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By Helen Silvis of The Skanner News
Published: 12 July 2011

First-time homebuyers don't expect to find a home with a green roof, a solar-powered water heater and energy efficient appliances already installed. But that's precisely what's on offer in Portland at the new Killingsworth Station development at North Killingsworth and Interstate Avenue.

Even better, the homes include financing help for first-time low-income buyers.

If a buyer makes less than $45,600 and they are a first-time buyer or haven't bought a home in the last three years, a Portland Housing Bureau will loan the buyer $25,000 to cover the down payment, according to city officials.

The zero-interest loans are also forgivable: 25 percent is forgiven if you stay in the home for 10 years, and the entire loan is forgiven after 15 years. In addition, property taxes on the homes are abated for 10 years, so they will be fixed at $350 a year.

With one or two bedrooms, the development will probably appeal to young single professionals and couples, said Cheryl Roberts, executive director of the African American Alliance for Homeownership.

"They will be a great investment because that area is still being revitalized," Roberts told The Skanner News. "There are definitely benefits to living in that area near Mississippi and near employers such as Adidas, Kaiser and PCCs Cascade campus. There's a lot going on."

Roberts said AAAH has similar loans available up to $30,000, for first-time homebuyers. She encourages anyone interested in buying a home in any part of the city to contact her for more information. And anyone across the country can find out about benefits available to first-time homebuyers on a new website FirstHomeAdvisor.com

Prices for the one-bedroom homes start at $160,000, with three of the two-bedroom homes priced from $275,000. They are expected to be available from mid-August, with reservations open now.

Developed by local real estate investor Jim Winkler, the 57 homes on offer are about as green and energy efficient as you'll find anywhere, and they have the LEED Platinum certification to prove it. The project also includes 9,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.

"We believe many homeowners want to be urban pioneers," Winkler said. "We're committed to building a healthy, sustainable community where people can live, work and recreate with minimal environmental impact.

"Killingsworth Station offers solar-thermal hot water, energy efficient appliances, green roofs, on-site storm water management, responsibly sourced bamboo hardwood floors, sound-treated windows, bike racks on every floor, and light rail and bus service right outside your door. There will even be a Zip Car across the street and an electric car battery station available for those who might need the use of a vehicle."

For more information about the project visit KillingsworthStation.com

Contact the African American Alliance for Homeownership at 503-595-3517 or by email at [email protected]

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