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Bogus statistics undercut city program to help Portland renters

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It started with make-believe numbers.

The Portland Housing Bureau wanted city money to clean up code violations at low-income apartments east of 82nd Avenue.

It sounded like a worthy idea, but bureau officials wildly inflated how many apartment buildings would be eligible. They claimed 400 properties in east Portland had been flagged for urgent repairs when the actual number at the time was 19…

What appeared to be a bargain – paying landlords for repairs if they agreed to keep rents low – got caught up in a case of sloppy budgeting…

City housing officials deny misleading anyone…but they could produce no documentation to prove their assertions…They requested $1.5 million in the upcoming 2017-18 budget to continue the program….

Meanwhile, almost all the 19 landlords facing citations when officials first pitched the program have since made repairs without a subsidy…

We Respond & Your Comments

Here’s a paradigm for how government bureaucracies work:

  • Start with a program that sounds good because it helps “The Little guy”;
  • Get a whole bunch of money;
  • Hold on to it even though the problem is solving itself;
  • Ask for more money next year.

Why does this work? Because it’s not their money they’re spending. And if they run out of it they’ll just force peasant taxpayers to cough up more.

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