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The new development in the Kenton neighborhood is a partnership between the region's housing authority, Home Forward, and the Urban League of Portland.

COURTESY: HOME FORWARD - A rendering shows the design of the Hattie Redmond Apartments as viewed from North Interstate Avenue in Portland. The region's housing authority and the Urban League of Portland are partnering on a new affordable housing project for people of color experiencing chronic homelessness.

Shovels hit the dirt at the future site of the Hattie Redmond Apartments, 7688 N. Interstate Ave., last month in Portland's Kenton neighborhood. The four-story, 34,000-square-foot project will offer 60 units of housing for a total cost of $23.4 million.

Nkenge Harmon Johnson, executive director of the Urban League, praised the development as a way to "create place, meaning and vibrant community for Black Portlanders."

"There's a real need for affordable housing here," added Home Forward director Michael Buonocore, "and a huge demand for housing that serves people of color who comprise a small percentage of the general population but disproportionately experience higher rates of homelessness."

Blueprints call for 60 studio-sized apartments, each featuring a bathroom, bedroom area and "linear kitchen" with a sink, range, refrigerator and microwave. They will be priced for the budget of a person making 30% of the area median income, which would be roughly $18,500 a year for a single person household.

SERA Architects said the L-shaped building was given a "biophilic" design replete with calming geometries, many windows, a brick veneer and a gable roof fitting for the adjacent single-family neighborhood. Building amenities include a rooftop terrace, outdoor patio, computer, conference, community and workout rooms, as well as laundry and bike facilities. Limited parking will be available for building staff, as residents are not expected to own cars.

Home Forward offered relocation assistance to residents of a pair of duplexes and a squat four-plex built in 1945, which must be demolished as the new building sprouts along the bustling Yellow Line MAX tracks.

Funding sources include $4.5 million in Metro bond funds, $9 million from the Oregon Housing and Community Services agency, $1 million in deferred development fees and $6 million from low income housing tax credit equity, per state documents.

Following the creation of Urban's League supportive housing program Project HAVEN in 2016, the Hattie Redmond will provide on-site case management services such as "trauma-informed, culturally specific and client-centered" care, according to a news release.

"Meeting resident needs is our overarching priority," Home Forward senior project manager Leslie Crehan said. "People who transition from homelessness need to feel safe and secure, and to have access to amenities that make their life easier."

Formerly known as the Baldwin project, the development is named for Harriet "Hattie" Redmond, a Black woman who became a champion of the state's Suffragist movement in the 1880s expanding the right to vote. She died at age 90 in 1952. COURTESY: HOME FORWARD - Sixty studio apartments are planned for a new affordable housing project in the Kenton neighborhood.

Zane Sparling
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