Building Innovation for Homeownership
Award Winners: Oregon

PROJECT: City Life Project, Portland, Oregon

SUBMITTER: Dee Walsh, Executive Director, REACH Community Development, Inc., Portland, Oregon

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: City Life is an 18-unit, medium-density, mixed-income, in-fill homeownership development constructed on a 40,000 square-foot vacant lot in downtown Portland, Oregon, close to public transit, jobs, schools, and shopping. Three housing types are included to encourage diversity: one duplex (two units); six row homes; and ten courtyard homes, attached and free-standing "townhouses" surrounding a courtyard. Two- bedroom homes are 950 square feet and three-bedroom units are 1200 square feet. Market- rate units range from $96,000-$124,950 and subsidized units from $65,000-$84,950. The nine subsidized units are undistinguishable from the others and mixed throughout the development. Almost half the site is open space with auto access and parking at the rear, water run-off is retained on site. City Life was conceived and developed through the collaboration of public, private, and non-profit organizations to demonstrate how to build affordable, compatible housing in the inner city at higher than normal densities.

All City Life homes are insulated and energy efficient, built to the Oregon Super Good Cents standard of Portland General Electric. The duplex units were built to the Earth Smart standard that requires a higher level of energy efficiency and use of earth friendly and recycled products. Structural stress-skin insulating panels (SIPS) were used for the exterior walls of the duplex to achieve higher R-values. The remaining sixteen homes were stick- built. Construction waste was recycled as feasible.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Steering Committee: REACH Community Development, Inc. (raised grant funds and donations, assembled financing, hired and oversaw architects, contractor, and Realtor, formed homeowners association, and assisted in transition to buyers); American Institute of Architects-Portland Chapter (held a design competition for the site and homes); Portland Metropolitan Home Builders Association (hosted a two-week open- house for 5,000 people); City of Portland (provided zoning, PUD approvals, and free staff assistance); Oregon Housing and Community Services Department (reserved pool of mortgage funds for first-time buyers at a reduced rate); and, Livable Oregon (staff chaired steering committee) Boora Architects( designed CourtYard Homes); Roderick Ashley (designed Rowhouses); Gregory Acker(designed Duplex). Portland General Electric (contributed subsidy for land)


PROJECT: Field of Dreams, Eugene, Oregon

SUBMITTER: Peter Keyes, University of Oregon Department of Architecture, Portland, Oregon

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Developed around a baseball field in Eugene, Oregon, the Field of Dreams neighborhood includes 44 houses designed on compact lots that encourage the sense of a close-knit community. The houses range in size from 768 square feet to 1,440 square feet. Low-income units ranging from $54,400 to $71,200 are mixed with moderate income units ranging from $68,000 to $89,900. The houses are simple in plan, some with generous porches. They reconstructed of light-weight prefabricated roof trusses, engineered wood floor joists, and low-maintenance materials. Passive solar strategies include large windows to admit natural light and site planning that orients units to take advantage of southern exposures. North-facing walls have minimal fenestration. The houses not only meet the stringent Oregon Energy Code but qualify for the local utilitys Super Good Cents incentive program, which mandates higher levels of energy performance and allows a $2,000 for each house. Low-income units have a rent-to-own option which allows a portion of monthly rent to be counted towards a down payment. A range of public, private, and non- profit entities provided grants and subsidies to lower housing prices.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Neighborhood Economic Development Corp. (NEDCO), John Hubbird, executive director (developer and builder); First Interstate Bank of Oregon, Portland and Eugene; City of Eugene Development Department, Mike Sullivan; Peter Keyes, Center for Housing Innovation/Department of Architecture, University of Oregon (designer and site planner); Jonathan Stafford, Eugene, Oregon (design contributor).


Content Archived: January 20, 2009