At the end of 2021, Portland Community College (PCC) applied to the City of Portland for Early Assistance on a housing project located at 7705 SE Division Street. That process helps developers submit building permit applications that successfully meet City standards. The proposed development would construct approximately 100 affordable apartments within a single four-story building at a maximum height of 45′. Planners expect to provide around 30 surface parking spaces for the residents.
PCC acquired the property from the German American Society in May of 2010. Kaiser Permanente maintained a lease for the one-story building on the site until 2014. Midway through 2015, PCC began the process of demolishing the building and adding vehicle stalls to the existing parking lot. The area currently serves as auxiliary parking for the college and extended green space for the campus.
Last year, PCC staff worked to develop a twenty-year facilities plan for the educational institution’s properties. During that evaluation, PCC determined that portions of the school grounds should support low-income affordable housing. Instead of student-only dormitories, they opted to focus on attainable housing open to the public. From internal surveys of students, PCC staff learned that housing insecurity is a significant concern. They also observed that students often spread their education out over many years with inconsistent enrollment. Consequentially, PCC determined that tying housing programs to school affiliation would not help alleviate the housing insecurities among the student population. Instead, they feel creating more affordable housing inventory would provide better results.
Human Solutions and Bora Architects+Interiors are assisting PCC with early-stage planning. Efforts to design the building will begin next year. However, preliminary work masses the building towards SE Division Street with a green buffer zone along SE 77th Avenue. Designers are considering stepping down the building on SE Sherman Street to help blend in with the residential scale of that street. Apartments should range in size from studio units to three-bedroom family residences.
For the next twelve months, developers will continue to work with the community and design a housing project that serves residents, PCC, and the surrounding community. Final plans should materialize during the Summer of 2023, with construction following in Fall 2023. Interested community members should keep an eye out for future engagement opportunities.
Article cover image from Portland Maps