Oregon To Sell Sustainability Bonds

posted by Brad Ford -

Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read announced today 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 Oregon Sustainability Bond, which will be sold as part of a larger state General Obligation bond issue during the week of May 7th, is a $40 million federally taxable issuance that will bolster affordable housing construction and home ownership programs throughout Oregon.

“Buyers of Oregon Sustainability Bonds will know that they are helping finance critical projects that will strengthen our communities, improve the economy, and conserve natural resources,” said Treasurer Read. “This first opportunity gets at the heart of investing in sustainable communities—providing affordable housing options to low income Oregonians, particularly those living in our rural communities and communities of color.”

The first series of Oregon Sustainability Bonds 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. 

“This new round of bonds will continue to bring much needed rental housing, as well as new permanently affordable homeownership opportunity to working Oregon families,” said Oregon Housing and Community Services Director Margaret Salazar.

The bonds have received a AA+/Aa1/AA+ rating from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investor Service, and Fitch Investor’s Service, respectively. You can see the preliminary offering statement for the bond sale at this link.

The new bond program helps fulfill the goals of 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.

Oregon Sustainability Bonds will have a higher level of transparency, with 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.

Orders for bonds by Oregon retail buyers will have top priority in the upcoming sale, with the balance of the bonds sold to national retail and institutional investors.

Bond investors receive predictable interest payments in exchange for their investments. Consult your broker or financial advisor for details and to see if municipal bonds are appropriate for you. You cannot buy bonds directly from the state: Buyers need to have a brokerage account. You can learn more at http://www.oregon.gov/treasury/BuyOregonBonds.

The Oregon State Treasury protects public assets, saves money, and helps Oregonians to invest in themselves and their families through empowerment programs like the Oregon 529 Savings Network and OregonSaves. Treasury oversees public investment, banking, and debt management services. State investment policies are set by the Oregon Investment Council. Treasury also promotes public outreach and education to help Oregonians learn strategies to save money and make smart financial choices.

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