The Metro Council gave the green light to two projects on July 11, 2019 that will bring 240 new affordable homes to greater Portland. This commits $34.3 million in Metro's affordable housing bond, bringing the number of permanently affordable apartments underway to 339 since voters approved the bond measure.
“It’s amazing that eight months ago we passed this bond and we continue to inject not only money but hope for so many residents in the region,” said Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González.
The Housing Authority of Washington County submitted the first project to the Metro Council last Thursday. The council approved $11.4 million for the construction of a six-story apartment building at the corner of 72nd Avenue and Baylor Street in Tigard.
The building will provide 80 affordable apartments to individuals or families earning 60 percent or less of the area median income. This includes 20 two- and three-bedroom apartments reserved for those earning at or below 30 percent of the area median income. People earning income at those levels are also eligible for one-bedroom apartments.
“I’m very excited to see this project go together,” Metro Councilor Craig Dirksen said during the council meeting, highlighting the agency's partnerships with Washington County and the City of Tigard.
“As you know,” he added, “the Southwest Corridor Light Rail will one day soon stop just a few blocks away from this building. This is what it means to coordinate our region’s investments in different areas for maximum public benefit.”
The council also approved $22.9 million for the redevelopment of Dekum Court, a public housing complex in Northeast Portland built in 1972. The complex features 40 apartments that Home Forward, which owns and operates Dekum Court, will replace with new buildings.
Money from the affordable housing bond will then cover the construction of an additional 160 apartments. To ensure that no one is displaced, the families currently living at Dekum Court will move into their new homes before the housing authority redevelops the rest of the complex.
The 160 apartments will include eight four-bedroom, 35 three-bedroom, and 37 two-bedroom apartments. A total of 65 homes will be regulated at 30 percent of the area median income, and the remaining will be available to households at the 60 percent mark.
“I’m proud of our local housing authorities for really stepping up, calling the question of what communities need, working with communities, and making sure that residents are able to find places to live in this region,” said Metro Councilor Christine Lewis.
“We’ll finally be able to protect the existing tenants through some of the work being done in these pilot projects while creating more affordable homes," she said. "This is regionalism at its best, and this is a good day for Metro.”
Earlier this year the Metro Council approved two additional housing projects that begin to carry out goals of the affordable housing bond program. The Mary Ann Apartments will bring 54 new affordable apartments to Beaverton, while a project in Clackamas will create 45 efficiency apartments with health and wellness services on site.
Meeting greater Portland’s needs for affordable housing will take years — as will the construction of these projects — but Metro councilors expressed satisfaction with what the affordable housing program has accomplished in a matter of months. The program aims to create 3,900 permanently affordable homes.
“So it’s wonderful across all levels,” González said. “We’re almost at 10% of our goals across the region.”
Learn more about the affordable housing program.