Economic Development

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.

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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.

Map of Urban Renewal Districts

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.

Related Documents


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:

Related Documents


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:

Related Documents


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:


2020-2021 URA Annual Report

2019-2020 URA Annual Report

2018-2019 URA Annual Report

2017-2018 URA Annual Report

2016-2017 URA Annual Report

2015-2016 URA Annual Report

2014-2015 URA Annual Report

2013-2014 URA Annual Report

2012-2013 URA Annual Report

2011-2012 URA Annual Report

2010-2011 URA Annual Report

2009-2010 URA Annual Report

2008-2009 URA Annual Report




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 (maps are available here). 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. Designed to revitalize these commercial areas and support housing as a secondary use, eligible properties may be considered for grant funding. Traditionally grants or loan funding is 50% of eligible project costs, but the Agency has sole discretion to increase the grant funding percentage. Matching grants may be awarded up to 50% of the project cost from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $25,000. Grant requests are determined by the Agency on a case-by-case basis depending on need and proposed project’s positive impact. Façade Improvement Program funds shall not be used as a replacement for normal periodic maintenance.

Qualifying Improvements


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.

Before you begin, read the URA Grant information packet to answer any questions and determine the applicable Urban Renewal District and Architectural Review Area.

1. Pre-Application: Submit the pre-application form, meet and review with staff and the Design Review Committee.
2. Application: Submit the application form, meet and review with staff and Design Review Committee.
3. Architectural Design Review: An architectural review (land use application) is required for properties located in a design review area.
4. Design Review Committee makes a recommendation to the Urban Renewal Agency.
5. Urban Renewal Agency approves the grant and signs the grant agreement.
6. Application submittal for required structural and floodplain permits (if required).
7. Project is completed, with final building inspection and final inspection based on grant project.
8. Final invoices are submitted with proof of contactor(s) payment for processing reimbursement.

For more information, contact Debbie Erler at 541-269-1181, ext 2259, or