Gresham In The News

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  • How do your property taxes compare to your neighbors'? Multnomah County auditor's map lets you compare

    Residents of the Boise neighborhood are getting the best deal. The average owner of a home valued between $250,000 and $300,000 there pays $1,459 per year. In Lents, the average similarly-priced home's taxes are $4,463 a year.

    Have you ever wondered how your property tax bill compares to your fellow Multnomah County homeowners?

    A new tool from the Multnomah County Auditor’s Office lets you find out. But if you happen to live in Lents, Gresham, or on the West side, the answer might upset you.

    That’s because, in all likelihood, you’re paying significantly more than your neighbors in North, Northeast and inner Southeast Portland.

    “In some parts of the city, people who own houses with the same value are paying wildly different tax amounts,” County Auditor Steve March said Tuesday.

    March and his staff have spent the past several months creating the tool as part of their “equity series” of audits, meant to expose unfairness in the county.

    It’s well known that residents of some areas fare better than others under Multnomah County’s property tax system.

    When Measure 50 passed in 1997, taxable property values throughout the county were locked in at 90 percent of the property’s 1995-96 market worth. Unless the home’s market worth dipped below the 1995 value, each homeowner’s taxable value would rise no more than 3 percent per year, regardless of how high their home’s market value rose.

    So in neighborhoods like Boise, Elliott, King and Humboldt, where streets formerly dotted with foreclosed homes have been revitalized, homeowners are getting a bargain. Although market property values have risen sharply in since 1995, taxable values remain low.

    On the other hand, March says, residents in places that have been slower to gentrify, such as Lents, are paying more than their fair share.

    Residents of the Boise neighborhood are getting the best deal. The average owner of a home valued between $250,000 and $300,000 there pays $1,459 per year.

    In Lents, where property tax burdens are the highest, owners of homes valued between $250,000 and $300,000 can expect to pay a tax bill of about $4,463 per year.

    “You can see how unfair the system is to a majority of residential property owners,” March said.

    March and his staff will present their interactive tool to the county board of commissioners on Thursday, but it went live on the county’s website today.

    You can use the map to see how your neighborhood stacks up against the rest of the county. You can also plug your street into the search bar to find out how your tax bill would change if Oregon stopped using Measure 50’s formula.

    The Oregonian will be at Thursday’s meeting, listening to March’s presentation. Check Oregonlive again on Thursday afternoon for more on the audit team’s findings.

    --Kelly House

  • Multnomah County auditor says Oregon's property tax system unfair. Is it? (Reader poll)

    Are your property taxes particularly high due to the current system? Or, are you one of the other one-third of residents who benefit from the system? Comment and take our poll to weigh in.

    The first tab in the Multnomah County Auditor’s property tax comparison tool exposes the inequities of Oregon’s property tax system.

    The map shows two homes, in the same Northeast Portland neighborhood, only blocks apart. Each home is valued at $374,000. But while one has paid just $11,957 in property taxes over the past six years, their neighbor has shelled out a whopping $31,267.

    County Auditor Steve March and his team made the interactive tool to give voters a sense of just how unfair the property tax system created by Measure 50 is to most Multnomah County residents.

    When Measure 50 passed in 1997, taxable property values throughout the state were locked in at 90 percent of the property's 1995-96 market worth. Unless the home's market worth dipped below the 1995 value, each homeowner's taxable value would rise no more than 3 percent per year, regardless of how high their home's market value rose.

    In areas that have gentrified since then, many homeowners pay significantly less than owners of similarly-priced homes in ungentrified areas such as Lents.

    If the measure was repealed, March and his team found, more than two-thirds of county residents would see their tax bills decrease.

    March will deliver a full report on the map during a Multnomah County Board of Commissioners hearing on Thursday. In the meantime, we want to hear your stories.

    Are your property taxes particularly high due to the current system? Or, are you one of the other one-third of residents who benefit from the system? Comment below with your experience, and take our poll to weigh in.

    --Kelly House

  • Gresham turns QB job over to Jaelen Bradley after starter Ben Chittock breaks leg

    The Gophers have lost their last two games after starting 2-0

    Junior Jaelen Bradley has taken over as Gresham’s starting quarterback after junior Ben Chittock suffered a broken right fibula in Friday’s 29-23 loss to Reynolds.
    Chittock started the first four games for the Gophers (2-2, 0-2 Mt. Hood Conference), but Bradley has played an occasional series. Bradley played in about half the game Friday before Chittock was injured late in the fourth quarter.
    Both quarterbacks have struggled with consistency for an offense that has committed 20 turnovers. More than anything, the Gophers need Bradley to protect the ball when they play host to Oregon City (1-3, 1-1) on Friday, according to coach Todd Nagel.
    “We’re going to see if we can clean that whole thing up,” Nagel said. “I bet we’re minus-10 in turnovers through four games. It’s killing us. Some of the turnovers we’ve had, we just can’t do it.”
    Gresham let a 16-0 lead slip away in the loss to Reynolds. The game was tied 23-23 with 3:40 left when Reynolds’ Jonas Ford returned a Chittock fumble 58 yards for the winning touchdown.
    “We ran a veer play, and Ben kept the ball like he should have, and kind of got rag-dolled down,” Nagel said of the play. “He twisted his leg.”
    Nagel said Chittock won’t have to undergo surgery but probably is lost for the season. Behind Bradley at quarterback is senior Anthony Johnson, a tight end who threw a 63-yard touchdown pass on a trick play against Barlow.

    -- Jerry Ulmer | @jerryulmer

  • Education and workforce development the focus of Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce's Oct. 2 Economic Summit

    The Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center will hold its 2014 Economic Summit from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 2 at Persimmon Country Club in Gresham.

    The Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center will hold its 2014 Economic Summit from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 2 at Persimmon Country Club in Gresham.

    The "Thriving Workforce, Thriving Economy, Thriving Communities" summit will focus on education and workforce development as the most critical components of East Multnomah County's economic vitality.

    At the event, economic development experts will describe what is needed to recruit and retain major employers to the region and the essential partnerships with business, education and government needed to create a workforce that leads to a thriving economy.

    The summit also will feature a panel of education leaders who will discuss what they are doing in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to prepare students for the job market.

    "Every large company tells me they have job openings. What they don't have is the people with the right skills to fill those positions," Gresham Chamber Chief Executive Officer Alison Hart said in a news release announcing the summit.

    Hart said east county has the most industrial shovel-ready land in the region but one of the lowest percentages of adults who've obtained a post-secondary education. The summit will explore the need for business, education and community leaders to address this challenge together.

    The summit is open to non-chamber members. Registration is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday. The cost $95, which includes breakfast. The agenda, list of speakers and registration information are available at the chamber's website.

    -- Susan Green

  • Gresham will put 2 more cops in schools fighting gangs and truancy, under new $250,000 grant

    The U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services grant will pay half the cost of hiring the two officers, who will rove among campuses in school districts that serve Gresham.

    Gresham will hire two police officers to tackle gang and truancy issues in area schools, thanks to a new $250,000 federal grant announced this week.

    The U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services grant will pay half the cost of hiring the two officers, who will rove among campuses in school districts that serve Gresham. The city will match the federal money to pay for the two officers for four years, according to Chief Craig Junginger.

    One of the officers will specialize in addressing gang problems among school-aged kids, while the other will focus on pulling frequent truants back into the classroom, city officials said.

    This week's funding announcement continues a partnership between the city and the federal agency, which also awarded COPS grants to Gresham in 2009 and 2011. Gresham has one of Oregon's lowest permanent tax rates, which makes funding specialized police services challenging, city officials said.

    Mayor Shane Bemis, in a written statement, said the city has worked hard building relationships with the Justice Department "to share with them Gresham's unique challenges with law enforcement, and opportunities to work together."

    Eric Apalategui

  • Wood Village boil water alert lifted, tests showed no contamination

    Wood Village has lifted a boil water notice issued Monday for the area of the city north of Northeast Glisan Street as of 11 a.m. today. Results of tests of water samples taken yesterday showed no contamination, according to a news release from the city.

    Wood Village has lifted a boil water notice issued Monday for the area of the city north of Northeast Glisan Street as of 11 a.m. today. Results of tests of water samples taken yesterday showed no contamination, according to a news release from the city.

    Residents are advised to flush water taps for two minutes before using.

    The boil water alert was issued after a well that supplies the city's upper distribution area unexpectedly shut down for a period of about 90 minutes while the city was performing maintenance on the city's reservoirs. This caused water pressure in that part of the system to drop below state prescribed levels. Oregon rules require a boil-water alert when water pressure drops below those levels.

    The city encourages anyone with concerns to call the Wood Village customer service line at 503-667-6211.

    - Susan Green

  • Wood Village boil water alert doesn't affect Troutdale, city says, despite health department phone calls

    Wood Village issued a boil water notice Monday for city residents in neighborhoods north of Northeast Glisan Street due to a drop in pressure in the city water system below state prescribed levels.

    Wood Village issued a boil water notice Monday for city residents in neighborhoods north of Northeast Glisan Street due to a drop in pressure in the city water system below state prescribed levels.

    The Multnomah County Health Department notified residents of the Wood Village boil water alert based on that city's zip code. Because Wood Village shares a zip code with Troutdale, some Troutdale residents may have erroneously received the boil water notice telephone alerts. 

    But Troutdale sent out a news release Monday afternoon reassuring residents that Troutdale water customers are not affected by the Wood Village boil water alert. The release confirmed that Troutdale supplies all of its own water from its own wells through a self-contained distribution system and the city's water is safe to drink and to use normally.

    City officials said that residents can confirm who their water provider is by looking at their utility bill. If a household pays its water bill to the city of Troutdale, it is a Troutdale water customer and not subject to Wood Village's boil water notice.

    Troutdale says residents seeking additional information about the water situation can contact the Troutdale Public Works Department at 503-674-3300.

    -- Susan Green

  • Boil order in effect for all tap water in Wood Village's southern neighborhoods

    City leaders say a well shut down requiring a boil-water notice until tests show water is safe.

    Wood Village residents of neighborhoods north of Northeast Glisan Street (see map below) should not drink any tap water until it has been boiled, a city news release said Monday. 

    Boil orders could remain in effect until at least Tuesday, when test results are expected.  

    During maintenance on city reservoirs, one of the wells shut down and the pressure provided to the city's water system dropped below prescribed levels. Oregon rules require a boil-water alert when water pressure drops.

    The well is running correctly again and the water pressure has returned, the city said.

    Until further notice, the city recommends heating all tap water to a rolling boil for one minute before allowing it to cool for use. Boiled water should be used for drinking, ice-making, teeth-brushing, dish-washing and all food preparation.

    Except as noted, the following activities do not require the boiling of water: showering and bathing (though people should avoid getting water in their mouths), dish-washing with soapy tap water and rinsing with boiled water, laundering clothes, general cleaning and mopping, hand-washing, pet-bathing and plant-watering.

    For information, call the city at 503-667-6211 or visit Wood Village's website.

    -- The Oregonian


  • Hikers' cars broken into, then authorities find meth and a stolen gun, officials say

    Reports of vehicle break-ins in the Columbia River Gorge led investigators to a hotel room, where they found a stolen firearm and suspected methamphetamine, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.

    Reports of vehicle break-ins in the Columbia River Gorge led investigators to a hotel room, where they found a stolen firearm and suspected methamphetamine, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.

    Hikers near Angel's Rest on Tuesday returned to their vehicles and reported that they had been broken into, authorities said. Sheriff's deputies then arrested Brian Peoples, 37, and Kristina Yurick, 42, who were both booked into the Multnomah County Jail on multiple charges and outstanding arrest warrants, officials said. A third person was arrested but later released without being charged.

    The initial investigation led the sheriff's office to then execute a search warrant at the Motel 6 in Troutdale, authorities said. Deputies, working with Gresham and Troutdale Police, found multiple stolen items, including a firearm, and suspected meth, officials said.

    Prior to the execution of the warrant, Michael Llanos was seen running from the hotel room and was taken into custody on outstanding arrest warrants and additional charges, the sheriff's office said.

    Deputies expect to make more arrests. The sheriff's office advised hikers to lock up valuables when visiting the Columbia River Gorge.

    -- Luke Hammill

  • Photos: The 32nd annual Teddy Bear Parade in Gresham

    Representing schools, scout troops and clubs, kids ruled the streets of Gresham during the 32nd annual Soroptimist Teddy Bear Parade on Saturday.

    The temperature was relatively cool and skies were a bit cloudy on Saturday. Fortunately, that's ideal weather to nuzzle up to a fuzzy companion.

    Representing schools, scout troops and clubs, kids ruled the streets of Gresham during the 32nd annual Soroptimist Teddy Bear Parade. Thousands of Teddy bears and other plush toys came along for the ride on the parade route, rivaling the humans in numbers.

    Local businesses also joined in on the fun, driving rigs with teddy bears strapped to the roof or front grill.

    The Soroptimist International of Gresham began the parade in 1982 to help the lives of women and girls through financial aid and grants.

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