Clackamas County to approve three Metro bond housing projects
Clackamas County is one step away from approving three new housing projects funded by Metro housing bond dollars should the Board of County Commissioners give the greenlight at their Thursday, July 16, meeting.
Commissioners heard Tuesday from county staff within the Housing Authority of Clackamas County (HACC) about the projects and discussed various aspects of how each contributes to the county's housing production and affordability goals for its share of the $658 million in Metro housing bonds approved by voters back in 2018.
Clackamas County received notice from Metro in January that 35% ($40.6 million) of the county's total allocation of $116 million is ready for project proposals from both for-profit and nonprofit developers within the Metro boundary. The county received five applications for projects in April and were vetted by HACC staff and approved three for county commissioners to consider.
The recommended projects total 413 new units, or 51% of the county's goal of 812 units. They include 292 units that are two-bedrooms or larger (72% of the target goal of 406 units) and 153 units reserved for households with incomes 30% average median income and below (47% of the target goal of 333 units).
Fuller Station, 9608 S.E. Fuller Road near the Clackamas Town Center, is a 100-unit project proposed by Geller, Silvis and Associates in the unincorporated area of urban Clackamas. The project will cost approximately $10 million and fulfill 8% of the county's housing bond goal.
The Maple Apartments will be located in Oregon City tucked off of Highway 213 and Beavercreek Road near the Walnut Grove neighborhood. It is a 171-unit project proposed by Community Development Partners & Hacienda Community Development Corp. It is estimated to cost $16 million and to fulfill 14% of the county's housing goal.
The final project in this first round of Metro bond projects is Good Shepherd Village at 12596 S.E. 162nd Ave., Happy Valley. The 142-unit project was proposed by Caritas Housing Corp. & Catholic Charities. It will cost an estimated $18 million and will fulfill 16% of the county's goal.
A separate redevelopment project of a property at 18000 Webster Road in Gladstone will cost $6.8 million. That will bring the county's total use of Metro bond dollars to $51 million and provide $65 million leftover for second-round projects and the redevelopment of HACC's Hillside Manor and Park property located near 32nd Avenue and Harrison Street in Milwaukie.
Commissioners generally were pleased by the report on the three projects and planned Webster Road redevelopment, but did share some concerns and asked questions of county staff.
Stephen McMurtrey, director of housing development, Devin Ellin, senior housing developer, and Jill Smith, director of housing, all pitched in to help the board better understand the three projects they are set to approve Thursday.
Commissioner Paul Savas asked whether there were any opportunities to find projects within the county west of the Willamette River in communities such as Lake Oswego, West Linn and Wilsonville. McMurtrey said that HACC is working to identify opportunities in those areas, but it's been tough so far.
"I've had some conversations throughout the history of the bond, and now that it's in place, with Lake Oswego and West Linn," McMurtrey said. "There were no sites that came forward at this time that were ready on the west side of the river. It's a high priority to continue to work with Metro and some of those jurisdictions on seeing if there are opportunities."
Commissioner Martha Schrader raised some concern over whether or not transportation planning had yet taken place around the three projects, particularly those aimed at providing below-average median income units, and how residents would be able to get to work if they're moving away from rural jobs in agriculture or away from urban centers where public transportation is readily available.
According to housing authority board member Rose Ojeda, nonprofits developers like Hacienda have pilot programs for optional transportation including some sort of shuttle service for agricultural workers. She expects they'll partner with the county to provide some sort of program like that for the Maple Apartments project they've proposed with Community Development Partners. Schrader said she was pleased to hear about those options, and asked for Ojeda to provide her more information.
Commissioners and Housing Authority Board members voted unanimously to approve the projects to be placed on the board of commissioners' Thursday, July 16, consent agenda for final approval. Commissioner Sonya Fischer abstained from the vote because she wanted to gain more information on the diversity of income levels within each project — a point that she believes was crucial to voters' understanding of how these projects would unfold in order to not create silos of just low-income housing units and cause de-facto segregation of Clackamas County's immigrant communities and communities of color.
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