Beginning this month, planners for the Portland Development Commission-backed Killingsworth Station project will be soliciting public opinion about a proposed four story condominium and retail building.
Winkler Development and the PDC will hold the first of several neighborhood outreach meetings at 6:30 p.m. on Jan.10 at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center.
Jim Winkler, of Winkler Development, said the meeting will inform those affected and take public comment on the proposed transit-oriented project on the northeast corner of Interstate Avenue and Killingsworth Street. The building will house about 50 condominium units and 9,000 square feet of retail space, although Winkler said final designs won't be drawn until after public comment has been taken.
"Neighborhoods are created at the street level," Winkler said. He enouraged not only comment, but involvement from the local small business community.
Planning is also under way for a rental housing development on TriMet-owned property next door to the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. REACH Community Development and the PDC are designing and seeking additional funding sources for the Crown Motel Redevelopment Project, said Lean Greenwood, PDC project manager. The project will provide about 50 affordable rental units and an undetermined amount of retail space once it is complete.
John Warner, PDC project manager for Killingsworth Station, said the commission is providing about $1 million to what is estimated to be a $14 million project. About half of the condominiums for sale will be reserved for families at 80 to 100 percent of the median family income. In 2006, 100 percent of the median income means a family of four would have earned $66,900 in the Portland area. A two-person family would have earned $53,500 to be at 100 percent.
Warner anticipates the final project design should be ready in about six months. In order to reach a final design, he said Winkler Development will have to balance the needs of the community with the expectations of his financial backers. It is uncertain how much or which public comments will translate to project changes, he added, since Winkler, after all, is taking the investment risk.
"He needs to balance a project that can sell … and a project that is compatible with the neighborhood," Warner said.
For the Crown site, the PDC is expected to provide about $4 million. Greenwood said financial subsidies are required in order to make affordable housing affordable. The project was set back when a funding source from the state did not materialize, said Michelle Haynes, housing development manager for REACH.
The primary goal of the rental properties will be to stave off the forced flight of long-time, low-income residents if rental and home prices increase due to the PDC's area revitalization goals. The PDC is involved in a long-term plan for revitalization in the "Interstate Corridor," an area with jagged boundaries stretching from the beginning of Interstate Avenue on the south to the northern edge of Hayden Island to the western edge of St. Johns.
Admittedly, Greenwood said the 50 rental units, which will be a majority of two- and three-bedroom units, won't solve the problem of resident displacement, but it's a start. The New Columbia development has made a dent in the number of available affordable housing units, and the PDC has been preserving existing rentals through renovation, as well as assisting families with affordable home ownership in the area, Greenwood said.
Haynes said response to the rental project was positive; while residents were eager to see the '50s-era motel turned into something more useful, they also wanted to preserve the iconic neon sign. Haynes said she is leaving it up to the architect to come up with a creative solution.
Appealing to a different demographic, Winkler said many of the Killingsworth Station units will be marketed to couples or single individuals without children. He anticipates the majority of the units will be one- or two-bedroom, appealing to many young couples interested in urban living who are first-time homebuyers.
Another goal of the project, only loosely related to affordable urban living, is to be environmentally friendly. Sitting as close to a public transit center as possible, Winkler said the building should be the perfect example of green living. By encouraging the use of mass transit, using sustainable and environmentally friendly building practices and materials, as well as providing parking for car-share vehicles, Winkler hopes to reduce the carbon footprint left by the future residents of Killingsworth Station. One of the purposes of the urban living project, he said, is to change the relationship people have with their automobiles.
"It's all about urban living," he said. "The whole purpose is to break the linkage we have to our cars."
In keeping with these environmentally sound ideals, Winkler hopes to make the project compatible with LEED green building standards. The LEED rating system measures buildings by awarding credits. A LEED certified building meets certain standards including lower operating costs, reduced waste, use of less energy and water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to the Jan. 10 meeting, project developers will attend the Overlook Neighborhood Association meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 20, at Kaiser Town Hall, 3704 N. Interstate Ave. A meeting concerning the Crown Motel Redevelopment will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center.
Construction on the Killingworth Station project should begin in late 2007 or early 2008. If financing is secured, the Crown project could begin at the same time.