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Affordable-housing project begins

New development expected to provide relief to 150 tenants -


OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Portland Habilitation Center Northwest board members break ground at the group's new affordable housing project in East Portland. The open field of dirt at Southeast 146th Avenue and East Burnside is still a little soggy from the early morning dew. In a year the site will be unrecognizable, home to the latest affordable housing development in Multnomah County.

Ground was broken on the Portland Habilitation Center Northwest (PHC) facility on Friday morning, Sept. 30, beginning construction on a project expected to provide homes for more than 150 tenants. It is the center’s largest effort to date.

“This groundbreaking is something we are really excited about,” said Alysa Rose, president and chief executive officer of PHC. “Our mission is to help people overcome barriers.”

The housing complex, to be called Vine Maple, comes at an opportune time, as a lack of viable affordable housing is increasingly common in Multnomah County. The development will offer 154 new apartments, including two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio units. They will have features including quartz countertops and Energy Star-certified appliances, considered better for saving energy.

The complex also will have a community center, mini-soccer field and playground.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - PHC Northwest board members converse after a groundbreaking ceremony at the group's latest affordable housing project in East Portland, a collaboration with the Reynolds School District. “We have been working alongside Reynolds School District to find people within the community to fill the units,” Rose said.

Silco Commercial Construction, Inc. and Wells Fargo have both partnered with PHC to help everything come together.

“We are all thrilled to be a part of this project,” said Karen Vineyard, regional vice president of Wells Fargo. “We all live and work in this community, so this is very important to us.”

This is PHC’s fifth affordable housing project in collaboration with Home First Development. The complex will open in the fall of 2017. The total cost of the project is expected to be $13.1 million, which would make the average cost less than $85,000 per door.

Three years ago PHC leadership made a commitment to bring 500 units of affordable, quality housing to East Portland. This project helps bring them closer to achieving that goal, as do two more buildings coming to the region in the near future.

PHC initially began investing in housing in 1999 to provide affordable homes for its employees. The addition of the new complex will bring the total number of Portland- and The Dalles-area units to 778.