MONDAY, AUG. 17, 2015 — Affordable housing and commercial developments will soon fill long-vacant lots along Northeast Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Mayor Charlie Hales and Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman announced today.
The projects are part of a collaborative effort to improve equity and access in underrepresented neighborhoods. The affordable housing development would be located at Northeast Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, between Ivy and Cook streets, and the commercial development, anchored by Natural Grocers, will be on the major thoroughfare, at Alberta Street.
Mayor Hales and Commissioner Saltzman — with partners Portland Development Commission, PCRI and Colas Construction, Inc. — at the press conference said the project will turn a vacant lot into a vibrant, 25,000-square-foot commercial center, anchored by a grocery store in an area with only one other grocery option. The complex will also have space for as many as 10 local and minority-owned businesses. Construction will begin this fall.
The affordable housing development is part of the City's initiative to create new affordable housing units in Northeast Portland, though an infusion of $20 million of URA funds. It will have ground-floor businesses and up to 70 housing units affordable for low-income families. The project prioritizes families at risk of displacement because of rising housing prices.
"Today we celebrate community development in an area that would otherwise just grow weeds," Mayor Hales said. "We've heard passionate concern in the community about safeguarding opportunity. Will we become the San Francisco of the Northwest? Will we keep Portland a place of opportunity for everyone? That weighs on my mind, and everyone's mind. So it's a good day when we have the chance to put in place a part of the solution.
"This is a great day, but we can't rest. Portland is going to continue to grow; we're a city that a lot of people want to live in. But we can grow the right way. Thank you, partners, for building the future of Portland."
WATCH Mayor Hales' remarks: