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Portland to build 240 low-income apartments by 2019

City plans to break ground on the project next year

Eileen Park and KOIN 6 News Staff - PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Portland City Council recently approved the largest affordable housing development the city has seen in decades -- creating hundreds more apartments for low-income families.

Two-hundred and forty apartments will soon be coming to the Lloyd District on Northeast Grand and Hassalo after city council approved the initial funding Wednesday. The apartments will be right across the street from Hotel Eastlund. The 12-story apartment building will consist of studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms.

The news comes at a critical time as Portland continues to face a housing crisis. The city said many families are being priced out, which is why every unit will be for low-income families.

However, before city council approved the funding, there was some tension during the meeting. Commissioner Nick Fish initially wanted some of the units to be dedicated to the formerly homeless, but ended up conceding.

"It was a happy day," Fish said. "I regret that the discussion about the need for more housing for the formerly homeless overshadowed the bigger take away. This is a heck of a down payment on affordable housing for citywide needs. Mayor deserves a lot of credit. I will insist that we set aside units for formerly homeless people and if we don't do that people will continue to live on the streets."

The city said 20 of the units will also be dedicated to victims of domestic violence.

The city selected Home Forward -- a housing authority that serves Multnomah County -- to own and develop the property.

Executive director of Home Forward Michael Buonocore said, "It's designed for folks who make 60% of area median income or less."

For example, if the building was open today, a couple earning a combined annual income of $35,000 or less would qualify for one of the units.

"It's both critically important and also a drop in a bucket," Buonocore said. "There's so much need and so much more we have to do."

While they're not going to take applications until it's nearly complete, the city expects to break ground next year and finish by the end of 2019.


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