Beaverton City Council discusses future of community center
The Beaverton Community Center could be razed to make way for a senior housing development, under a proposal advancing through City Hall.
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, the Beaverton City Council held a work session to discuss using Metro bond money for affordable housing to renovate the site at 12350 S.W. Fifth St., across from the Beaverton City Library.
Voters approved the Metro bond measure in 2018. It provides $31.1 million for the creation of at least 218 affordable housing units in Beaverton, according to city officials.
Of those 218 units, 89 must be available for very low-income households earning 30% or less of the area median income and 109 must have two or more bedrooms, making them suitable for families with children and/or elderly parents.
Last October, the City Council discussed the option of redeveloping the community center for the purposes of senior affordable housing, a plan known officially as "Project C."
Beaverton officials say they want to use their share of Metro bond money to build housing on land the city already owns, like the Community Center site.
However, in addition to being used by various groups, the Community Center already fills a niche in Beaverton's housing needs. It hosts a warming center for people living without shelter or access to heat during cold weather.
Previously, council members voiced concerns about what to do with the warming shelter and community garden currently located at the community center.
The idea of keeping the warming shelter at the site, likely on the first floor of the proposed apartment complex, hasn't met with much council support, said Cadence Petros, Beaverton's development division manager.
"That led us to talk with the community services engagement team about relocation of the severe weather shelter somewhere else in the city," Petros said. "We're also mindful of the fact that the county is responsible for implementing the housing services levy, and they might be interested in a permanent homeless shelter within the county and maybe within the city of Beaverton, and as staff, we'd like to explore that possibility."
A chart also listed the center as a location for the severe warming shelter through 2021, but Petros says that the shelter should be located by the 2022 winter season.
As for the community garden, it can remain on site through this summer.
"Because we anticipate that construction would likely begin in summer 2022, this would be the last season of the community garden on site," Petros added.
There is a possibility Beaverton could work with the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District regarding the community garden. While she said she likes the idea of partnering with the park district, Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty said she wants the garden to remain accessible and in a walkable location for residents nearby.
"We had a lot of emails come into City Council from community members that use that as a primary food source," said Beaty. "Given the demographics of that neighborhood, I think this is a priority for us to interest as well."
Regarding the warming shelter, City Councilor Mark Fagin said that he wants the shelter to be a priority when discussing the future of the site.
"Making sure the severe weather shelter is taken care of, whether it appears in a different building in a similar format or whether it's in a different format with the help of the county," Fagin said, "it's good to have those discussions and to provide some certainty that it's not just going to drop off the radar."
He also agreed with other councilors that the city should look at other cities around the country to find out what's working for them.
Despite concerns with the future of the shelter and community garden, Beaty is excited for the affordable housing project to provide housing for seniors in the area.
"Senior housing is a deficit we have in the community," said Beaty.
The mayor also hopes to work with staff on producing ideas for the ground floor of the senior housing development.
During the City Council's Feb. 9 meeting, Beaverton's senior development project manager Javier Mena told councilors that early plans for the apartment complex include 60 to 80 units, all dedicated for older adults with fixed or limited income.
"Once we have the developer, and once we know what's going to happen on the ground floor (of the building), we'll be able to clear in terms of the number of units," explained Mena.
The city will move forward with issuing a developer solicitation for Project C, which could start construction by summer 2022. The apartment complex would open the following year.
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