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Analysis & News on the Future of Public Finance

CSG: Another Move Toward Sustainability Bonds

Recently, Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read announced the inaugural sale of Oregon Sustainability Bonds, a new category of state bonds that are tailored for socially responsible investors and dedicated to projects that will enhance community and sustainability efforts. The first tranche is a $40 million federally taxable issuance that will bolster affordable housing construction and home ownership programs throughout Oregon.

Proceeds will finance grants for the construction of affordable housing projects via the State’s Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) Affordable Housing Program. The projects selected for inclusion in the LIFT program by the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department are in historically underserved communities and for households earning at or below 60% of area median income.  They are authorized under the Oregon Sustainability Act, which calls for developing and protecting resources in ways to enable people to meet current needs while also providing that future generations can meet theirs -- from the joint perspective of environmental, economic and community objectives.

The Treasurer's Office also detailed how they intend to address accountability concerns of socially responsible investment interests. There will be annual reporting on the uses and spend-down of the bond proceeds available on the Oregon State Treasurer’s website until the funds are spent in full.