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About Willamette week. (Portland, Or.) 1974-current | View This Issue
NEED TO KNOW
HOW IT’S DONE
to Flip a
BY THE NUMBERS
Police Overtime at
Protests Piles Up
BY KATI E S HE PHE R D
ksh e p h e rd @ wwe e k.com
The latest standoﬀ between so-called “alt-right” pro-
testers and their antifascist adversaries on Oct. 8 was
a sleepy aﬀ air, attended by less than 150 people.
But cops are racking up overtime hours policing
these fringe protesters.
The Portland Police Bureau spent $1.9 million on
overtime policing protests between July 2016 and
June 2017. That breaks down to about 31,300 hours
of personnel time—the equivalent of a 15-year career.
And that doesn’t include any of the material costs
BY N IG E L JAQU ISS
associated with protests that can include food and
water for oﬃ cers and pepper spray, rubber bullets
and other material resources used to control crowds.
Assistant Chief Chris Davis says overtime pay
accounts for most of the costs associated with pro-
tests for the bureau.
“We have to try to find out as much as we can
to ﬁ nd out what the [protesters’] plan is and try to
assess the risks,” Davis says. “That’s at least as much
art as it is science.”
It is an expensive art. Here are the most costly
protests in recent months.
A “patriot rally” along Southeast 82nd Avenue
following a canceled community parade
Organized labor May Day marches
n j a q u i ss @ wwe e k .co m
Some lucky Portland buyers have snapped up
houses sold with a tantalizing come-on: years of
nearly property-tax-free living.
The Multnomah County Assessor ’s Office
is nearly finished calculating the property tax
bills it will mail out next month. For most county
residents, the news is predictable: a 3 percent tax
increase, the maximum allowed by state law.
But not everybody expects to pay.
Under the city of Portland’s Homebuyer Oppor-
tunity Limited Tax Exemption Program, 100 home-
buyers each year qualify for a 10-year tax holiday
on the value of the home’s structure (not the
land). To qualify, they need to earn no more than
Portland’s median income for a family of four.
But the deal continues for the full 10 years,
even if the home’s owner changes. With the rapid
appreciation in Portland property values, some
owners are ﬂ ipping their subsidized homes quickly
for big profits. The sweetener for buyers: They
don’t have to meet any income requirements and
they still get the tax break.
That’s what happened, for example, with a
home on North Hunt Street in the Kenton neigh-
borhood. The original buyer under the program
purchased it in September 2013 and sold it in 2016
for $166,000 proﬁ t. The new buyer beneﬁ ts from
the remaining seven years of a tax break.
“That’s ridiculous,” says Chuck Sheketoff,
executive director of the Oregon Center for Public
Policy. “It makes no sense to pass along the tax
break without the income limitation.”
Javier Mena, assistant director of the Portland
Housing Bureau, disagrees. Mena explains that
the bureau used to require subsequent buyers to
also earn below median income, but enforcement
proved expensive and ineffective. He says the
goals of the program have also shifted over time.
“Initially, we were trying to improve neighbor-
hoods with the program,” Mena says. “Now, it’s
about creating home-ownership opportunities. We
think it’s working.”
An alt-right “free speech” rally in the wake
of a double slaying on a MAX train
A “Patriot Prayer” rally near the Waterfront Blues
Festival that turned into a brawl
TOTAL PORTLAND POLICE OVERTIME FOR PROTESTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2017:
Willamette Week OCTOBER 11, 2017 wweek.com