Cedar Commons provides new housing in Powellhurst-Gilbert

Take a look, and see what new accommodations are being provided – and learn why this new outer East Portland housing community was created …

Opened in June, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, Cedar Commons now offers 60 affordable apartments.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Because it wouldn’t be fully occupied until late August, as residents began moving in, development partners Related Northwest and Central City Concern invited a limited number of people to tour their soon-to-be opened facility, named Cedar Commons, on June 2.

Specifically, Cedar Commons provides 60 of what developers call affordable apartments, including 40 single-room occupancy units and 20 studio apartments – ranging in size from 175 to 350 square feet. The new development also features a grassy courtyard, and raised-beds gardens just west of the building.

Mary-Rain O’Meara, Director of Real Estate Development at Central City Concern, looks at one of the new studio apartments.

“This project is important to outer East Portland, because here we can house a lot of people quickly,” remarked Cedar Commons Project Coordinator Kathy Pape. “Once residents are in this new housing, we can connect them with services that they need to stay healthy and to stay in housing.”

The new residents are coming out of homelessness, or they have had very low income and have been at risk of homelessness,” Pape told East Portland News.

Here examining the second floor day lounge is Meghan Herteg, the project’s manager, from Walsh Construction.

The single room occupancy spaces, although small, can take advantage of community rooms. “We have a community kitchen on each of the first and second floors for residents; the studio apartments do have full kitchens in them,” Pape pointed out.

The project manager said they chose this site for the development because of the need in the area, and because there is good public transit along SE Division Street, which makes it easier for the residents to commute to services.

“We have ten units that are designated for folks struggling with mental illness,” Pape remarked. “These units will be supervised by staff from Central City Concern with their connections to Multnomah County Behavior Health.”

Many services will be available on-site, says Juliana Wallace, Senior Director of Metal Health Services and Culturally Specific Services at Central City Concern.

Speaking about the services being offered was Central City Concern’s Senior Director of Metal Health Services and Culturally Specific Services, Juliana Wallace. “Here, we will have an integrated team of supportive housing staff and clinical health staff who will work together to support residents who are interested in those kind of services here in this building.”

Those services may include:

  • Group activities
  • Cooking classes
  • Therapeutic groups
  • Individual support
  • Resource connections
  • Service connection
  • Crisis services that people may need or want.


Central City Concern has a number of sites here in outer East Portland, Including the newly-opened Blackburn Center, which is a fully-qualified health center and has a recuperative program; as well as Puentes, a Latinx-specific mental health and addiction service provider,” Wallace said.

The major funding sources for Cedar Commons are the Portland Housing Bureau, Metro Transit Oriented Development, Oregon Housing and Community Services, Oregon Community Housing Services’ MEP incentives, Multnomah County Department of Behavioral Health, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the Meyer Memorial Trust, and US Bank.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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