New ‘Woody Guthrie Place’ opens in Lents

Here’s what took place during the grand opening of a new outer East Portland apartment building in Lents Town Center …

The opening of the new “Woody Guthrie Place” mixed-income apartment building in outer East Portland is a cause for celebration by supporters of ROSE Community Development Corporation.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Yet another apartment building is ready for tenants in Lents Town Center; this one is a $20 million project called “Woody Guthrie Place”.

ROSE (ROSE) Community Development Corporation held its grand opening on Thursday evening, June 20, on the third floor of the new Asian Health and Service Center next door, which had a great view of the new building.

“Woody Guthrie Place” is ROSE’s first mixed-income apartment development – and features 64 units, a rooftop terrace, a community room, an outdoor play space, both car and bike parking, LEED Gold Certification, a solar rooftop, and electric-car charging stations.

The intent of the new building is to attract families who are expecting, or who have, young children, according to ROSE Executive Director Nick Sauvie.

“In addition to the grand opening, this is also our annual fundraiser,” said ROSE Executive Director Nick Sauvie. “The building is named after Woody Guthrie, who lived in the Lents neighborhood for a a month in 1941 when he was writing songs for the Bonneville Power Administration.

“This being mixed-income housing, it provides units ranging from low-income, up to market-rate units,” Sauvie remarked. “To serve our ‘Baby Booster’ housing preference, we’re associated with seven agencies who work with pregnant families, and families with young children, so they’ll have priority to move into these apartments.”

Folks mix and mingle during the ROSE “Grand Opening Celebration”.

In a way this is similar to their Leander Court project in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, inasmuch as they’re both designed with families in mind, Sauvie pointed out.

“In this case, it’s intentional, because science shows how important the first days of development are for children. If they are supported in stable housing, they will do better throughout their lifetimes, and do better with their health and education,” Sauvie told East Portland News.

Sauvie said he couldn’t help but think back, looking out at the “new look” of Lents Town Center, and recall ROSE’s beginnings. “We held some of our first organizing meetings just a block away, at the New Copper Penny (the block is now apartments called “Oliver Station”); and we’ve been working to support people in the Lents neighborhood, and do community development, since our inception.”

Now, ROSE accommodates some 500 families in their residences.

Talking with guests at the grand opening is Office of Mayor Ted Wheeler Senior Advisor Cupid Alexander.

Although Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler didn’t attend, he sent his Senior Policy Adviser for Housing, Cupid Alexander, to the observance.

“The message that I bring from Mayor Wheeler is that we love to see mixed-income development, especially out in East Portland, because it is needed out here,” Alexander said. “It’s especially true here, in the Lents neighborhood, where there’s been a lot of gentrification – this [sort of development] is what we like to see.”

This apartment building is in the “right place”, agrees Metro Counselor Bob Stacey, as he looks at the newly-constructed building.

“Metro is investing in this project because it provides a range of affordable housing units, and it’s in just the right location,” commented Metro Counselor Bob Stacey. “It’s close to public transit, jobs, local services, and businesses.

“Helping people who might be ‘gentrified out of Portland’ to thrive and prosper here, in Lents, is why Metro invested in about $350,000 in transit-oriented development grants, to bring down the overall construction costs for those units, and make them more affordable,” observed Stacey.

Guests help themselves from the well-stocked supper buffet at the ROSE celebration and fundraiser.

As for the fundraising component of the celebration, which featured food, beverages, and speeches, $36,313 was raised to support the work of ROSE CDC. To find out more about their organization, CLICK HERE.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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