REACH CDC to Give Update on Kenton Project [Updated]

UPDATE: REACH CDC has informed the KNA that they have a budget shortfall of 5.9 million dollars. The N/NE Oversight Committee with the Portland Housing Bureau has recommended the city, which has already provided 10 million, fill this budget gap. The conversation is continuing between the city and REACH CDC on that possibility, so it’s currently unknown if that will happen or not. The project would break ground in early 2019 with funding. If the funding can’t be obtained, REACH CDC intends to build the project in phases.

The KNA Board has voted in opposition to having REACH CDC build the project in phases over concerns of when REACH CDC could actually finish the development and of when the justification for easing requirements for the project under the housing crisis loses merit as the development timeline moves further into the future.

As previously announced at last month’s general meeting, REACH CDC was not awarded anticipated state funding needed to proceed with their planned development of TriMet’s property at 2133 N Argyle St across from Nelson Plaza. Seeing that the project was in limbo, the KNA had REACH CDC postpone attending last month’s meeting until they had a better sense of the status of the project.

The KNA, as of this week, has confirmed that REACH CDC has news to share and will be attending the KNA Board meeting next Wednesday on July 11th, 7pm, at the Historic Kenton Firehouse (8105 N Brandon Ave).

While the KNA doesn’t know exactly what REACH CDC intends to share next week, the KNA is aware that REACH CDC was trying to look for additional funding from the Portland Housing Bureau and/or approval to build the project in phases.

Prior to this recent loss of funding, REACH CDC had to nix any commercial space from the development, which TriMet approved due to the city’s current housing emergency, via an affording housing exemption to Oregon’s prevailing wage law to cut costs, and while working with the KNA to attempt to find monies to fill that gap to pay prevailing wages and restore the commercial space, REACH CDC was unsuccessful in securing any additional funds.

Neighbors are encouraged to attend next week’s meeting to hear directly from REACH CDC on their plans for the project.

Previous coverage:

REACH CDC Kenton Project Update for March

REACH CDC’s Kenton Housing Development No Longer Mixed-Use

Neighbors Voice Concern about REACH CDC’s Development

Updates on REACH CDC’s Project at 2133 N Argyle St

REACH CDC Kenton Project Update for March

Although we had a positive meeting with Prosper Portland and REACH CDC last month and appreciate everyone’s willingness to engage with us, we weren’t able to establish much for a viable option to restore the commercial space to the development of TriMet’s property at 2133 N Argyle.

We had hoped Prosper Portland could help reduce the funding gap, but REACH CDC would have be able to pay prevailing wages first before Prosper Portland could add any support—a chicken-before-the-egg situation.

Ultimately, the decision was made to petition the TriMet Board to assist with finding a solution like maybe doing a land lease over selling the property to REACH CDC. So far, those efforts haven’t warranted a response.

REACH CDC is continuing to move forward with the project without commercial and is preparing to submit their land use application to the city.  They are still awaiting some funding awards tied to the housing component, so it’s not completely a go yet. The KNA is looking at having them attend our May meeting.

As for action items, neighbors can contact the TriMet Board directly to support the position of the KNA Board. I was also looking at the next meeting of the N/NE Oversight Committee as another action item, but REACH CDC didn’t end up being on agenda for this month.

If you have any questions, concerns, etc., please contact us.

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

Previous coverage:

REACH CDC’s Kenton Housing Development No Longer Mixed-Use

Neighbors Voice Concern about REACH CDC’s Development

Updates on REACH CDC’s Project at 2133 N Argyle St

REACH CDC’s Kenton Housing Development No Longer Mixed-Use

Following up on their presentation at last year’s KNA General Meeting in June, REACH CDC has announced two significant changes to the planned development of TriMet’s property at 2133 N Argyle St across from Nelson Plaza: Converting the project into 100% affordable housing, removing a mixed-income component, and eliminating any commercial space, scraping a mixed-use element.

The project is facing a multi-million dollar funding gap, and these modifications allow for an exemption to Oregon’s prevailing wage law required for projects that receive considerable public funding. However, while allowing REACH CDC to reduce labor costs to stay within their budgetary restrictions, these changes represent a vast departure from the original guidelines for the project.

In TriMet’s Request for Statement of Qualifications (RFQ) for the project that REACH CDC was awarded, TriMet noted that they sought “a development team to provide mixed-use building(s) with both market rate and affordable housing, and a ground-floor retail presence to create an active street frontage.”

While TriMet offered flexibility in the mixed-income aspect by only requiring that at least 25 percent of the units be affordable, TriMet was very clear that project must include “improved availability of retail goods and services near transit station.”

TriMet’s goals for the project tied back to a study by Prosper Portland that, as pointed out in the RFQ, found that this property was “recommended to be the first of a potential phased development plan that would dramatically change N. Argyle Street into a dense node of activity at the north end of the Kenton downtown.”

Hoping to keep the project moving forward, TriMet has lifted the commercial activity requirements.

After discussing the matter at last month’s KNA Board Meeting, the KNA Board issued a statement to REACH CDC in which the KNA Board took the following positions based on current information:

REACH CDC intends to attend the next KNA Board Meeting, which all neighbors are encouraged to attend, on January 10th, 7pm, at the Historic Kenton Firehouse (8105 N Brandon Ave) to begin discussion with neighbors about these changes to the project. As well, the Portland Housing Bureau, which granted significant funds to REACH CDC, will be having their N/NE Oversight Committee discuss the REACH CDC project with a public comment period on the 11th at the New Song Community Center (220 NE Russell Street) at 6pm. Mayor Wheeler is expect to be in attendance.


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