mr. Wall fully understands the Oregon property tax system, and how it works with Urban Renewal. Since McMinnville has an ongoing UR project, it's important for local people to Know.

Once an UR district is established with an approved "maximum indebtedness," the naturally increasing property taxes on commercial/industrial properties in the distrct are directed to UR projects. That is the "increment" of UR tax increment financing. Those increases come from the normal 3% annual increases and other standard provisions of Oregon property tax law.

That "increment" of financing is taken away from local government taxing districts, and does not increase taxes on other properties. Under Oregon's system, the state pays whatever increment taxes would have gone to local school districts.

In decades past, UR districts required all properties in the jurisdiction to pay more taxes; today, UR reduces the funds that otherwise would go to local government.

New construction in an UR district sees 100% of its property taxes go to the district (excluding bonded debt taxation) until such time as the districts completes collecting its maximum debt amount, or "times out" as per a set UR lifespan.

In return, local government expects to receive a significant increase in property taxes once the UR project ends.

We an debate the pros and cons of UR development and tax increment financing, but the impact on property taxes is a well regulated aspect of the state's UR laws. Of course, it takes responsible leadership of an UR district to guarantee appropriate planning for and spending on the approved development projects.

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