LOS ANGELES - A special committee tasked with overseeing the expenditure of Portland, Ore.'s first-ever affordable housing bond will have its first meeting July 6.

Mixed retail and residential buildings in Northwest Portland, Ore., are seen here.
Portland, Ore., faced with what many advocates there describe as a housing crisis, recently sold affordable housing bonds. Bloomberg

The five-member Housing Bond Oversight Committee appointed by Mayor Ted Wheeler and the City Council will meet to begin their work guiding use of the $258.4 million of general obligation bonding authority approved by voters last November. The committee is in charge of reviewing bond expenditures and providing annual reports and holds primarily financial, fiduciary and compliance review authority related to the administration and expenditures of bond funds.

The committee consists of former Housing and Community Development Commission chair Susan Emmons, banker and economist Stephen Green, homelessness policy expert Jes Larson, civil rights advocate Allan Lazo, and attorney Todd Struble.

The city already sold $35 million of triple-A rated affordable housing bonds last month to finance its earlier purchase of an apartment complex that could offer low-income housing space. It had previously been marketed to higher-income residents. Community advocates in the city have described Portland as having a housing “crisis,” and Multnomah County has seen its homeless population rise steadily in recent years. The full affordable housing bond is expected to allow Portland to build or maintain some 1,300 units of affordable housing.

The oversight committee is separate from the Affordable Housing Bond Stakeholder Advisory Group, which is larger and exists to provide advice to the Housing Bureau. That group has 20 members and began meetings in April. It does include a liaison from the oversight committee.

The members of the Bond Oversight Committee will serve five-year, renewable terms, and meetings are open to the public.

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