ESD Frequently Asked Questions

Monday, January 14, 2019. UPDATE – In response to recent concerns regarding the treatment of the houseless in the district, the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC) has produced a clarification document that can be viewed CentralEastside_Clarification_ESDFormation.1-9-19 (2)

Q: What the heck is an ESD?

A: An Enhanced Services District (ESD) is Portland’s name for a tool that business and property owners in a defined commercial area like the Central Eastside can use to fund improvements that go above and beyond normal City services (typically called a business improvement district or BID in other cities). The ESD is created, funded and controlled by district business and property owners.

Q: Why does Central Eastside need one?

A: Central Eastside is changing. A lot. Some of these changes are positive – new businesses, development, residents and transportation options. Some are negative – increasing congestion, garbage and crime (crimes against people and property increased 64% between November 2017-October 2018; Central Eastside now has the 7th highest level of crimes against people and property in Portland per capita). Current resources (private and public) are not adequate to meet the rapidly evolving needs of Central Eastside’s businesses, employees, customers and residents and mitigate the impact of increasing density. Together we must take advantage of new tools and resources to proactively shape the Central Eastside’s future.

Q: What will the ESD do?

A: Clean, beautify, promote and secure the district! The proposed Central Eastside: Enhanced Service Plan was created by soliciting significant feedback from district businesses, property owners, residents and other stakeholders. District-wide crime statistics, real-time documentation of garbage, graffiti and vandalism and national best practices also informed the proposed plan (see complete Service Plan on pages 2-4).

  • Sidewalk Operations, Beautification and Safety
  • Streetscape Improvement and District Identity
  • Parking and Transportation
  • Community and Workforce Innovation Fund
  • Advocacy and Administration
  • Contingency/Reserve

Q: Shouldn’t the City provide those services?

A: The City of Portland provides basic services to all districts city wide. Central Eastside wants more. Central Eastside: Enhanced will provide enhanced services to Central Eastside that go above and beyond the City’s service. We pay more to get more and can use the ESD to hold the City accountable to maintaining current levels of basic services.

Q: How does it get created?

A: Business and property owners come together to create an Enhanced Services District (ESD). Since 2017, the all-volunteer Central Eastside: Enhanced Steering Committee has solicited input from Central Eastside stakeholders to propose the ESD and secure letters of support from business and property owners. In January 2019, the Steering Committee will present the proposed ESD and support letters to Portland City Council for approval. Once approved by City Council, Central Eastside: Enhanced will be in place for 3 years, at which point the district will decide whether to continue or terminate the ESD.

Q: What does it cost and who pays?

A: Each property in the ESD boundary (generally I-84 to the north, Division to the south, 12th to the East and the Willamette River to the west) will pay a rate (called a ‘Property Management License Fee’ in Portland) based on the size, improved value and usage of their land/building. Together, we will raise $1.2 million/year which will leverage an additional $1.4 million in City funds for a total Year 1 budget of $2.6 million. The Property Management License Fee will increase 2.3% annually over the 3-year life of the ESD. The Property Management License Fee formula is below. All properties pay once the ESD is approved by City Council.


Properties in the ESD will be assessed a ‘Property Management License Fee’ annually using the following formula:

  1. Improved Value – $0.45 per $1,000 of improved value
  2. Building Square Footage – $3.50 per 290 square feet of improvements less parking
  3. Land Square Footage – $0.020 per square feet of land owned
  4. Annual Escalator – 2.3% annually starting in the 2020 license year. Note: figure is equal to the 10-year average of Portland’s consumer price index (CPI -W1).

This formula is expected to generate $1,200,000 in Year 1 and $4,100,000 over the proposed 3-year life of the ESD (2019-2021). It will be matched with $1,400,000 year in parking demand management (permit and meter) revenue.

Q: What are the boundaries?

A: Central Eastside: Enhanced includes:

  • Northern Boundary: I-84 (south side between Willamette River and east side of 12th Avenue)
  • Southern Boundary: SE Division Place (north side between I-99/McLoughlin Blvd and River); SE Division Street (south side between Grand and 10th Avenues; both sides between 10th and 12th Avenues); and SE Hawthorne (both sides between 10th and 12th Avenues)
  • Eastern Boundary: SE 10th Avenue (west side between Hawthorne Blvd and Division Street); SE 12th Avenue (west side between I-84 and Stark Street; east side between Stark Street and Hawthorne Blvd)
  • Western Boundary: Willamette River (between I-84 and north side of Division Place)

Q: Are there other ESDs in Portland?

A: Yes. Downtown and Lloyd both have ESDs. However, because of the unique needs, demands and types of buildings and businesses in Central Eastside, Central Eastside: Enhanced is a different kind of ESD with innovative programs created specifically by Central Eastside for Central Eastside.

Q: How do I know if it’s working?

A: It is! The ESD will track all services and provide regular district reports on goals, metrics and accomplishments.


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