County, Metro OK $44 Million for Affordable Housing Projects

The Housing Authority Board of Clackamas County and Metro have unanimously approved the first three proposals to be funded by $116 million allocated by the Metro Affordable Housing Bond, which voters passed in 2018.

The concepts were approved by the Housing Authority board at the July 23 Business Meeting, and were OK’d by Metro August 6.

“The opportunity for us to tap into these funds is a huge leap forward for Clackamas County,” said Chair Jim Bernard. “It is very exciting to begin to deliver on the promises made to voters when they voted to support the creation of new housing for our vulnerable neighbors.”

The awarded sites are located in Happy Valley, Oregon City and unincorporated Clackamas County. Combined, they will create 413 new units, which is 51% of the county’s goal of 812 units.

153 of the units will be for homes for households with incomes 30% and below average median income, which is 47 percent of the target goal of 333 units. 292 units will be two-bedrooms or larger which is 72 percent of the target goal of 406 units.

$44,233,000 in bond funds and 125 project-based vouchers have been committed to the combined developments.

The awarded developments are:

Fuller Station (9608 S.E. Fuller Road)

Proposed by Geller, Silvis and Associates, this proposal was awarded approximately $10 million. Residents of this future site will benefit from nearby employment opportunities, recreational and educational facilities within walking distance, and close access to transit and services. This 100-unit development will fulfill 8% of the county’s housing bond goal.

Good Shepherd Village at 12596 S.E. 162nd Ave., Happy Valley

The 142-unit project was put forth by Caritas Housing Corp. & Catholic Charities. It will cost an estimated $18 million and will fulfill 16% of the county’s goal. Residents will benefit from nearby public transit, grocery stores, schools, a public library, and multiple parks and recreation areas. There are also medical facilities nearby.

The Maple Apartments, located in Oregon City

Proposed by Community Development Partners & Hacienda Community Development Corp., this 171-unit project will cost roughly $16 million and will fulfill 14% of the county’s housing goal. The site, located less than a half-mile from Clackamas Community College, is near multiple grocery stores and pharmacies, and is transit-adjacent.

“We are very impressed by these proposals,” said Stephen McMurtrey, the county’s director of housing development. “Creating over 50% of our targeted units utilizing only 38% of our total bond allocation in the first round of funding is a very exciting benchmark to meet, and we look forward to seeing what the next round brings as well.”

Use of the Affordable Housing funds require the developers to conduct extensive community engagement, and to adhere to certain framework criteria, including ensuring racial equity, creating opportunity for those in need throughout the region and ensuring long-term benefits and good use of public dollars.

“The Housing Authority’s development team has done excellent work bringing forward these three projects,” said Metro Council President Lynn Peterson. “Deep and broad community input informed the local implementation strategy and will continue to be the foundation of each project. The county is ahead of schedule with unit production, demonstrating a level of efficiency that is necessary during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The three proposed developments will continue toward final approval by gathering community input, finalizing project programming and services, securing land use approvals and permits, and procuring any additional financing required. Once projects have completed these steps, Clackamas County and Metro will again review the projects before providing final approval for housing bond funding.

Housing Authority staff will use the time between concept approval and final approval to engage with community members, the Housing Authority and Housing Advisory Boards, and Metro to assess the timeline for the next round of Metro Bond funding.

The next round of funding is slated for release in 2022. However, with the success of the initial release and the escalated need for housing and services as a result of Covid-19, it could be sooner.

Photo by yeowhatzup on Wikimedia Commons.

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