Portland roundup: City takes first step in regulating Uber, Lyft

City Council lays out plans for pilot program to test new taxi rules.

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The city of Portland changed its taxi regulations Thursday to allow companies like Uber and Lyft to operate legally.

The City Council will hear preliminary testimony from citizens April 9, the Portland Tribune reports.

The amended ordinance requires those who operate or drive for Transportation Network Services to obtain a city permit before providing rides. The ordinance doesn’t specify which regulations such companies much meet.

Shortly after [April 9], the city expects to launch a pilot program for Transportation Network Services to operate legally in the city, said Bryan Hockaday, Novick’s policy adviser for taxi issues.

Uber could start offering rides again illegally as they have said they would after that date. Lyft has maintained that it won’t enter the Portland market until comprehensive regulations are established.

Also Thursday, the City Council advanced on what could be a “signature accomplishment” for Charlie Hales as mayor.

The city is moving toward an overhaul of the city’s urban renewal areas, the Portland Tribune reports. 

The package is designed to put more property back on the tax rolls and direct more property taxes to schools and local governments, while allowing more money to spend on newer redevelopment opportunities in the South Waterfront and inner eastside. Over the next few decades, the plan will shift an estimated $197 million in property taxes to schools and local governments, instead of spending it on urban renewal. However, much of that money won’t come for many years. Next year, only about $6 million will be redirected to local governments.

The deal will downsize two of Portland’s hugely successful urban renewal districts: Airport Way and the River District, which includes the Pearl District, putting large chunks of both back on the property tax rolls. Hales’ plan also shifts most urban renewal funds remaining in the River District to support Old Town/Chinatown projects rather than subsidize more Pearl District developments.


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