The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) is moving forward on its $20 million initiative to address displacement and gentrification in North/Northeast Portland. The Bureau has just released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the first development project to come out of the housing plan, accepted by City Council earlier this year.
The mixed-use development planned for NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd could provide up to 70 affordable family-size rental apartments, plus commercial space for community businesses.
As part of the City's initiative to address the impacts of gentrification on Portland's historically African American neighborhoods, PHB has taken a new approach to this solicitation. Rather than seeking project proposals, PHB will award the contract based on the development team.
"The community has been clear that affordable housing is important — but coupling affordability with opportunity is even more important," said Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who worked with Mayor Hales to bring forward the $20 million initiative last Spring. "Housing development brings job opportunities and economic development. We are dedicated to making sure this investment not only provides housing options, but also serves to build the long-term sercurity of the contractors, professionals, and businesses here in this community."
To that end, PHB will consider factors in their selection process such as a team's ties to the North/Northeast Portland community, their understanding of the specific barriers to housing access for area residents, a contracting and workforce training plan that draws from the surrounding community, and engagement of minority-owned and women-owned businesses, in addition to their capacity to finance and develop the site.
The deadline to apply is July 16. The selected team will collaborate with PHB on the final project to ensure alignment with the goals of the N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy, like addressing barriers to housing access, and ensuring that those at risk of displacement or who have already been displaced have the opportunity to live in the community.