Families living below the federal poverty line. People with developmental disabilities. Longtime Portlanders who've been displaced from their neighborhood.
Portland's newest affordable housing project manages to address renters who fall into any of these categories. The 60-unit North Portland complex—the $4.5 million budget for which was approved by city council this morning—will place some of Portland most vulnerable populations under one roof.
"We like to create projects that meet a variety of needs," says Shannon Callahan, director of the Portland Housing Bureau.
Called the North Williams Center, the slated development will occupy land previously owned by Multnomah County along N Williams Ave between NE Thompson and NE Tillamook.
The city will reserve 40 of the building's 60 units for renters who make 30 percent or less than the are median income in the Portland area. Currently, the median annual income for a family of four living in the Portland-Vancouver metro region is $81,400. A family of four living on 30 percent of that exist on an annual income of $24,420.
The other 20 units will be earmarked for Portlanders who qualify for the city's "preference policy," which gives rental preference at city-owned residences to people whose families once owned property in North and Northeast Portland—but were displaced by city development projects (looking at you, Memorial Coliseum).
Callahan says that 10 of those total units will be held for renters who would benefit from "supportive housing," a model that pairs specialized supportive services, like mental health and addiction treatment, with low-income housing.
Eighteen of the units will have three bedrooms, a rarity in most affordable housing complexes. At capacity, Callahan says, the new residence could house 194 people.
The development is funded by both public and private dollars. The city's $4.5 million will come from a pot of money specifically put aside for economic reinvestment into North Portland, an area the city calls the "Interstate Corridor." Construction is slated to begin in March.
"This is part of the city's commitment to North and Northeast Portland," Callahan says. "It's a beautiful development that the community needs and deserves."