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Portland Housing Bureau

Solving the unmet housing needs of the people of Portland.

Phone: 503-823-2375

fax: 503-823-2387

421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204

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Frequently Asked Questions

Affordable Housing in South Waterfront


What is the plan for the building, and who will be living there?

This development will be a five-story wood frame structure over a concrete first floor (5-over-1) with 245,000 sf. There will be 209 affordable apartments: 56 studios; 123 one-bedroom; and 30 two-bedroom units over approximately 20,000 sf ground-floor commercial space. In addition, there are 116 underground & 50 at-grade parking spaces. Cost per apartment is $208,000.

All apartments will be affordable to households earning 50% of median income or less ($25,000 for a single person household). Forty-two (42) of the apartments are reserved for very low-income households, with a priority for veterans. Rents will be affordable to households earning less than 30% MFI ($14,700).


What is the program for the very low income units?

The City requested that the Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) allocate project-based HUD Section 8 rent assistance to the 42 units targeted to veterans under HAP’s Moving-to-Work program. Support services will be provided to veterans by the Veterans Administration. There will be two offices in the common area of the building for use by VA staff.


Who is developing the project?

PHB has selected the well-respected, Portland-based, nonprofit, REACH Community Development Corp, Inc. (REACH), to develop and own the project. PHB is approaching the Portland City Council to authorize the development agreement at the council session scheduled for December 15, 2010.


How was REACH CDC chosen as the developer?

An open, competitive “Request for Qualifications” process was used by the City to select REACH. The process involved a diverse, seven-member, stakeholder advisory committee (SAC) that considered proposals. The strength of REACH’s proposal – coupled with its proven track record in providing supportive affordable housing – set its proposal apart from the rest. In addition, the SAC appreciated that REACH’s proposal to move its administrative offices to the South Waterfront would benefit the project, and the district. REACH will be purchasing its office space for $1.79 million. This money supports the development of the project.

What is the role of Williams and Dame?

North Macadam Investors (doing business as Williams and Dame Development “WDD”), Ankrom Moisan Architects and Walsh Construction have been working on the site for almost five years, and will continue in their respective roles as development consultant, architect and contractor. Each of the entities will contract with REACH.

WDD was designated as the developer of the site under earlier agreements including the South Waterfront Project Development Agreement. However, WDD and the city agreed that a nonprofit would be a preferable owner/developer given the affordable housing goals for the site.

Is PDC managing the project, or the new Housing Bureau?

In July 2010, the City and PDC signed an Intergovernmental Agreement shifting responsibility for the City’s housing activities to PHB including responsibility for this site. PDC and PHB are cooperating around all URA issues, including implementation of this project.

 How will the project be financed?

The project will utilize bond financing and tax credit equity, as well as tax increment funds from the North Macadam URA.

How much TIF will be used?

The total TIF investment- over many years- is just under $30 million. Past expenditures by the city include the purchase of the land by PDC for $5 million dollars and a predevelopment loan to design and permit the project (just under $2million). New TIF funding of $23 million is being authorized today. ($23M + $2M + $5M = $30)

Will this project always be off the tax rolls?

As affordable housing controlled by a not-for-profit corporation, the residential portion of the building will not be taxed. It is expected that the commercial spaces will be subject to property taxes unless the uses otherwise qualify it for exemption.

What are the TIF set-aside income guideline goals?

The following TIF set-aside income guidelines apply to the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area (NMURA).


Proposed Income Guidelines: Resource allocations will meet the following criteria: Income/Spending Category

(MFI/housing type)

Proposed Income Guidelines

Estimated Unit Potential

FY06/07 – FY11/121

0-30% MFI Rental Housing

50% - 70%


NMURA - 135-190 units

31-60% MFI Rental & 0-60% Homeownership3

20% - 40%

NMURA - 85-175 units

61-80% (100%2) Homeownership

0% - 20%

NMURA - 0-65 units

Low Income Community Facilities4

0% - 10%

Not applicable


Will this project meet the income guidelines of the set-aside?  

The project will be the first affordable rental housing in the district. TIF set-aside goals require 39% of the TIF available for projects in the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area to be spent on affordable housing projects. All of the 209 units in the project are affordable (up to 50% MFI) thus bringing the North Macadam URA expenditures in alignment with the TIF set-aside policy.

How does the project meet North Macadam URA Housing policies?  

The North Macadam Housing Development Strategy and the Central District Development Plan are the key documents that outline quality, production, and income goals for housing in the North Macadam URA. This project meets many of the housing goals outlined in these strategies by creating a mixed income mixed use housing project near major employers and transportation.

Will there be opportunities to share parking w/nearby business?

Nearby businesses will share parking with REACH and the other retail/commercial users. Other business could use spaces during the night and on weekends, and REACH/other commercial users will have the spaces available in the daytime.

 Is there too much parking?

The development has one parking space for every two apartments which is typical for mixed-income, affordable housing and low for conventional apartment projects and reflects proximity to the streetcar. Moreover, 50 spaces will shared by the commercial users and OSF, the adjacent business.

Is the project green? Why is it only LEED Silver instead of gold/platinum?

The project is fully designed and permitted to achieve LEED Silver and exceeds the city’s “greening of affordable housing” guidelines. The building is ready for construction and has many green features including rainwater harvesting and a green wall/green roof over exposed areas of the concrete podium.  Achieving a higher level would have required additional public subsidy – that is not available. 

What businesses will be on the ground floor?

REACH is relocating its administrative offices into the building, and will occupy almost 12,500 sf. This is a bonus for the project and for the district. There are many small businesses in the area that will welcome these guaranteed new customers.

In addition, TriMet will have a small office / breakroom for its drivers at the Streetcar stop. The retail space closest to the streetcar stop (~4,500 sf) will be leased.