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Clackamas County approves 40 long-term rental assistance vouchers for future residents

Clackamas County this week approved a $3 million loan of voter-approved bond funds to fill a gap in construction funding for a 100-unit affordable housing development at the old Marylhurst University campus in Lake Oswego, additionally approving 40 long-term rental assistance vouchers to be funded by supportive housing tax receipts.COURTESY RENDERING: CARLTON HART ARCHITECTURE - The Marylhurst Commons development will be between three and four stories, featuring about 100 units that vary from one to three bedrooms.

Mercy Housing Northwest, a nonprofit dedicated to "redefining affordable, low-income housing," in February received updated construction cost estimates showing "unprecedented cost increases" for the multi-family development slated for groundbreaking at Marylhurst Commons this summer.

$3 million in funds from the $652.8 million Regional Affordable Housing Bond approved by voters in 2018 will now finance additional costs of construction materials, labor and expenses associated with implementing air conditioning in units, according to project officials.

The 40 newly-approved Regional Long Term Rent Assistance program vouchers, funded by the Supportive Housing Services tax measure approved by voters in 2020, will help subsidize on-site services for tenants for approximately seven years following the completion of the Marylhurst Commons building.

The development will be between three and four stories, featuring about 100 units that vary from one to three bedrooms. It will also feature an indoor community space for various adult and children's services — the latter of which will be offered year-round (including during school breaks and the summer). Most families at the development will earn between $55,000 and $60,000 per year, according to the project team.

The structure will include 40 permanent supportive housing units for families at or below 30% of the area median income level, supported by the rent-assistance vouchers. 60 units will be reserved for families earning at or 60% of area median income.

Mercy Housing, which owns and operates 54 affordable housing properties in Washington and Idaho, this past June received $4.25 million in funding for the project from the Oregon Housing and Community Service office.

Rounding out the list of public and private funding sources for the project are $17.7 million in equity from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a combined $12.8 million in loans, $1.5 million in Deferred Developer fees and $1.2 million from the Sisters of the Holy Names organization which owns the land where Marylhurst University was located until its permanent closure in 2018 due to declining enrollment numbers.

The university, which was founded in 1893 and known as the oldest Catholic university in Oregon, is located along Highway 43 near the border of West Linn featuring 14 existing buildings — five of which are historic landmarks and not subject to development. Three existing dormitories will be replaced for housing developments, schedule for completion in 2023.


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