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Habitat for Humanity is building nearly 50 homes split across two communities, Alder Commons and Foster Townhomes, in the Portland area.

COURTESY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY - New townhomes will be built off Southeast Foster Road in Portland's Pleasant Valley neighborhood. According to a local nonprofit, a pledge of permanently affordable homeownership will provide stability for 200 people in Portland and Hillsboro.

Habitat for Humanity's Portland region chapter has begun pouring the foundations for a combined 48 homes in two locations; Portland's Pleasant Valley neighborhood and Southeast Hillsboro.

"The only way we're able to sell homes at a deep discount is because of community support," said Portland region CEO Steve Messinetti. "We are going to sell these homes so that they're affordable to households with income as low as $30,000 a year."

Amidst the ongoing housing crunch, the nonprofit's big goal is to triple its impact. It will serve as many as 500 people annually by building affordable three- and four-bedroom homes. It's a challenge in the tightly hemmed metro area, where most of Habitat's new projects require winning the bid for land that's available to any developer.

People of color make up more than 80% of those who purchase the homes, which are usually appraised in the $350,000 range but are sold for about $150,000 and structured so that new residents pay no more than a third of their income on mortgage payments.

Messinetti notes that both projects have finished their site work — prepping the soil for construction — with roads, sidewalks and underground utilities completed.

Aplications for the Foster homes will open later this year. More information about the qualifications for the homeownership program can be found on Habitat for Humanity Portland Region's website.

COURTESY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY  - The design for two townhouse style buildings to be built in Hillsboro are shown here.

Alder Commons

Eight families will occupy the Hillsboro project. The residences include two townhome style buildings, a five-plex and a three-plex, with each unit offering three or four bedrooms. The families will have their own single-car garage, separate entrance and two floors of living space.

This half-acre site is located at Southeast Larch Court at 13th Avenue near TV Highway, just a short jog from the MAX Blue Line, Shute Park and the Hillsboro Aquatic & Rec Center. Construction should wrap up in about a year.

"A good location at a good price," said Messinetti.

COURTESY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY - A rendering shows the design of several buildings planned for the Foster Townhomes project in Portland.

Foster Townhomes

Located at 13445 S.E. Foster Road near 136th Avenue, the project promises an expansive construction. These will include 40 units, 49 parking stalls and 10,000 square feet of outdoor common space, including a nature play area, on a two-acre lot.

The mix includes four five-bedroom units, 12 units with four bedrooms, 18 with three bedrooms, as well as another six units built for people with disabilities featuring two or three bedrooms.

Habitat for Humanity picked up the vacant lot at fire sale prices after another developer was foreclosed upon during the Great Recession.

"We did a very significant fundraising campaign, knowing that land was so cheap and eventually (the price) would go back up," said Messinetti. "We realized almost a 10-year supply (for housing. Now we're buying land and competing with the rest of the market."

A first phase of homes will be ready for residents in roughly a year, with a second phase planned six months after that.


Zane Sparling
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