Housing Bureau Proposes First Bond Purchase to Prevent Displacement
December 2, 2016 – Commissioner Saltzman and the Portland Housing Bureau will ask Portland City Council on Thursday to approve the acquisition of 263 units of privately owned rental housing to prevent displacement and add more affordable housing for low-income families. The proposed purchase of the Ellington Apartments would be the first acquisition using the Affordable Housing Bond approved by voters last month.
The Ellington Apartments consists of 263 garden-style/townhouse units on nearly 11 acres in Northeast Portland’s Madison South neighborhood. The property was being aggressively marketed toward higher-income clientele.
“Acquiring this property will help us meet two goals of the Affordable Housing Bond – preventing displacement and providing much-needed deeply affordable housing for Portland families,” stated Commissioner Saltzman who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “We are grateful to Portland voters for giving us this essential resource to help stabilize more Portland families.”
Ninety-five percent of the units are sized to accommodate families. “The Ellington has more family-sized housing and larger units than anything currently being offered or developed in the private market,” said Portland Housing Bureau Director Kurt Creager. “The number of two- and three-bedroom units gives us an uncommon opportunity to serve more than 250 families with children in a great location with transit options and nearby parks.”
The Welcome Home Coalition has expressed their support for the proposed purchase. “We are excited to see the City moving so quickly in the midst of the housing crisis and acting now to seize opportunities to preserve affordability,” said Welcome Home Coalition Director Jes Larson. “This is a great first step to take with our Bond resources and we look forward to working with our partners and the public to ensure that the final product is something that we can all be proud of. Our shared commitment to ensuring deep affordability and a community driven development process is something that will make this project, and all future projects, a resounding success.”
The property will be purchased for $47 million, including $37 million in bond funds. The Housing Bureau proposes to provide at least 80 units of housing for extremely low-income families at or below 30 percent of the Area Median Income (currently $22,050 for a family of four).