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Email Reveals More About Affordable Housing Conflict


An email mistakenly sent to OPB reveals behind-the-scenes strategizing by developers to avoid committing to affordable housing on Portland’s South Waterfront.

Read The Email

This email from Kathleen Mazzocco at Clear PR lays out a possible strategy for the Zidell family and ZRZ Realty Co. regarding development and affordable housing. The email was mistakenly sent to an OPB employee.

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The email is from a public relations firm to three people in leadership positions at ZRZ Realty — managing director Matt French, director of planning and development Dennis Allen, and ZRZ Realty president Jay Zidell. The email was also mistakenly sent to an OPB employee and OPB News made the decision to share the email publicly because this is an issue that directly affects the public and is all about the intersection of business and government. We also shared it with Oregonian city hall reporter Brad Schmidt, who has been following this story closely.

ZRZ Realty, owned by the Zidell family, is currently negotiating with the city over development on property the family owns on Portland’s South Waterfront and affordable housing has been a sticking point. This tussle over affordable housing is part of a citywide issue with urban renewal areas and how much affordable housing should be built in those areas.

We invited ZRZ Realty onto the show. They declined, but sent this statement from Matt French, Managing Director of ZRZ Realty/Zidell Yards:

“We share the city’s view on the need to find affordable housing solutions at a citywide level. One of the City’s ways to advance affordable housing goals is to generate financial resources through tax increment financing in urban renewal districts such ours, 30% of which will go directly to affordable housing. We support a search for affordable housing options at the Zidell Yards and throughout the South Waterfront and we are continuing to work with the city towards this goal. Diversity and inclusion have always been part of our district vision.”

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