Stephens Creek Crossing C O M M U N I T Y
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Wall Raising Kicks Off Building at Stephens Creek Crossing “I look at this wall and I see a bridge ... A bridge between neighbors and residents ... A bridge from poverty to opportunity ... And a bridge from despair to hope.” Rev. Jennifer Brownell, Hillsdale Community Church-United Church of Christ, shared these words at a wall raising ceremony in late September to launch the building phase of Stephens Creek Crossing, a new apartment community to replace Home Forward’s Hillsdale Terrace former public housing property in Southwest Portland. More than 150 students, neighbors, government dignitaries and social service partners gathered for the celebration.
and housing. “The need for affordable
low-income residents at Stephens Creek
housing in this country is critical,” she said.
Crossing. “The southwest neighborhoods
“Stephens Creek Crossing is such a
are some of the most vibrant in Portland.
Home Forward Board Chair Harriet
positive project that it could become a
This is a wonderful neighborhood to live in
Cormack thanked the neighborhood for
and raise a family regardless of income,”
its kind welcome and praised the work of
Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah
all who made the redevelopment a reality.
Kafoury closed the program by reaffirming
The event closed with the ceremonial raising
Among the presenters was U.S. Rep.
the County’s commitment to affordable
of a wall by all the program presenters, who
Suzanne Bonamici, who expressed her
housing and to ongoing services for
were joined by other project partners.
support for the redevelopment and its emphasis on tying together early childhood education, workforce training
To follow our progress during construction at Stephens Creek Crossing, visit us at homeforward.org/development/current-developments/stephens-creek-crossing.
About Stephens Creek Crossing Stephens Creek Crossing is an affordable housing community under construction in the Multnomah neighborhood. Developed by Home Forward to promote work, education and self-sufficiency for low-income individuals and families living in Southwest Portland, Stephens Creek Crossing will include 122 apartments, community gardens, play areas, and bike and walking paths. An Opportunity Center will host job trainings and classes in cooking and nutrition, and a Children’s Center managed by Neighborhood House will focus on early childhood education. Seven Habitat for Humanity homes will be built nearby and offer affordable
Buildings to Take Shape
homeownership. The new community will welcome residents in January 2014.
Stephens Creek Crossing is truly a place of opportunity— the construction of a project of this size is responsible for generating good, family-wage jobs right here in our community. M I K E
A N D R E W S ,
Director of Development and Community Revitalization, Home Forward
The old Hillsdale Terrace is no more. Construction crews have torn down all 12 of the former structures and hauled away 8,600 tons of building debris—diverting more than 95 percent of material out of the waste stream and into recycling projects. The former public housing community’s concrete block buildings have been demolished and the signature bowl shape re-graded into a flatter, higher, more terraced landscape. Since April, workers have been laboring
“We expect it to take as many as 300
to ready the site for building construction.
people to finish construction,” said Mike
Installation of site utilities is nearly complete,
Andrews, development director for Home
just in time for neighbors to see the
Forward. “From demolition to the grand
foundation pouring, framing, roofing and
opening, we will employ laborers, framers,
siding of the community’s 20 new
drywallers, electricians, plumbers,
apartment buildings and two commercial
painters, landscapers and more.
buildings. This ‘vertical’ phase takes place
Stephens Creek Crossing is truly a place
from November 2012 through December
of opportunity—the construction of a
2013 and paves the way for resident
project of this size is responsible for
occupancy to begin in January 2014.
generating good, family-wage jobs right here in our community,” he said.
Growing Up on the Job
Job creation is an important part of the Stephens Creek Crossing redevelopment, both for the seasoned construction crew and for eligible low-income individuals seeking training and work experience. For one young man, it’s also about gaining confidence in his abilities and setting career goals that once might have been out of reach. Now 26 years old, Mike Aguilar looks back
Crossing. “This job has made a big impact
on his late teens with the perspective of a
on me and given me a stable job and
wiser, experienced adult. A high school
decent income to support my family,” he
dropout, he struggled to find the right road,
said. “Being around and accepted by
including making some poor choices that
people who are on the right path helped
landed him in prison. A reconnection with
me a lot. They’ve changed how I look at
a former boss, Joaquin Castillo, project
life and showed me the important things
manager at Colas Construction, led to an
that really matter. I am willing to learn
employment opportunity for Mike and a
everything I can to go as far in this field as
I can. Hopefully, someday I’ll be running
“Mike is an intelligent, hard working and
the job site instead of working on it.”
Mike Aguilar, right, with his mentor Joaquin Castillo, left.
happy guy who is great to have around,” said Castillo. “When we first met, he wasn’t ready for work. But I had a lot in common
HUD Section 3(67): Jobs and Business Opportunities
with him. We grew up in the same area and
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) asks housing
around the same people — we just chose
authorities to provide job training and business opportunities to low and very
to take different paths. When we met again,
low-income individuals. One of the key ways Home Forward fulfills this is to provide
it was another time in his life. I knew if he
opportunities on development projects for individuals and businesses that qualify for
had an opportunity he could shine.”
the Section 3 program. Both HUD and Home Forward believe the investment in
Now enrolled at the Northwest College of Construction, Aguilar will be part of the
economic development is also an investment in building individual self-sufficiency. Mike’s story is an example of the impact the Section 3 program has on individual lives.
construction crew at Stephens Creek
Lending a Hand to Mother Nature Southwest Portland’s heavy, clay soil is notorious for its poor drainage.
the soil drainage was so inadequate that
of rock fill – equal to the amount of snow
springs and surface water had nowhere to
needed to cover the playing surface of a
go but collect near the concrete block
football field nearly twenty feet high from
buildings, and that gave rise to constant
one end to the other.
mold and mildew. Facing an ongoing
Natural springs and surface water now
maintenance nightmare, Home Forward And it was a contributing factor to the severe moisture and water problems affecting the livability and high operating costs of the apartments at the former
knew that a solution to the problem was a top redevelopment priority. “We’re confident we have the problem
have pathways to migrate down the hill and collect in a new series of underground drains. “This is the most extensive drainage system we’ve ever designed,”
controlled,” said Patrick Rhea, senior project
said Rhea. “Given what nature has dealt
Hillsdale Terrace. With the headwaters of
manager, Home Forward. R&H/Colas
us, we’re able to move the water along,
Stephens Creek located nearby, water was
Construction removed 40,000 cubic yards
keep it away from the buildings, and steer
a constant presence on the property. Yet
of dirt and replaced it with a similar amount
it back into a more natural flow.”
Communit y Update: Stephens Creek Crossing
Sowing Seeds of Friendship A knock on the door from Home Forward was all it took to open up a relationship between Hillsdale Community Church-United Church of Christ and its neighbors at Home Forward’s affordable housing community in Southwest Portland. Rev. Jennifer Brownell realized the church had a great deal to offer residents — and could gain something in return. Brownell envisions a community garden on
group comprised of church members, residents
church property, where members, neighbors
and other interested neighbors will collaborate
and residents at the new community under
on a vision for the new garden, which will
development, Stephens Creek Crossing, can
complement an urban farm to be located on
come together to grow fruits and vegetables.
the Stephens Creek Crossing property.
“We were founded 95 years ago by the area’s Swiss dairy farmers. This is a way for us to draw upon that heritage and share our strong connection with the land,” she said.
With a birds-eye view of the construction site, Brownell believes the redevelopment is an inspiration for the community. “We are excited about the opportunity to be a place of welcome
The congregation imagines cooking and food
and to help celebrate what it means to be a
preservation classes, as well as the blending of
diverse people,” she said.
cultures, meals and conversations. A planning
The Stephens Creek Crossing Community Update is published by Home Forward. Home Forward (the new name for the Housing Authority of Portland) is dedicated to providing safe, decent and affordable housing for individuals and families who are challenged by income, disability or special need. A public corporation, Home Forward serves all of Multnomah County, including the cities of Gresham, Fairview and Troutdale and other East County communities. Home Forward is governed by a nine-member citizen commission, which ensures continued accountability to the interests of the community. For more information about the Stephens Creek Crossing redevelopment, contact Home Forward community relations at 503-802-8508 or visit www.homeforward.org.
Rev. Jennifer Brownell, Hillsdale Community Church – United Church of Christ
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