The Housing Authority of Clackamas County has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Metro and the city of Lake Oswego to explore the acquisition of a piece of land for the purpose of developing affordable housing.
The Clackamas Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, Feb. 9 heard a brief update on the effort to bring an affordable housing development to a parcel located at the intersection of Boones Ferry Road and West Sunset Drive in the city's Lake Grove neighborhood. The land, which amounts to a little less than an acre in size, is currently being vetted by the HACC, Metro and Lake Oswego.
"The city wants to promote new affordable housing options in the city and owns six tax lots at the intersection that are currently used for construction staging," said Devin Ellin, county senior housing developer. "The city is hoping to rezone the parcels in order to support multi-family housing."
According to Ellin, the non-binding MOU will establish the process through which all parties can be involved in shaping the project and selecting the developer.
County Chair Tootie Smith said she's thankful that Lake Oswego is seeking opportunities to develop affordable housing, but suggested that county staff need to complete due diligence and engage nearby property owners before any purchase.
"I think what the MOU does is bring the three entities together so that we do that in a planful manner," said Rodney Cook, deputy director of county health, housing and human services.
Commissioner Martha Schrader — a Lake Oswego resident — told her colleagues that she's visited the site and spoken to both Mayor Joe Buck and former city councilor Theresa Kohlhoff for quite some time about the possibilities of an affordable housing development at the site. The city of Lake Oswego has had its sights on using the parcel for housing development since it initiated the major improvement project on Boones Ferry Road between Madrona Street and Oakridge/Reese Road in June 2019.
Commissioner Paul Savas said the MOU was "great news" and he was glad to see this fit into the state's planning goals.
"I really appreciate the leadership in Lake Oswego being part of this," he said. "This kind of approach, I think, is really important to do in concert with the city, so hats off to Lake Oswego and our staff involved putting this together."
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