Plans for affordable housing in Washington County gain approval
People might soon see new affordable housing units throughout Washington County.
In a press release on Friday, Oct. 2, the county announced seven affordable housing projects that now have conceptual approval from the Washington County Board of Commissioners and Metro to get funding from the Metro Affordable Housing Bond.
"Throughout the region — and right here in Washington County — too many community members have been struggling for too long to gain access to stable, affordable housing," said Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington. "The need continues to outpace the demand for such housing right now, but it is gratifying to have seven more projects beginning to take shape in our county."
These seven projects are geographically widespread, including planned developments in Forest Grove, Cornelius, Aloha, Beaverton, Tualatin and Tigard.
Upon completion, the units will bring the county another 624 units of affordable, regulated housing, added the announcement.
"This step is a significant milestone for Washington County and the region as we move closer to filling the affordable housing gap for working class families and low-income people," said Metro Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzalez, District 4. "These affordable units will meet so many needs — serving farm workers, families, our aging community, veterans and our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) community that need stable housing — especially given the strain of the COVID-19 economy. I am proud that our region can work closely together and rise up to create more affordable housing."
The projects also range in size from a 36-unit project in Forest Grove to a 144-unit project in Tigard.
In Aloha, the project site is 1.11 acres and is sponsored by BRIDGE Housing Corp., the largest nonprofit developer of affordable and workforce housing on the West Coast, according to the county.
The new construction project will include 82 units and is located near high-frequency transit, parks, schools and jobs.
What about cost?
The county lists the total cost of the project as $27.9 million, with a Metro bond proposed award of $10.2 million.
As for the target population, units would be available for both individuals and families.
The site of the Aloha development is 3575 S.W. 174th Ave.
BRIDGE is also involved in another project in Washington County, in the South Cooper Mountain area. The site is 2.15 acres and located at Southwest 172nd Terrace and Goldcrest Lane in Beaverton.
The nonprofit developer has a purchase and sale agreement with the owner of the site to purchase it for $2.4 million. The site is across the street from Mountainside High School and is considered a "high-opportunity area" for development.
According to the county, BRIDGE originally applied for Metro affordable housing bond funds last February. While the South Cooper Mountain project was not selected in that evaluation process, the county says Beaverton has committed $400,000 of its own resources to the project and asked the county to support the project with $8.7 million in Metro affordable housing bond funds from the county's $116.5 million allocation.
Those units will count towards the county's unit production targets and not Beaverton's, according to county officials.
The site was annexed into Beaverton in 2013. It was previously part of unincorporated Washington County.
Based on zoning, parking and landscaping requirements, as well as the Metro affordable housing bond framework requirements, BRIDGE plans to build 75 units of affordable housing at the site, including 64 units of family housing that have two or more bedrooms.
As for rent, the county says that all proposed units on the site are affordable to households earning 60% or less of median family income, with 18 units anticipated to serve extremely low-income households earning 30% of median family income.
BRIDGE estimates total development cost at $28.1 million. The nonprofit intends to leverage Metro affordable housing bond funds and money from Washington County and Beaverton with low income housing tax credits from Oregon Housing and Community Services, Washington County HOME funding and permanent debt.
According to the county, six of the seven projects are homes for individuals and families, while one will focus entirely on building 58 units to serve seniors from 62 years of age and older in Tigard.
Construction could start next year.
"The projects will break ground and begin construction over the next six to 18 months," said the county in a statement. "The county's overall unit production goal with the Metro affordable housing bond is to produce 814 units. There's already an 81-unit project under construction in Tigard."
That leaves an additional 109 units to be produced in the future with the Metro bond funds in order to reach the county's goal.
The $652.8 million bond was approved by voters in November 2018 to create affordable housing across the Portland area.
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