With housing costs going nowhere but up in the Portland metro area, a planned senior housing project in Tigard should help provide some relief for retirees in the coming years.
“Senior Housing Alongside the Senior Center” aims to provide somewhere between 50 and 60 new apartments for Tigard residents over 62 years of age by late 2023. It will be located, as the name suggests, on City-owned property next to the Tigard Senior Center off Southwest Omara Street.
“We believe the location is very attractive for affordable senior housing,” Sean Farrelly, the City of Tigard’s Redevelopment Project Manager, told the Tigard City Council at a Nov. 10 meeting. “It’s next to the senior center and across the street from the library and adjacent to the Fanno Creek Trail.”
At that meeting, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the City Manager to sign a Disposition and Development Agreement, including a Ground Lease, with Northwest Housing Alternatives, a local nonprofit developer of affordable housing. It was the latest step in a long process that began roughly 18 months ago when Northwest Housing Alternatives was chosen as developer.
The Disposition and Development Agreement includes a 99-year lease of the property under which Northwest Housing Alternatives will pay just $1 a year to use the land.
As well as being adjacent to the Tigard Senior Center, the new apartments will be less than a quarter mile from the Tigard Public Library, while TriMet’s Number 76 bus line is also nearby.
“It’s a really good site,” said Josh Carrillo, a Housing Developer with Northwest Housing Alternatives.
Portland firm Sera Architects leading the design work, which will continue at least until summer 2021. Construction is expected to begin around February 2022.
The final result will be a four-story apartment building that will feature an array of resident services. A Resident Services Manager will be on site 6 to 8 hours per week and will meet with residents and property management, collaborate with community providers and organize events. These events will include preventive health checks, information sessions and recreation and socialization opportunities.
“Customization of the plan must be based on other factors,” Carrillo said, “which includes location and availability of resources, needs of the specific population, and anticipated goals and outcomes of the resident population.”
Services from Oregon Project Independence, the Tigard Senior Center and Meals on Wheels will be among those, he added.
The project will be paid for with $6.27 million from Metro’s 2018 affordable housing bond, as well as 23 project-based vouchers from the Washington County Housing Authority. The vouchers will ensure that households receiving them will not have to pay more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.
The building also continues to evolve as design work progresses. This is most evident when it comes to parking. Early versions of the plan draw fire from Tigard residents concerned about losing what is already scarce parking for the Senior Center.
“We are stepping it down the hillside to make as much parking as possible and provide views of Fanno Creek,” said Dustin Ferdun, Northwest Housing Alternatives’ Director of Housing Development.
Carrillo said the design process has been heavily influenced by public input. The Tigard Senior Housing Advisory Committee, with members representing the Tigard Senior Center and Town Center Advisory Commission, and Councilor Tom Anderson, met five times from October 2019 through January 2020. Meanwhile, at least 15 community engagement events have been held, including virtual open houses, surveys and more.
“We had a lot of events,” Carrillo said. “And we’ll be trying to do some more in the upcoming year.”
Additional listening sessions are tentatively scheduled for early 2021, while the advisory committee is also set to meet again soon. The public will have further opportunity for input next summer when a land use application for the project is submitted to the City.
“This is a great project, the city leasing the property for 99 years is a no brainer,” Anderson said. “This is going to be here for many generations, and it’s a wonderful addition.”