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Family-friendly project planned for just west of Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

MAP COURTESY OF HOME FORWARD - The 100 units of new low-income housing in Troutdale will be near transportation, jobs, schools and services.

Troutdale likely will be getting about 100 new units of low-income housing after Multnomah County Commissioners voted to transfer a chunk of vacant land to county housing agency, Home Forward, for the project.

"We are building affordable housing for people who need it," said Commissioner Lori Stegmann, who represents East Multnomah County on the board.

The roughly 4-acre property sits along Southwest 257th Drive, just west of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and a bit south of the entrance to Troutdale's main shopping street.

Home Forward will oversee the development. It's the agency's first forray into Troutdale, although it has multiple projects in Portland and around Multnomah County.

The Troutdale complex will also include a community room, playground and computer lab, Michael Buonocore, executive director of Home Forward, told the county commissioners at their Thursday, Dec. 17 board meeting. About half the units will be two bedrooms.

Buonocore said 60% of Troutdale renters are considered rent burdened and that salaries paid by some employers in the area make it difficult for workers to afford local rents. Buonocore estimated 1,900 local households could benefit from this type of housing.

Troutdale's Community Development Director Chris Damgen said "the city's Housing Needs Analysis, completed earlier this year, did identify a need for this type of housing in the area."

It will be a while before the first tenants move in, probably not until summer of 2023.

"We're early in the develoment process," Buonocore said.

Home Forward must close on financing, chose an architect and project manager before the first shovel of dirt can be turned.

They also have to negotiate to acquire the half-acre parcel adjacent to the Multnomah County property, said Troutdale's Damgen (seen as the triangle marked on the map). Despite a year of conversations, the city has not taken a position on the disposition of that property, he said.

The county bought its property to use for the adjacent Sheriff's Office, but decided they did not need it for that purpose. The ground is valued at $1.2 million.

"The property is ideally suited for affordable housing development because it is located near jobs, services, a new elementary school, public transportation and there is documented need for affordable housing based on the city of Troutdale's housing needs analysis," Assistant County Attorney Jed Tompkins said.

The project will get about $15.5 million from the $652.8 million Metro housing bond that voters approved in 2018.

This Home Forward project in Troutdale is just one of a couple of low-income housing projects going up in the area. Tenants incomes must fall within specific low-income parameters to qualify for residence.

Albertina Kerr received $12.3 million from the Metro housing bond to help fund a project for 147 affordable housing units on its Gresham campus on 162d Avenue between Glisan and Halsey Streets. The other project is Rockwood 10, a 224-unit complex at 187th Avenue, which got $6.7 million from the Metro bond for 47 of its 224 units.

Deborah Kafoury, chair of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, called the proposed project in Troutdale "another affordable housing milestone in our community."

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