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New builder overcomes months of setbacks on unique subdivisionIn case you hadn't noticed, the framing phase of a housing development on East First Street called 'Ursus Place' has re-commenced after months of setbacks.

By susan brannon

Newberg Graphic reporter

GARY ALLEN - Ursus Place on East First Street will feature 11 units, the first two of which are expected to be completed in February.
In case you hadn't noticed, the framing phase of a housing development on East First Street called "Ursus Place" has re-commenced after months of setbacks. Construction is underway on 11 single-family homes, but it was a long time coming.

The property was first proposed by Portland Homeworks as an 11-lot subdivision with accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to use as rentals for George Fox students. However, ADU units are a bit complicated to finance as the concept is relatively new and more capital is needed from the owner than for conventional housing. The owner decided to back down from this concept and focused on an easier plan for single family dwellings.

What also delayed the project was that complications arose because city maps showed stormwater lines ran down First Street, but in reality did not, according to Quinn Johnston, the site supervisor. The need for a stormwater solution plan became evident and caused a lengthy setback. After 10 months, the stormwater plan was approved by the city and the Oregon Department of Transportation. Portland Homeworks then began to prepare the site for the 11 housing units.

After Portland Homeworks completed site preparation, they sold the property to builder Tassy Davis in September. Tassy Davis kept the named property "Ursus" (Latin for bear; the GFU mascot is a bruin) and started construction in October. Johnston said he is excited to build the three- to four-bedroom homes and added that the first two units should be finished by the beginning of February.

Constructing homes can have its own problems and Tassy Davis has already had its own when a few unidentified individuals vandalized the worksite on Nov. 9.

"It wasn't much," Quinn said, but they did have to repair the damage.

Mike Wiltshire is the listing agent for the property and said that, "There is a strong, healthy market in Newberg for new homes." The homes will be detached dwellings from 1,650- to 1,750-square-feet and be listed in the mid-$300,000 range.

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