Beaverton, Washington County seek comment on housing bond plans
Beaverton and Washington County seek public comment on policies that will guide their spending of millions on new housing for low-income residents.
Beaverton is scheduled to get $31 million, and Washington County $119 million, as their shares of a $653 million regional bond that Metro voters approved Nov. 6.
Each government has to develop local implementation strategies that will specify not only how many units will be built, but also how many will go to families (two or more bedrooms) and to households earning less than 30% of the area median income.
(According to the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census, Washington County's 100% area median income for a family of four was $75,634 in 2016.)
The regional bond is expected to pay for a total of 3,900 units to be built through 2026 in the three counties.
For Beaverton, the total target is 218 units, including 109 for families and 89 for extremely low-income households.
For Washington County, the total target is 814, which excludes Beaverton (218) and Hillsboro (284), because those cities will get their shares directly from Metro. Washington County's share can go toward projects in other cities, not just unincorporated communities.
Beaverton had an open house on its plan May 16 at Highland Park Middle School, where about 75 people participated in a community meeting April 4 to discuss challenges of rental housing.
"Now that we have a plan out, we want to get feedback from people who have voiced their opinions," said Javier Mena, the city's affordable housing manager.
"Some of this information will help us mold what should be at the Elmonica station."
Beaverton has proposed a project of 75 to 85 units on land owned by Metro near the Elmonica light-rail station. But it has not yet been designed. Planners will have to rely on the guidelines to decide on a potential mix of intergenerational family housing, and units for homeless people, seniors and veterans.
Money is available for two other projects, and Mena said once the city's implementation plan is approved by the Metro Council, "we can put out solicitations for developments."
About $3 million of Beaverton's $31 million share already is committed to the Mary Ann Apartments, whose 54 units will be at 1st Street and Main Avenue near Beaverton High School. The City Council and Metro Council endorsed the project early because it is awaiting a $9 million federal tax credit, which will fund about half its $20.9 million cost.
Washington County does not have specific projects lined up for its share yet.
"People will have broad opportunity to give us feedback," said Komi Kalevor, director of county housing services.
Sheila Greenlaw-Fink is executive director of the Community Housing Fund, based in Beaverton, who spoke at a May 7 meeting of county commissioners. She said the plans should aim not only at residents eligible for housing, but also minority and emerging contractors.
"No doubt, there are some heavy lifts inherent in the local implementation strategy," she said. "There are a lot of great priorities. We have a lot of work to do to stretch toward those priorities."
Have your say
BEAVERTON: Public comment on the city plan will be accepted through May 31, and the City Council is expected to adopt it June 18.
WASHINGTON COUNTY: County commissioners will conduct a work session on the plan June 11 and are scheduled to adopt it June 25.
METRO: Both plans will go to the community oversight committee for the bond issue on July 26, and the Metro Council is scheduled to adopt plans on Aug. 1.
Metro webpage on housing bond:
Link to Beaverton plan:
Link to Washington County plan:
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