Nestled within the residential area of Old Town Beaverton on Southwest Main and Second streets is a brand-new four-story housing complex.
You won't find any studio apartments at what has been dubbed "The Mary Ann," named in honor of Beaverton's first school teacher, Mary Ann Watts. That's because the building is designed for families, specifically low-income families.
Just across the street from Beaverton High School and a 10-minute walk from the Beaverton Central MAX Station, the 54-unit building is one of the first to be developed with funding from the $652.8 million affordable housing bond passed by voters in 2018.
"We are so excited to see new affordable housing being built all over our region, including in downtown Beaverton," said Metro Councilor Gerritt Rosenthal. "The Mary Ann is one of the first projects in the regional affordable housing bond program. These new homes provide safety and stability for people in need, particularly those coming out of homelessness. We are glad residents will have access to culturally specific services and other amenities to help them thrive."
The building is also the first affordable housing complex in Beaverton to be developed by REACH Community Development, a nonprofit aimed at creating more affordable housing communities. REACH has also developed affordable housing projects in both North Portland and East Portland, as well as Vancouver.
Dozens of families have already started moving in since construction was completed in September, said Peter Clements, project manager at REACH. The building is now at half capacity, and Clements expects it to fill up by the end of November.
"What is coming to mind right now is the incredible feeling of seeing families moving into their apartments," he said. "Seeing a mom with two young kids and just the sense of relief, their faces was something I'll never forget."
The Mary Ann was built with a community focus in mind, with a meeting space, community kitchen and greenery on the second floor. The units themselves are designed for "optimal natural lighting," with multiple windows in almost all the rooms.
"The Mary Ann is more than just a building; it's making sure Beaverton continues to be a place of inclusion where people of different income levels and backgrounds are leaders in their community," said REACH chief executive officer Dan Valliere.
The project's completion represents a culmination of efforts to get more affordable housing in Beaverton's ever-growing community. Right now, the city is in the process of updating its code to allow for more diverse housing options for people of all income levels in Beaverton's residential neighborhoods.
In Washington County, one in four renters is considered rent-burdened, meaning they pay more than half of their income toward rent. The Mary Ann is meant to address rent-burdened citizens.
The 54 units will make up about one-quarter of the city's overall target of 218 under the Metro bond.
"I'm so pleased that we have another affordable housing project completed," said Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty. "We know that our housing crisis isn't going away, and it's important that we continue to collaborate with partners to create more affordable housing in our community. I'm grateful to our all-star staff and partners who are growing our city in equitable ways, with intentionality and complex decision-making, while always keeping our community vision top-of mind."
The targeted demographic of tenants at The Mary Ann is low-income families, with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income. Twenty percent of the units are set aside for households at or below 30% of the area median income.
A one-bedroom unit, for example, will range anywhere from $486 per month to $935 per month, depending on income level. A two-bedroom unit, meanwhile, will range from $935 per month to $1,141 per month.
The Mary Ann will also provide on-site services from Bienestar, which will connect residents to rental assistance, ESL training and legal assistance.
"We will also do community events," said Anaraquel Aguilera, spokesperson for Bienestar. "It can be anything from food drives, or just a meeting group to get to know your (neighbors)."
In addition to $3 million in Metro bond funds, the $22.6 million project received Washington County HOME funding, federal tax credits for low-income housing, and contributions from both the state government and Beaverton's city government, among other sources.
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