Affordable housing hopes to allow community to stay in NE Portland

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 5:31 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Three new affordable housing complexes in Portland are set to open soon as part of the Alberta Alive project. Two buildings will be on Northeast Alberta Street and the third is on North Interstate Avenue.

The Black community had a large, thriving population along Northeast Alberta Street in Portland for decades. But higher housing costs have driven many residents out in recent years, an issue that will hopefully be addressed by new housing construction.

Sahaan McKelvey from Self Enhancement Inc. helped with the design the buildings. He said they want people to be proud of them.

“We want to create spaces that a family not only will be proud to live in but can live in comfortably,” McKelvey said. “And not have to feel like ‘I settled.’”

Part of the design is to make sure there is space. All three-bedroom apartments all have two bathrooms. SEI also worked with building owner Community Development Partners on kitchen décor.

“When people show up, we want people to feel like, ‘Wow. This is better than I thought it was going to be,’” McKelvey said.

The goal is to create energy efficient and affordable housing for the Black community that has lived here for decades. The designers also worked with Energy Trust of Oregon to install features to use less energy and save money.

Sarah Schubert with Community Development Partners said it wants to be a good neighbor.

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“It was really important to us to build something here in this community that would be really responsive to this community and welcoming and affordable,” she said.

Kiara, who lives in the neighborhood, said she wants to see it be open to all kinds of people.

“I hope that the city or developers and different people are working hard to make it feel more equitable,” she said.

McKelvey says he wants to create more opportunities like this. He also wants to make sure they are places people are proud to live in.

“We want to be able to create the best opportunities for people that we can,” he said. “And do it with a level of excellence that people can be proud of.”

The two buildings on NE Alberta St. will be opening in October and the building on N. Interstate Ave. will open in Feb. 2024. Construction on a fourth building is expected to start next August.

One development will be open to any applicant who meets certain income criteria. Another will designated primarily for veterans. Information on applying for the apartments can be found on Alberta Alive’s website.