Tigard's newest affordable housing complex, the six-story Viewfinder apartments, was officially dedicated Wednesday, June 29, at a ceremony featuring a plethora of notable dignitaries, including Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
The new 81-unit affordable housing facility is located at 11600 S.W. 72nd Ave. in the Tigard Triangle, an area of the city approved as an urban renewal area in 2017. That designation, together with changes to the city's development code, was intended in part to make it easier for developers to receive approval to build.
In addition to the governor, U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington attended the meeting, along with other local elected representatives and regional housing officials. Tigard Mayor Jason Snider remarked that it was the most senior elected officials he had ever seen gathered in the city.
Snider said while recent Tigard affordable housing projects in the city have included both the 48-unit Red Rock Creek Commons at 11090 S.W. 68th Parkway, and the 264-unit Fields Apartments at 7790 S.W. Hunziker St., the city is still in need of more than 4,600 units to keep up with demand.
"These numbers are daunting, but they can be overcome," he said, adding that the Viewfinder's 81 more units bring "81 more stories of people given the opportunity to live and work in our community."
Margaret Salazar, the regional administrator for the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, said the Viewfinder is one of 13 affordable housing developments planned for Washington County as part of the Metro's 2018 bond. That bond generated $652.8 million to finance affordable housing in Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties.
The Mary Ann, a 54-unit affordable housing building in downtown Beaverton, and the Viewfinder are the first Metro bond-supported projects to be completed in Washington County.
"The Viewfinder, as you heard, is part of the movement; is part of the push here in the state of Oregon, across the region and nationally, to boost the supply of affordable homes and to create more housing choices for our community members," said Salazar.
She said there are a shortage of affordable homes in the state and throughout the country, with as many as 1.5 million homes needed to meet the current U.S. demand.
Salazar said a recently released White House housing supply action plan will help fund some of the country's housing shortfalls in five years. That includes $50 billion earmarked for an affordable housing supply fund.
Andrea Bell, executive director for Oregon Housing and Community Services, praised the opening of the Viewfinder as well.
"This right here, this is about community. This is about collective community. This is about our commitment to community," said Bell, a Tigard resident.
What makes the complex special, she said, is it meets an immediate need and creates a generational impact for the variety of families who live there.
Nicole Wolfer, co-chair of the Good Neighbor Center's board of directors, said that the shelter is a step on the path to stable housing. The Tigard-based nonprofit, which provides temporary housing and other services for families at its Southwest Greenburg Road resource center, has an office at the Viewfinder, along with eight units to provide housing for client of the center. Another eight are set aside for veterans.
Wolfer praised the Viewfinder as a place renters can turn their lives around.
"We see it every day at our shelter: When families have opportunities, when they have community and when they have ownership, incredible transformation takes place," she said. "The Good Neighbor Center is providing support to all 81 units, plus extensive housing case management to 20 households who previously experienced homelessness."
Other dignitaries who spoke at the event included Komi Kalevor, executive director for the Housing Authority of Washington County, and Gerritt Rosenthal, a Metro councilor.
The Viewfinder came together through a partnership between Community Development Partners and the Housing Authority of Washington County along with support from Metro, the Oregon Housing and Community Services, the city of Tigard and other partners.
In terms of amenities, the Viewfinder includes community spaces for gathering, an indoor play area, laundry facilities on each floor, and a private courtyard.
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