New affordable housing community opens in Gresham

A new community in the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham had its grand opening Tuesday morning.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 12:13 PM PDT
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GRESHAM, Ore. (KPTV) - A new community in the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham had its grand opening Tuesday morning.

Rockwood Village, located at 783 Southeast 185th Avenue, features new apartments, with the option of one to four bedrooms. The community features acres of greenspaces, plenty of outdoor space, sidewalks, patios, place for kids to play, and more. There’s also a community center for both adults and kids.

Tuesday was the official opening, but 600 families and individuals already live in the community. There is room for 150 more people.

Melanie Navarett, with her therapy dog Roxy, was on the waiting list before moving in a few months ago. FOX 12 asked her what she liked about her new community.

“It’s kind of a melting pot. We have people from all over the world - from Africa, from Ukraine, Mexico,” Navarett said. “So some of the visiting communication is a little rough sometimes because we don’t all speak the same languages, but the people all seem nice.”

Hoping to create positive change in Rockwood, an area that is seeing a rise in crime and violence, two affordable housing organizations combined forces to make the new community housing. Money came from a housing bond approved by metro area voters.

“One simple goal, you know, create the safest space for families to live and a great community,” said Ernesto Fonseca, CEO of Hacienda Community Development Corporation.

“Really focusing on what the community needs. From the larger community then down to individual residents. I think that’s all reflected in the design, but creating a private place and a sense of place, and the beauty being a part of that recipe is really important,” said Eric Paine, Founder and CEO of Community Development Partners.

There are a total of 224 apartments, all for low-income Oregonians, mainly working families, couples or single adults eligible to live there because they don’t earn enough to pay the going rental rates in the Portland area.

Rockwood Village is more than a place to live. It provides help for families, children and adults.

“One of our themes is, housing is not enough. Housing for the sake of housing is just warehousing,” said Fonseca. “So we want to see families move on from these locations. We want to provide a pathway for us to do that.”

For adults, there are classes in home ownership, mortgages and starting small businesses. For children, there’s early childhood and after school education, and summer programs. For both individuals and families, there are garden plots so they can grow their own food.

State housing advocates say Oregon needs more than 100,000 more affordable housing units. Rockwood Village makes just a small dent in that.