UNION — An income survey of Union residents by Portland State University brought news that is both upbeat and discouraging.

The encouraging information is that the income levels of city residents are higher than what some city officials anticipated. The unfortunate news is this means Union just missed being eligible to apply for federal Community Development Block Grants to fund infrastructure improvements such as sewer and water projects, said Interim City Administrator Rod McKee.

The results of the survey, conducted by the Survey Research Lab at Portland State, indicate that 51.12 percent of Union residents are in the federal government’s low to moderate income level category, above the cutoff line for extremely low and very low income levels.

For a city to be eligible to apply for many Community Development Block Grants, no more than 51 percent of its residents can be above the extremely low and very low levels.

“We found that the service area had an LMI (lower to moderate income level) of 51.12 percent, which is above the 51 percent threshold to apply for CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds,” said Cameron Mulder, research and data collection coordinator for the Survey Research Lab, in an email to McKee, which was included in a packet of information distributed by the city to the public at Monday’s city council meeting.

Union was just a handful of households away from being eligible, noted Mayor Leonard Flint.

“We were right on the edge,” he said.

The Community Development Block Grant program is run by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. It provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities and counties to develop urban communities, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, www.hud.gov. In 2017, Oregon received more than $20 million in Community Development Block Grant funds.

See complete story in Friday's Observer

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