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The Albina Vision Trust announced plans for more than 120 units of affordable housing, as well as a community playhouse.

COURTESY LEVER ARCHITECTURE - The Albina Vision Trust plans to build a affordable housing complex and community theatre space in North Portland. Influential nonprofit Albina Vision Trust has announced plans to build affordable housing apartments and a community theatre in the historical heart of Portland's Black community.

Designs for the site between North Wheeler and Flint avenues calls for a seven-story complex offering 120 units of housing reserved for families making 30% to 60% of the area median income. It will also feature an adjacent theatre that will anchor "the future of the neighborhood to its rich cultural history," according to a news release dated Jan. 20.

"The Albina Vision team is determined to lead the redevelopment of Lower Albina and the re-rooting of Black people, families and culture there," said Rukaiyah Adams, board chair of the organization. "That work includes making sure that we are reflected in the built environment and that we participate in the wealth generated by our presence as owners of our homes and businesses."

Edlen & Company, which calls itself a mission-driven real estate firm, will serve as the project developer, while Albina Vision Trust will own the resulting building.

Colas Construction, Lever Architecture, and real estate firm Kidder Mathews have each signed on to the project.

Albina Vision managing director Winta Yohannes told Pamplin Media Group that they hope to complete construction in August 2023. The cost of the project and financing details are still being finalized, she said.

"Recovery from the present-day consequences of forced displacement, the theft of Black wealth, and the pandemic induced economic downturn will require us to lead with our values," added Yohannes. "This modest but significant action to prioritize the arts, create affordable housing and ensure community ownership is how we move from talking about equity to seeing it in action."

The project site, an 0.67-acre parking lot not far from Interstate 5 and the Portland Public Schools district headquarters, is currently owned by Elizabeth and Richard Reese via Paramount Parking LLC.

According to the release, the project would not have been possible without the Reese's commitment to Albina Vision's goals.


Zane Sparling
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