PortlandOnline

POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish
Redesigned Hillsdale Terrace will build community in SW Portland - November 16, 2009

Two weeks ago, Portland City Council passed a Resolution supporting the Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) in applying for a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to redevelop the Hillsdale Terrace housing development in SW Portland. The grant will come from the federal HOPE VI program, which provides funds to revitalize physicall distressed public housing properties.

 

Hillsdale Terrace, built in 1968, has been on HAP's top-three priority list for complete redevelopment since HOPE VI began. Following the successful redevelopment of New Columbia and Humboldt Gardens, it is time to focus on addressing the needs of Hillsdale Terrace.

 

In a letter to the Oregonian, Jennifer Brownell writes that "With the HOPE VI Grant, eradicating barriers of race, class and language will be possible at a level never before possible. Creating community while providing opportunities for our neighbors to get out of poverty by learning language, finding employment and receiving job training can only be a blessing to the neighborhood and the city."

 

In this morning's Oregonian, guest columnist Michael Willis, President of Michael Willis Architects and chief architect for the Hillsdale Terrace redesign, writes of his own experience living in the Pruitt-Igoe Homes in St. Louis. That project has since been demolished, but the experience of living there has shaped Willis' vision as an architect.

 

"We are most proud," Willis writes of his architectural firm, "of the work we've done for HAP in Portland, reconnecting former public housing communities into the surrounding neighborhood fabric in ways that value both the residents of the newly built housing and their neighbors."

 

 

 

This preliminary concept includes sustainable features, community garden space, a community center for resident and neighborhood activities, and Head Start classrooms.

  

Grant notification will begin in February of next year, and if successful, HAP will begin construction in 2011 and residents will move back in August of 2012. This redevelopment project will increase our affordable housing stock in southwest Portland, correct physical problems with the site, reduce operating costs, improve available services, and enhance partnerships in the community.

 

"Every citizen," Willis concludes, "should be proud of its exemplary Housing Authority, which is a national model for how to get it done."