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Bureau of Environmental Services cleaning up brownfield, soon to be 61-units, on Williams Avenue.

COURTESY RENDERING - The 61-unit North Williams Center is shown here in a rendering. A shuttered manufacturing site with a polluted past is steaming toward a future as subsidized housing, thanks to several infusions of grant funding.

The city's Bureau of Environmental Services is spending $200,000 to help pay clean-up costs for the brownfield Wagstaff Battery Company site in North Portland's Eliot neighborhood. That's on top of $4.5 million in urban renewal funds OK'd by City Hall in January.

The total price tag for the project, including public and private dollars, is roughly $20 million.

"This grant is an investment in our community, helping to create healthy neighborhoods, while providing deeply affordable housing in a historically underserved neighborhood," said Commissioner Nick Fish on April 11. "It's a win-win-win."

Contaminated soil lingered on the plot long after the one-story industrial structure at 2124 N. Williams Avenue was repurposed in 2000 as a job training center for the developmentally disabled, which was run by Port City and later Albertina Kerr.

After the hazardous material is removed, the San Francisco-based nonprofit BRIDGE Housing plans to build a u-shaped 61-unit apartment complex surrounding a landscaped courtyard. Other amenities including community gardens, common space, a children's play area, chicken coops — and 32 surface parking spots.

COURTESY BES - The former site of the now defunct Wagstaff Battery Company in North Portland.Forty units will be reserved for households earning 30 percent of the area's median income, or about $24,420 for a family of four, while the other 20 will be for those making 60 percent. Ten of those units will include wraparound services for people exiting homelessness. Only the on-site superintendent will pay market rates.

The land was donated by the Multnomah County Commission after a vote on Jan. 24.

"These are the units that keep our lowest-income community members stable in their housing over time, and prevent homelessness," noted Marc Jolin, director of the city-county Joint Office of Homeless Services.

While originally announced as a four-story development, the project has apparently grown a fifth floor, according to Next Portland. A majority of the units offer two or three bedrooms.


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