The Clara Vista Townhomesin Northeast Portland's Cully neighborhood opened this month.
The $8 million project, which started out as 178 rental housing units, has been restructured and rehabilitated into 44 new rental townhomes and 133 rehabilitated rental housing units. The project developer is HaciendaCommunity Development Corp. Portland Development Commission and several other funding partners financed the project.
Organizedin1992, HaciendaCommunity Development Corp. became a response to the large underserved Latino population in a portion of the Cully neighborhood. Hacienda bought four separate properties — all built in the early 1960s — to form Villa de Clara Vista. By 2002, however, the project needed financial restructuring and rehabilitation to continue to serve its tenants. A variety of project partners worked together to restructure the project's debt and repair the units.
At least 54 percent of the tenants earn less than 30 percent median family income, which for a family of four is $20,350 per year as set by the federal government. The Housing Authority of Portland provides 44 project-based Section 8 certificates that can be applied to Villa de Clara Vista and Clara Vista Townhomes, ensuring that very low-income families can afford the rents.
Before the reconstruction, a 2004 survey found that Villa de Clara Vista was home to 528 residents, including 225 children. About 88 percent of the households had at least one working adult; most work in the service industry, including restaurants, fast food, hotel housekeeping, landscaping, manufacturing and janitorial work. Because most of the residents worked an average of 30 hours a week, they didn't receive medical benefits. More than 90 percent identified themselves as Hispanic or another minority.
Hacienda provides services that include after-school programs, homework clubs, English as a Second Language instruction, driver's education classes and financial services.
Clara Vista residents have immediate access to several Multnomah County programs offering primary and prenatal care through La Clinica de Buena Salud and Bienestar Familiar for food assistance, domestic violence counseling and early childhood parenting classes.
A monthly safety committee meeting with residents identifies strategies and resources to keep the neighborhood safe. With help from the mayor's office, the police bureau and the county, Hacienda will re-establish a community policing contact office at the Ortiz CommunityCenter. Hacienda has mobilized volunteers for graffiti removal and established a resident neighborhood watch group and increased lighting and signage on the site.
Free wireless Internet is available in all of the units at Villa de Clara Vista and Clara Vista Townhomes, as well as across all of Hacienda's properties along the Northeast Killingsworth Street corridor.
The Portland Water Bureau also is extending a water relief subsidy — typically available to single-family homeowners — to multi-family dwellings. Since last November, Hacienda's residents have received a monthly discount for their water and sewer bill that amounts to $22 a month per occupied unit. This is a significant savings for the majority of very low-income households at Clara Vista.
The project also features many "green" building and energy-efficient features. By building three-story units, the project reduced its "footprint" and was able to maximize landscaping, paths and play areas.
Theredevelopment required demolition of 45 units and construction of 44 units as three- and four-bedroom rental townhomes; another 133 units were rehabilitated as a mix of one-, to four-bedroom rental units.
Funding partners included: theEnterpriseSocial Investment Corp., Oregon Housing and Community Services,KeyBank, NetworkforOregon Affordable Housing, the EnterpriseFoundation's Green Building Funds, Enterprise Green Building Fund, OHCS Weatherization Funds,NWNatural, Portland'sOfficeof Sustainable Development, Energy Trust of Oregon, Housing Authority of Portland (Section 8 vouchers) and Hacienda's own resources (deferred developer fees).
General contractor on the projectwasSeabold Construction with architectural services provided by Carleton Hart Architecture.