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The Molalla complex grows from 30 to 47 affordable, new and renovated apartments

On May 23, Catholic Charities of Oregon and Caritas Housing Initiatives dedicated the opening of Molalla Gardens Apartments, formerly Rondel Court, on Fenton Avenue. The complex is one of three affordable housing units in Molalla and throughout Clackamas County. The apartments rent at or below 60 percent of area's median income.

The new complex offers 47 new and renovated affordable apartments, instead of the 30 previously. Catholic Charities has owned the property for 12 to 15 years, but it needed substantial improvements. It was about 35 years old, as was everything in it. Before beginning the project, they determined there was also more capacity available, Trell Anderson told the Pioneer. He is the director of housing and community development for Catholic Charities of Oregon.

So they decided to upgrade and started by knocking down one of the complex's buildings allowing a larger footprint and constructing 27 new units, he said. At the same time they also added a new community room, children's play structure and gardens for residents to use. Additionally, they demoed 20 of the old apartments down to the studs making them brand new with energy saving windows and appliances and new kitchens and baths.

The new apartments are currently full, and there's a waiting list. Once someone moves out, a new renter claims it within 24 hours, according to Julie Harris, property manager . The complex offers 10 one bedroom/one bath homes at an average of 725 square feet; 12 two bedroom/one bath apartments at 850 square feet and 8 three bed/one bath at 985 square feet. Each tenant gets one parking space and there are centralized laundry facilities.

Prices range from $450 to $750 for one bedrooms, which is 60 percent of the median family income, $550 to 565 for two bedrooms and $635 to $650 for three bedrooms, both are 40 percent of median family income. Tenants are required to meet financial limitations. Currently there are about 85 people living in the complex along with 23 assistance animals. Pets are not accepted.

Besides Harris, Devera Hurtado is the residence services coordinator. Her work is similar to a concierge. She's there to help residents with a number of services to things like energy, rental and medical assistance. She also provides events such as game lunches and other methods for residents to socialize and get to know their neighbors.

A couple of residents talked about how much they liked living there. "It's quiet and I get along with almost everyone," said one resident. "It's my second year here and the apartments are brand new, it's a nice area too."

The total project bill was $11.3 million and financiers included Clackamas County Department of Housing and Community Development, HUD, Oregon Housing and Community Services, tax credit investments from US Bank, Network for Oregon Affordable Housing and the City of Molalla System Develop Fees for going to street maintenance.

"We are thrilled to bring home—and dignity—to our neighbors. We are incredibly thankful to all partners who helped us make this possible," said Anderson.

They already have affordable complexes in Sandy and Canby and hope to do others in Clackamas County, according to Anderson.

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