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HUD No. 24-116
HUD Public Affairs
(202) 708-0685
May 16, 2024

HUD Officials Visit Portland as Part of National “Road to Innovation” Tour

PORTLAND - Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) for Policy Development and Research Solomon Greene and Northwest Regional Administrator Andrew Lofton toured innovative affordable housing developments as part of HUD's national "Road to Innovation” Tour leading up to the 2024 Innovative Housing Showcase in Washington, DC next month. Before visiting Portland, PDAS Greene visited Detroit and Minneapolis and Seattle.

“The varied projects we toured in the Portland area, from the nation’s largest Passive House certified multifamily development at Orchards at Orenco to the largest restorative redevelopment project that centers Portland’s Black residents and their history at Albina Vision Trust, demonstrate that Oregon’s housing sector shares in HUD’s belief that new and innovative approaches are needed to solve the housing crisis,” said Solomon Greene, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. “In meeting with Oregon’s housing leaders, I recognized another shared belief: that innovative approaches can and should center low-income and marginalized residents. It is evident across the state that practitioners are centering marginalized communities in their plans to maximize the impact and longevity of new state policies and funding opportunities.”

"Affordable housing developers are leading the charge in sustainability across Oregon and the Portland region, utilizing cutting-edge technology to build homes that are both affordable and eco-friendly,” said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Andrew Lofton. “It’s clear that partnerships are essential, and the collaborative efforts in Oregon are a prime example of how we can tackle the housing crisis together.”

The “Road to Innovation” tours will culminate in Washington, DC with HUD’s 2024 Innovative Housing Showcase slated for June 7th through 9th on the National Mall. The showcase is a public event during which leading homebuilders, technologists, and designers will show their cutting-edge approaches to increase housing supply, lower construction costs, increase energy efficiency, and reduce housing expenses.

[Orchards at Orenco]
HUD's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Solomon Greene (middle in grey suit) and Northwest Regional Administrator Andrew Lofton (left in tan suit) received a tour of Orchards at Orenco in Hillsboro, OR with REACH CEO Margaret Salazar (middle in blue and white top), Senior Project Manager Jay Nees of Walsh Construction Co., and the Washington County Housing Authority.

The first stop on the tour was to Orchards at Orenco, located in Hillsboro, Oregon, and owned by REACH. Orchards at Orenco is a model of innovation and sustainable design in affordable housing and was named the largest multi‐family Passive House certified building in North America upon construction completion in 2015. The building has a meticulously sealed building shell, resulting in a 90% reduction in heating energy use compared to traditional construction. Some of the innovative features include triple‐paned windows, a heat‐recovery system, and a super‐insulated extremely airtight building envelope. There is also an energy monitoring system located in the lobby, designed to track and help improve tenants’ energy‐use habits. This approach not only benefits the environment but also significantly reduces utility costs for residents. There are 8 HUD vouchers in the project dedicated to assisting households earning 30% or less of the Median Family Income.

"Orchards at Orenco is more than just a building; it's a vibrant community that embodies our commitment to pioneering solutions in affordable housing," said Margaret Salazar, CEO of REACH Community Development. "We're proud to integrate Passive House standards in a way that profoundly impacts the lives of our residents and sets the stage for future developments. With HUD's support through project‐based vouchers, we're making a definitive statement that affordability does not have to compromise quality or environmental responsibility.”

[Walsh and NHA]
HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Andrew Lofton (left) and HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Solomon Greene (second to left) met with members of Walsh Construction Co. and Northwest Housing Alternatives at Canopy at Powell in Portland, OR.

Next, the group held a discussion on Cost-Efficient Design and Construction (CEDC) principles which include construction design, assembly, and materials innovation with Walsh Construction Co. and Northwest Housing Alternatives. Walsh has experimented proactively with innovative technologies and methods – including modular construction, mass timber, light gauge steel, insulated concrete forms and structural insulated panels – in a concerted effort to see if these alternatives can produce fundamental improvements in either the cost, speed, or quality of affordable multi-family housing construction.

[Metro roundtable]
HUD's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Solomon Greene (third from right), Northwest Regional Administrator Andrew Lofton (second from right), and Portland Field Office Director Bryan Guiney (right) meet with leaders from across the state in Portland, OR.

The group engaged in discussion on Oregon state and local policy innovations including a focus on community land trusts and construction in rural areas. Created to help alleviate Oregon’s current housing crisis, the Housing Innovation Partnership consists of innovative leaders from the private, public, and civic sectors who are dedicated to finding new ways to increase housing production.

[Albina Vision Trust]
JT Flowers of Albina Vision Trust (right) gave a tour to HUD's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Solomon Greene (left) of the Left Bank building and surrounding area in Portland, OR.

The last stop of the tour was to the historic Albina neighborhood to meet with the Albina Vision Trust (AVT), a local nonprofit developer that is spearheading the largest restorative redevelopment in the United States. AVT's 94-acre, community-led development vision has brought over a half billion dollars of investment to Lower Albina in the past 3 years.

Albina One, the nonprofit's first development, will be welcoming families in the summer of 2025. Albina One is a 94-unit, family-focused project in an area of inner N/NE Portland that once was home to over 80% of the city's Black population. These units are designed to counter the intentional displacement of Black people from the neighborhood due to urban renewal, freeway siting, and long-term gentrification. The mix of one, two and three-bedroom units will serve young Portlanders, notably those that work in the trades.

AVT is also partnering with the Oregon Department of Transportation to build a developable highway cover over Interstate 5, the highway that bisected Portland's Black community in the 1960s and 70s, as well as moving to acquire the 10.5-acre Portland Public Schools administrative headquarters campus, which will be torn down and redeveloped into over 1,000 units of housing for displaced Portlanders right along the banks of the Willamette River.


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