Morning roundup: Oregon loves pot; Affordable housing to be funded by developers

Oregon likes pot even more than we thought; Portland may fund affordable housing with development taxes.

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Pot tax. It’s only been three months since Oregon began taxing marijuana sales, but revenues show Oregon likes its weed. To date, $10.5 million in taxes have been collected, blowing the annual $2 million revenue estimate out of the water. At this sales rate, Oregon could collect about $43 million in revenue. The Oregonian has more on where this revenue will be spent.

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Water sale. Earning a potential $16.2 million, Salem has agreed to sell partial water rights to the city of Hillsboro. Hillsboro would use water from the Willamette River — the second deal the growing city has sought, after water rights from Adair Village fell through. The Statesman Journal reports Salem would use the revenue to improve its infrastructure. 

Above and beyond. Rather than dedicate 50% of a construction excise tax on new development to affordable housing programs, Commissioner Dan Saltzman proposed yesterday that 100% of the 1% tax fund affordable housing. If approved, the increased tax could generate $5.4 million per year from the residential portion, and $2.6 million from the commercial portion. The Portland Business Journal has more.


Expensive ride. TriMet, in its continued attempts to improve service, is seeking two additional railcars, imported rom Dallas. The agency could pay $1.5 million for the two cars, as well as an additional $500,000 to refit the cars before they can begin operating on the Westside Express Service from Wilsonville to Beaverton. If purchased, the trains would be used to allow for repairs in 2017 to current trains. Read more from The Oregonian.


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Fruit of the loom. One year after Google announced it would partner with Levi’s for smart clothing, the company announced the first product through Levi’s will be a trucker jacket. Despite the name, the jacket is designed specifically for commuting bikers. The sleeves will feature a patch of conductive fivers, similar to the touchscreen of a phone, providing basic commands such as silencing calls or asking for directions. The jacket won’t be available until Spring 2017. Bloomberg has more.

Millions more for millennials. While raising $200 million in funding, Snapchat — a popular photo-based communication app — appears to be valued at $20 billion. After recently integrating forms of advertising, which reach the estimated 100 million daily users in various forms from geocached filters to ad-based photo stories, it’s clear something the startup is doing is working. Read more from Forbes.