Making Coos Bay Better
Economic Development works to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and retaining jobs, supporting and growing incomes, and expanding the tax base. It leverages public incentives and assistance to attract and induce investment in local businesses that in turn contribute positively to the local economy and community.
Most Requested Forms
× Where can I go for assistance with opening a new business?
Contact the City of Coos Bay Public Works and Community Development Department at 541-269-8918 for information on business license requirements, zoning, urban renewal, and façade improvement grant program. Local agencies include the Business Development Center (541-756-6866), Business Oregon (541-267-4651), Coos Curry Douglas Business Development Corp (CCD) (541-756-4101), and South Coast Development Council (SCDC) (541-888-7003).
× What is required to operate a business out of my home?
If you are running a business from your home and your home is located within the city limits, you will need a Home Occupation permit and a Business License. If your home is not within the city limits, you just need a standard Business License. Download and complete both sides of the Home Occupation Permit Application (which is also a Business License application), then submit it to the Public Works and Community Development Department. If you do not own the home, you will need written permission from the property owner to conduct your business from the premises. The application will be reviewed by our staff to make sure that the proposed business fits the requirements for a Home Occupation and does not infringe upon the rights of other residents or alter the residential character of the area.
Investing in Our Future
Urban renewal is a partnership between the city and property owners to improve an area and encourage economic development with a "ripple effect" that invigorates businesses, strengthens the local econopmy, and ultimately increases property values. The intent of urban renewal is to improve specific areas that are poorly developed or underdeveloped, eliminate blighting conditions, and improve conditions to encourage economic development. Wherever possible, old buildings are preserved and rejuvenated, and neighborhood character is celebrated rather than demolished. Landowners and developers invest in improvements, aided by grants from the Urban Renewal Agency, which spurs business growth and generates jobs. Property values rise, and everyone benefits — including the city, as rising property values also mean more tax revenue for the city, county, schools, and other local agencies.
Urban renewal has been instrumental in many notable community improvements, including helping to restore the Egyptian Theatre, expanding the Eastside Boat Ramp, and doing seismic upgrades at City Hall. In the private sector, the Façade Improvement Grant Program helped revitalize landmarks such as the old Coos Bay National Bank Building and South Coast Office Supply.
Urban Renewal Districts
Coos Bay has two urban renewal districts -- one downtown, the other in Empire. The Downtown District was formed in 1988 and includes the shopping district and the upper portion of the bay. The Empire District was formed in 1995 and includes a business district and the lower portion of the bay.These districts have helped finance many public and private projects over the years, with improvements ranging from spiffing up a storefront to redeveloping the Hollering Place property on the Empire waterfront. Not every project succeeds, but the overall track record is strong.
funding & payoff
Money for urban renewal comes from taxing the increase in property values on property within an Urban Renewal District. Urban renewal does not increase property taxes, it just reallocates the taxes paid on increased property valuation. Jurisdictions don’t receive any less money than they did before the URA was formed. But urban renewal does divert the taxes on any increase in property valuation. During the life of the Urban Renewal District, that portion of tax revenue is invested in projects to improve the area. In the long run, those improvements raise property values, thereby yielding more property tax revenue for all of the taxing jurisdictions.
The payoff from urban renewal can be seen throughout Coos Bay. The Egyptian Theatre restoration, the Hollering Place redevelopment, the Empire Boat Building Center, and façade improvements at many local businesses all reflect urban renewal investment. Pinpointing the exact economic impact of urban renewal is impossible, because many factors affect property values, but we can make a reasonable estimate. We know that property values typically increase about 3 percent per year, and we know how much assessed valuation has risen in the Downtown and Empire Urban Renewal Districts. By subtracting 3 percent per year from the actual increase, we can estimate that urban renewal has enhanced the two districts by about $46 million. That increased valuation will yield higher property tax revenues over the long run.
Coos Bay has used urban renewal previously to improve the city. Before the two current districts, Coos Bay created an urban renewal district in the central downtown core area in 1968 that extended from the bay on the east to 4th Street on the west and from Commercial Avenue on the north to Curtis Avenue on the south. The district's projects consisted of elimination of traffic on Central Avenue from Highway 101 to 4th Street and the creation of a pedestrian mall, undergrounding of many utilities within the district, property acquisition to create parking lots and remove blighted structures, and canopied walkways to connect parking lots and other district areas with the pedestrian mall. The projects were completed in the early 1970s. The district ceased tax increment revenue financing in 1984 and the district ended in 1989. The lasting impact of these improvements is evident in the popular walkable downtown and numerous festivals and community events now held in the area.
The Urban Renewal Agency is headed by the Urban Renewal Board, whose membership consists of the mayor and City Council. Staff support for the URA comes from the city’s Community Development Department.
Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) Chapter 457 establishes and governs urban renewal districts. Administrative costs associated with implementation of urban renewal projects are an allowable expenditure of urban renewal funds.
Urban Renewal Downtown
The Coos Bay Downtown Urban Renewal Plan and Report were adopted in 1988.
The Coos Bay Downtown Urban Renewal Plan and Report were adopted in 1988 in accordance to Oregon state law. The Downtown District begins at the north city limits and runs between the navigation channel and Highway 101 south and southeast toward the city's core area. The district's boundaries proceed south until they come nearly in line with the industrial property located in Eastside. The eastern boundary then turns east to include the industrial-commercial lands in the Eastside area. The westerly boundary proceeds west to include the downtown core area which was a part of the first Urban Renewal Plan and also includes several blocks of transportation corridor immediately west of the core area. The eastern and western urban renewal area boundaries begin to come together in the southern portion of the city and extend to the south city limits along Coalbank Slough.
The Downtown Plan classifies potential urban renewal projects in three general, broad categories:
- Waterfront Development
- Core Area Revitalization
- Streets and Infrastructure
Urban Renewal Empire
The Empire URA rejuvenates the historic area.
The Empire district is a historic area on the far west area of the city. Founded in 1853, Empire was once an independent city and was the county seat, poised to become the economic and governmental center of the region. Commerce then shifted farther east towards the more protected bay, and Empire declined. The city of Empire voted to consolidate with Coos Bay in 1965. The historic buildings and varied businesses still show the pride of the area and tie the area to the working waterfront.
The Empire Urban Renewal District borders the bayfront adjacent to Empire Blvd from Wisconsin Avenue north to the shoreline. At the intersection of Empire Blvd and Newmark Avenue, east on either side of Newmark Avenue to the intersection with Ocean Blvd, east to the property line between Norman Avenue and LaClair Street.
The objectives of the Empire Plan are to improve the function, condition, and appearance of the urban renewal area and eliminate existing blight. Project categories:
- Waterfront Development
- Empire Blvd. and Bayfront Improvements
- Improve Primary Commercial Area
URA Annual Reports
Annual Reports are filed with the City Council each January.
Oregon Revised Statues (ORS) 457.460 requires a financial impact statement from the Urban Renewal Agency be filed with the City Council by January 31st of each year. The annual reports are in addition to the Urban Renewal budgets which are adopted after a public budget process, a public hearing before the Urban Renewal Agency, and in addition to the annual Urban Renewal Agency Audit.
Components of the financial report include:
- The amount of money received during the preceding fiscal year and the indebtedness incurred.
- The purposes and amounts for which money received, including indebtedness, were expended during the previous fiscal year.
- An estimate of money received in the current fiscal year, including indebtedness.
- A budget identifying the purposes and estimated amounts to be received for the current fiscal year and how funds are to be expected.
- An analysis of impacts, if any, of carrying out the plan for all taxing authorities for the preceding year.
Urban Renewal Improvement Program
The Urban Renewal Improvement Program helps finance exterior improvements such as painting, brickwork and awnings to promote the revitalization of the city’s two Urban Renewal districts.
Urban Renewal Improvement Program
The Coos Bay Urban Renewal Agency (Agency) offers building improvement financing through the Urban Renewal Improvement Program for the Empire and Downtown Urban Renewal Districts. Financing for commercial tenants and/or property owners on a per building basis can be considered by the Agency in any one fiscal year period [July 1 through June 30]. To revitalize commercial structures and support housing as a secondary use, eligible property improvements may also be considered for Agency loans. Traditionally grants or loan funding are for 50% of eligible project costs; the Agency has sole discretion to increase the grant or loan funding percentage. Minimum grants are $1,000 for a $2,000 project. The Agency can consider grants greater than $1,000 and loan amounts and terms on a case-by-case basis depending upon available funding and benefit to the Urban Renewal District. The Urban Renewal Agency maps are noted below:
- Restoration of masonry, brickwork, or wood and metal cladding.
- Replacement or repair of architectural features.
- Exterior lighting.
- Gutters and downsprouts.
- Structural support or new construction for the facade.
- Painting (as part of a construction project).
- Sidewalks (as part of an overall project).
- Design, architectural, and engineering services, up to 15% of the total project cost, to a maximum of $7,500,
- Building improvements as regulated in CBMC Title 15 (Buildings and Construction) to accomodate housing as a secondary use.
- Building fire/life/safety improvements routinely necessary for cost effective and successful rehabilitation of older buildings including but not limited to HVAC, sprinkler systems, elevators, electrical, plumbing improvements, accessibility work and public infrastructure work related to the building improvement.
- Permanent native and perennial landscaping, irrigation, and hardscape integral to project design visible to the public such as trees, landscape, walls, in-ground lighting and walkways up to 5% of a total project cost. Up to an additional 2.5% may be authorized for project landscaping. The additional funding is used for 'green' landscaping features, such as but not limited to bioswales, rain gardens, etc.
- Other improvements meeting the Program intent.
- A business owner who is a tenant will be required to provide written approval from the legal property owner.
- If multiple projects are undertaken at one building, an application must be provided for each project, and one award per project will be allowed in an fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). For facade projects, continuity of building facade improvements from year to year is required.
- For single projects, one award per building location will be allowed in any fiscal year (July 1 through June 30).
- Program funds cannot be used for routine maintenance.
- A property whose owner or tenant is in default on an municipal or Local Improvement District property taxes, special assessments, or debt to the City is not eligible.
- The Urban Renewal Agency has sole authority to determine eligibilty of proposed work and acceptability of completed work. Certain areas, such as the Empire and waterfront areas, have design standards that must be followed as noted in the Empire Design Standards and Waterfront Heritage Design Standards. See the Empire Design Standards and Waterfront Heritage Design Standards for information.
- The applicant must agree to maintain the Agency improvements in good condition for not less than five (5) years and to make prompt repairs due to any vandalism and eradicate any graffiti immediately.
- Design Assistance Team review for exterior improvements is required.
- Three detailed written bids, from licensed contractors shall be required for the project work unless waived by the URA.
How to Apply
City staff will be happy to guide you through the URA Improvement Program process. There is no fee to apply for the Program.
- To apply, start by completing a Pre-Application form and returning it to the Planning Division of the Public Works and Community Development Department at City Hall (500 Central Ave, Coos Bay). You may also email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Participate in a Pre-application conference to introduce your project. This involves meeting and reviewing with City staff and the Design Review Committee.
- Apply for the Program and share in a meeting with City Staff and Design Review Committee your final design. The Design Review Committee will make a recommendation to the Urban Renewal Agency.
- If your property is located in the Empire or Waterfront Heritage area, an Architectural Design Review by the Planning Commission is required.
- Urban Renewal Agency review of the Design Review Committee recomendations is required at a public meeting for Agency action to approve the project.
For more information, contact Debbie Erler at 541-269-1181, ext 2259, or email@example.com.