This week, Portland Housing Bureau staff selected the development team for a low-income housing project at NE 74th Ave and Glisan Street. The winning proposal will transform the 1.65-acre property at 432 NE 74th Ave into a pair of multistory apartment buildings. Despite the current tenant’s efforts to secure a place in the new development, City staff did not select a proposal that included that group.
On October 12th, Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) released a progress update for nine Housing Bond funded projects. In 2018 voters approved a 652.8 million affordable housing bond to address the housing crises in the Portland Metro area. The Glisan Street project will receive $19.9 million of that funding, representing one-third of the overall project cost. The housing complex will consist of two buildings, one with 41 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and the other providing 96 units of family housing.
Three experienced low-income housing groups are joining forces to sponsor this development. Related Northwest is the primary sponsor for the project, while the two other groups will provide assistance for residents when construction completes. Catholic Charities will provide case management and services to PSH tenants. Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) will provide resident services at the family housing property.
The PHB project website provides new details regarding attributes planned for the development. Amenities at NE 74th and Glisan include a community room with kitchen, laundry room, playground, picnic area, community garden, bike parking, onsite parking, and a multicultural preschool. The project team is also partnering with Mercy Corps NW to promote small business classes and offer two retail incubator spaces and a café in the ground-floor commercial space. Now that this proposal is secured, project designers will craft the final plans for the site ahead of the building permit submittal.
African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) currently leases space in the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) studio now owned by Metro. The nonprofit serves East African immigrant and refugee youth. Within a few years, crews will demolish the facility to make way for the 137 new affordable homes coming to this site. AYCO Executive Director Jamal Dar lead an effort to stay at this location, working with REACH Community Development, Sera Architects, Colas Construction, Community Vision, and El Programa Hispano on an alternate plan for the site. In a statement from AYCO, the organizations expressed disappointment in the decision and say they are facing displacement from the community it serves.
In a prepared statement regarding AYCO, Metro representatives expressed appreciation for the early partnership between the two organizations. “They have been a wonderful partner in our early phase community engagement for the new affordable housing to be built on this site, helping us to reach and engage with immigrants, people of color, people with low incomes, and people with limited English proficiency.” However, that early cooperative work and preexisting lease did not guarantee that the AYCO would secure a space in the new project. “Metro has been clear with AYCO, throughout the process of temporary leasing and community engagement, that the project/developer selection process would be a competitive one. We understand they have hoped and worked hard toward being able to build their Dream Center as part of the development of this site. Unfortunately, the proposal they were a part of was not selected.”
The Portland Housing Bureau received five proposals, each comprised of different developers and community support organizations. Jamal Dar and his team have over a year to secure a new home for the nonprofit. Ideally, they will find space in the area, near the community they have served for years. Metro looks forward to possible collaborations with AYCO in the future and will celebrate with them once their Dream Center comes to fruition.
The subsequent phases of development at the site will center around creating construction plans and securing building permits. Until demolition begins, AYCO will continue to operate out of the old broadcast facility. Changes at the site are over a year away, but the affordable housing these new apartments will provide could not arrive soon enough. Keep an eye on the PHB website for updates on the project and expect the site to house residents by the Summer of 2024.