Lake Oswego will receive federal funds for affordable housing
Local officials have plans to allocate dollars to the Lake Oswego community that will ultimately benefit safe walking trails and those who have long been underserved.
After the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March — allocating $1.9 trillion in relief funds to help states suffering from the negative economic and health impacts as a result of the pandemic — local representatives were given a portion of funds to divvy up.
Oregon received about $2.6 billion, with $2 million given to every representative and $4 million to every senator to decide how to spend the funds in their respective districts.
"During the COVID-19 pandemic, the socioeconomic inequities and health disparities felt by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Communities have been magnified. Tragically, these systemic inequities can often mean the difference between life and death," said House Rep. Andrea Salinas, who represents the 38th District, covering most of Lake Oswego and parts of southwest Portland, in a recent newsletter. "When I first found out I would need to make decisions on how to allocate a portion of these ARPA funds, I knew I needed to make investments that would positively impact the most underserved and vulnerable in our communities in the near future."
While ARPA has regulations on where the money can be spent, both Salinas and Sen. Rob Wagner decided to allocate funds to a handful of different categories: racial equity work, health care, affordable housing and trails.
There will be $1 million — $300,000 of which would come from Salinas — going toward racial justice and equity work in south metro communities including Lake Oswego. This work would include increasing awareness through events and programs, and empowering marginalized groups to engage with decision makers over projects that promote this type of work.
In regards to affordable housing, $3 million is being allocated for land purchases — $1 million of which will come from Salinas.
"This funding will go to Habitat for Humanity to purchase two in-district plots of land that when developed, will equal nearly 75 units of affordable housing. One plot of land is located in southwest Portland near Wilson High, Rieke Elementary, and some forested acreage," the newsletter read. "The other is in Lake Oswego — making this the largest affordable, family ownership housing development in the history of Lake Oswego! These homes will support hundreds of Oregonians and over 150 children."
Steve Messinetti, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity in the Portland region, said the funds for the housing project in Lake Oswego would go toward purchasing a property on Boones Ferry Road. This would allow "Habitat for Humanity Portland Region to develop into 23 affordable, for-sale townhomes," said Messinetti in an email to the Review. "At this time we are still working on contracts with the seller so am not able to provide much more detail."
Salinas also decided to put $300,000 toward Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine — a free clinic that assists uninsured and low-income people with vision and health care.
The money will help the clinic move to an improved space.
"CVIM has operated out of an increasingly dilapidated warehouse since 2012. They've been working with Clackamas Community College (CCC) to renovate a space in Clairmont Hall on the Oregon City campus," the newsletter read. "This space is ideal for CVIM patients for many reasons. CCC students in the Health Sciences fields can supply ready volunteers. The college itself presents opportunities for training, education and a more stable economic future for their patients."
Money has also been dedicated to helping construct the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego trail, which will connect the two town centers. There will be $900,000, $300,000 of which will come from Salinas, allocated to SW Trails, the city of Portland's Bureau of Transportation, and the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department for this project.
"The trail will be forested along two-thirds of the route, pass a beautiful water cascade and traverse three parks — Tryon Creek State Park and Natural Area, Marshall Park, and Stephens Natural Area," the newsletter read. "This walking path will provide our community an alternative path to work, school, or elsewhere."
From 9-10 a.m. Saturday, June 12, people can register for a Zoom discussion with Salinas for more information about ARPA and the local impact the funds will have.
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