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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Three community-based organizations to receive consulting services to help build affordable housing on their land

Metro/Bureau of Planning and Sustainability grants include funding for design and financial consultants, which will help recipients use their land to build affordable housing.

Last year, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability began working with community-based organizations who want to use their surplus land to provide affordable housing for those in need. With a grant from Metro, BPS began to identify opportunities for affordable housing on land owned by faith communities.

The grant includes funding for design and financial consultants to work with three organizations. Thirteen applicant organizations with a vision to develop affordable housing on their properties submitted proposals. Although all the applicants are worthy of the financial and technical assistance, the selection committee could only choose three:

  1. Bethel AME Community Development Corporation
  2. Muslim Community Center of Portland
  3. Trinity Lutheran Church

The three organizations that were selected best met the selection criteria, which included:

  • Diversity of communities served
  • Organizational structure and capacity
  • Vulnerability score for location (where residents were most at risk of displacement)
  • Opportunity score (proximity and access to public services)
  • Suitability as a case study
  • Diversity of location
  • Zoning

Over the next few months, the recipients will meet with staff of the design and finance firms, Carleton-Hart Architects and the Nielson Group, to develop preliminary concepts based on their individual vision for the project.

The bureau’s project manager, Nan Stark, will work with the organizations and consultants to create a guide for other organizations who want to pursue developing affordable housing on their land.

As the grant work progresses, BPS will also be proposing changes to the Zoning Code that may help to reduce barriers to development of affordable housing. With these multiple approaches, the Bureau and its community partners hope to create more pathways to the development of affordable housing for individuals and families.

Calling all faith organizations! Seeking proposals for affordable housing on your surplus property

A pilot program to explore opportunities for churches, synagogues and other faith communities to develop affordable units on their property is seeking proposals by January 22, 2019.

Faith communities play a role in providing affordable and safe housing for many Portlanders. As part of the City of Portland’s effort to address the housing crisis, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is launching a pilot program to explore opportunities for faith communities, such as churches and synagogues, to develop new affordable housing units on their properties. The program will also uncover and address barriers to developing affordable housing on faith-owned property. 

The City is requesting proposals from faith communities to explore development opportunities for affordable housing constructed on their properties. Up to five proposals will be selected for a pilot program under this program. Organizations from the selected proposals will receive one-on-one assistance from architects and development consultants to determine:

  • The types of housing development that can fit on the site.
  • What might be financially feasible.
  • City policies or regulations that would need to be addressed.
  • A roadmap for the faith organization to develop the housing.

Pilot program services could include:

  • Concept development
  • Conceptual building designs
  • Conceptual site plan
  • Financial analysis (development pro forma)
  • Financing options
  • Conceptual project timeline and steps in development process

The pilot program services will be provided free of charge through a grant from Metro regional government and managed by BPS. Selected faith organizations will be required to devote time to work with the design and development teams but do not have to fund the pre-development services. Please note this program is currently only considering proposals for permanent and long-term affordable housing. Proposals for pods and temporary shelters will not be considered.


We are seeking a variety of projects, so we encourage all faith communities that are taking steps toward development of an affordable housing project — whether in the very beginning stages or further along — to apply.

Applications are due by Monday, February 4, 2019.
Complete the online application.

To be considered for the design and development services, please fill out the online application form. All applications will be evaluated against several criteria, including location, land availability, project size, development type, land use zoning, diversity of faith communities, organizational capacity and readiness.

Next steps

Pilot study selection will be made by mid-February. The pre-development studies must be undertaken in Spring 2019.

Questions / contact

To learn more about your property, including zoning, permits, and assessments, go to

Have questions, need help or a hard copy of the application? Contact Project Manager Nan Stark at 503-823-3986 or