The Oregon Housing Stability Council has approved spending more than $100 million to build nearly 650 affordable homes in urban and rural areas throughout the state.

The council approved funding requests for 10 affordable housing developments during its Friday meeting, prioritizing requests from communities that lost homes during the 2020 wildfires. The $103.5 million approved is less than half the amount requested by developers around the state. 

Andrea Bell, director of Oregon Housing and Community Services, said the grants are a crucial step toward addressing Oregon’s housing crisis. A 2021 study estimated that Oregon needs to build more than 580,000 homes by 2040, and nearly half of the new homes need to be affordable for people earning less than median income.

“Lack of affordable housing is a top concern for many people across the state, and we must continue to pursue measurable progress,” Bell said in a statement. “These investments will help improve the futures and quality of life for thousands of Oregonians in rural and urban areas of the state.”

The projects – apartment buildings and townhouses – are spread across the state, from central Oregon  to the coast and from southern Oregon  to Portland. Two of the approved projects are in Phoenix, a small Jackson County city devastated by the 2020 Labor Day wildfires.

Pacific Flats, a 72-unit apartment complex targeted at families, will receive $13.5 million. The new complex will have a mix of two- and three-bedroom units affordable for families earning between 30% and 60% of the median income in the area, or as much as about $48,500 for a family of four, under current income limits set by the federal department of Housing and Urban Development. Construction will start in February. 

The other Phoenix development, Phoenix Corner, received $15.3 million to build 88 apartments on 4 acres of land. It will have a mix of one-, two-and three-bedroom apartments affordable for people earning up to 60% of the median income, and construction will begin in April. 

The largest grant is for the Gussie Belle Brown Apartments, which will receive $17.9 million to build 120 units in northeast Salem. It will include 24 one-bedroom apartments for people earning 30% or less of the median income – about $17,000 for a single person or $20,000 for a couple.

Most other units will be two- or three-bedroom apartments for families earning up to 60% of the median income, or just more than $50,000 for a family of four. Construction will start in June 2024, and the developer plans to add an on-site child care center in a second phase. 

Rand Road Affordable Housing in Hood River will receive $15.1 million to build townhomes and apartments on a 7-acre site. The development will include 22 three-bedroom rental townhomes, two three-story apartment buildings with studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and a four-story apartment building with an elevator.

All units will be available for people earning up to 60% of the median income, which in Hood River County means a limit of just more than $37,000 for a single person and $53,000 for a family of four. Construction will begin in November. 

Estacada, a rural community in Clackamas county where homes burned in the 2020 wildfires, will receive $11.9 million to expand an apartment complex that received funding last year. The original development had 36 apartments, and the second phase will have 48. They’ll be a mix of two- and three-bedroom units available for people earning up to 60% of the median income in the area, almost $68,000 for a family of four. 

Eugene’s Ollie Court apartments will receive $11.3 million to build 81 affordable units and an early learning center on the ground floor of one of two four-story buildings. Construction will begin in July 2024. The apartments, a mix of one-, two-and three-bedroom units, will be affordable for people earning up to 60% of the median income, which in Eugene means limits around $35,500 for a single person and $50,500 for a family of four. 

Bend will receive $8.3 million for College View apartments, a pair of new apartment buildings across the street from the Oregon State University-Cascades campus. It will include 59 total units with one, two or three bedrooms. All will be available to people earning up to 60% of the median income: about $40,000 for a single person or $57,000 for a family of four. Construction will begin next July. 

Rivergreen Apartments in Corvallis will get $5.6 million to expand an existing apartment complex and add 24 new units available for people earning up to 60% of the median income – about $41,000 for a single person and just less than $59,000 for a family of four. 

The two smallest awards, $2.3 million each, are for small developments in Depoe Bay and Portland. Depoe Bay Townhomes will have six duplexes, with 12 units total, to provide housing for wildfire survivors who lost their homes in 2020. Construction will begin in March. 

The Portland development, Unicorn Bed, will have 13 two-bedroom apartments in two buildings on an Alphabet District lot in northwest Portland that takes up one-tenth of an acre. Construction will begin in September. 


Oregon Capital Chronicle

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Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.