This Parking Lot Was Supposed to be 400 Units of Affordable Housing


"Meanwhile, the condo towers across the road are slashing their prices, looking desperately for buyers."

Seems to me we'll have some affordable units in S. Waterfront soon enough.
...and we'll call it "Little Dubai"
Yay for Intern Nathalie! She's all growsed up!
If they want to create a more realistic community that is vibrant and teeming with a little life, it would make sense to get that and more built down in that vortex of yuppie. They should think something much like The Sitka apartments in the Pearl.
Middle-Upper middle class people don't create realistic communities nowadays - too busy, drive everywhere, scared of own shadow...etc

What about all the housing for veterans and seniors I recall hearing about down there?

BTW, SMIRK, link to your story isn't working.
Wait. Something in South Waterfront didn't work out as planned? I am shocked. SHOCKED!
link fixed, thanks Mizzzzzz
Can someone please define "affordable housing" for me in mathematical terms?
Stunning how the discourse is based on the assumption that the area didn't work out. As if in 5 years 9 large buildings, a rather nice new park, a tram and street car connection is somehow a failure. Should we return the area back to an industrial wasteland? My god people you live in a city, it takes time for cities to develop. It's actually off to a pretty good start considering the economic conditions we're in. If in the next 5 years OHSU hasn't started on it's new campus and nothing else has been built, then we can start talking about things not working out as planned. Go down and walk about sometime and stop letting Jack Bog define reality.
@SPK Affordable housing is generally used to mean housing that is publicly subsidized to some degree. For any income level, housing is considered affordable if it costs 1/3 or less than your income (though I forget right now whether that is gross or net).
I think Cboq's got some good points, there. I don't LIKE the area - tough to drive in or out of, can never find parking, and not many destinations worth visiting if you don't live there. But 5 years probably IS too short to judge an entirely new neighborhood, and 9 new buildings is a big addition to our little downtown.

Thanks, I hadn't thought of it in those terms before.
@Suz - So, for which income level is the South Waterfront housing supposed to be affordable?

I admit I'm being a tad cheeky. However, I keep hearing "affordable housing" without any solid definition attached to it.
@SPK - Well, doesn't the phrase "no affordable housing" just mean "no housing I can afford?"

The South Waterfront must be a failure because Smirk, Miz, and Suz can't afford to live there. Lots of people DO, of course, but what does that have to do with anything?
Suburban Porn King,

Thanks for asking for a definition of affordable housing - I didn't include the definition in the article because it's so complicated it would have eaten up half the story. Affordable housing is defined in relation to the median family income, which this year in Portland is $70,000 for a family of 4. "Affordable" in Portland is what's deemed affordable rent for people making anywhere from 0-120% of the median family income (MFI).

In the So Waterfront District, the Housing Plan for the area aimed to build 711 affordable units. 166 would have been for people making 0-30% of MFI, 211 units for people making 31-50% MFI, 205 units for people making 51-80% MFI and 129 units for people making 81-100% MFI.

The city makes these units affordable by subsidizing them, usually through tax rebates to the developer. The total subsidy for those 711 units would have come to $25 million.

I hope that's wonky enough for you.

I can't post pdfs to comments, but if you want a copy of that housing plan, send me an email at and I'll send it along to you.
Thanks, Smirk - and to complete that definition, what counts as "affordable rent?" I imagine it's some percentage of monthly income - 50%?

The city definition of affordable is that your total expenses for living in a space (including rent, utilities and any fees) do not exceed 30% of your household income.
Thanks, Smirk. I take it that for a family of four:

$70K / 12 = $5833.33
$5833 * .30 = $1750

If you strip off a few hundred for utilities, that leaves $1450 for a mortgage or rent payment. Assuming someone could scrounge up a down payment and factoring in taxes and insurance, you're not going to buy much down there. I presume a condo will involve HOA fees as well. You're probably talking about something in the $150K range.

At this point, I'm thinking the developers are getting away with something. However, to think that the South Waterfront is ever going to have property units that will accomodate a family of four for $150K is naive. The studio condos start around $156K.

I welcome any criticism.
@ Suburban Porn King,

hence "The city makes these units affordable by subsidizing them, usually through tax rebates to the developer. The total subsidy for those 711 units would have come to $25 million. "

This is how it works. There is no free lunch.
ummm this is the definition of affordable housing! Just open the fence, I'll be drinking 40's with Fred Savage and Gary ColeCole!
@ Suburban Porn King, Reymont, Wisteriaa, s.mirk

What’s Affordable Housing?

Northwest Pilot Project publishes an annual update of the income levels of the people (ages over 55, mostly single) they work with and what they can afford to pay for their monthly rent.

The people served through NWPP Housing program are now living on an income of $985 per month or less. The Fall 2009 NWPP NEWSLETTER (pdf file) at page 9 states:

“They are people who worked hard all their lives, but did not have retirement benefit plans attached to their jobs, and are now living on a limited Social Security, a Supplemental Security Income, or a Veteran’s Pension.

HUD defines affordable rent as paying no more than 30% of your income for housing.

In 2009 $49,000 annual income is the MFI for a single person in Multnomah County as determined by HUD (Department of Housing & Urban Development).

AMI - Annual Monthly Income

AMR - Affordable Monthly Rent

MFI - Median Family Income.

THE 2009 LIST:

AMI $674 = AMR $202 = 17% MFI

AMI $728 = AMR $218 = 18% MFI

AMI $912 = AMR $274 = 22% MFI

AMI $985 = AMR $296 – 24% MFI

AMI $1,456 = AMR $437 – 36% MFI
(employed FT at min wage $8.40/hr)

“ While you see cranes at work in many areas of the city, and a lot of housing being developed, there have been no buildings completed in 2009 with apartments affordable to our clients.”

Another point about annual monthly income:

Effective January 1st, 2010, all Social Security benefits were frozen at 2009 levels because President Obama exercised 'fiscal restrain't to deny cost-of-living increases (COLAs) to all recipients.
The Tamarack Enriching Jewish Lives For Over 100 Years!
Many cities and counties have started working for those people who are working for the government and government also introduces some housing societies indirectly. These societies are fully luxurious and fully planned by the government same like above mentioned community. Affordable housing means a long range plane. These housing societies are unaffordable and cost of the parking is not included in the cost of the housing. If you have sufficient money then you can afford it but the term affordable housing is totally wrong because this term is not for a common people to afford it.