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The government agencies will begin soliciting bids from developers for a project that could bring 50 affordable housing units to town 

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF LAKE OSWEGO - The affordable housing project is slated to be built at the intersection of Boones Ferry Road and West Sunset Drive.

The city of Lake Oswego agreed during a meeting Tuesday, June, 21, to sell a property on SW Boones Ferry Road to the Metro regional government for $2.5 million — as well as sign an intergovernmental agreement with the fellow public agency — to pave the way for affordable housing at the site. The city, Metro and the Housing Authority of Clackamas County will begin a process for finding a developer to build the complex, and the sale of the property won't actually close until after that process.

"I truly believe there is no greater impact we can have as a council than to ensure families have housing that is secure and affordable and that provides kids the opportunity to grow up in this community," Mayor Joe Buck said at the meeting. "We know the ZIP code that someone is born into is the single greatest indicator of how long they will live. The community is so important to someone's overall health."

The city purchased the 1.4-acre property at the intersection of Boones Ferry Road and West Sunset Drive for $2.25 million in 2018 and used it as a staging area for work to improve Boones Ferry Road. Last year Lake Oswego signed a memorandum of understanding in 2021 to explore possibilities for the site. The money the city is acquiring will go toward the urban renewal district for Lake Grove and, in turn, public projects such as the potential development of public parking facilities.

The Boones Ferry Road site is projected to provide 50 affordable housing units. Community Development Director Scot Siegel said that the homes would be occupied primarily by people earning 60% of the area median income, with 40% who garner less than 30% of the area median income.

To make the project financially viable, the city has declared that it would waive development charges and Metro has already committed $7.15 million for this endeavor. In its staff report, the city listed myriad other funding sources such as state and federal grant programs.

Representatives from Respond to Racism and LO for LOve, as well as the office of state Sen. Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, testified in support of the resolution.

"It's time to change the narrative about our city as just an upscale suburb that represents classism and, for some, racism," Respond to Racism founder Willie Poinsette said at the meeting, adding that the city needs to "walk the talk" on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Councilor Massene Mboup described Lake Oswego as the best and most progressive city in the Portland metro area and said that this project is an example of that.

"If you don't use power for good, you don't deserve to have it," he said.

City Manager Martha Bennett said that, based on conversations she's had with affordable housing developers, there is ample interest in the property. The city expects the project to break ground in 2024.


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