Nesika Illahee


Goal: Create a community to serve the Native American population in Portland utilizing an unprecedented (for an urban, off reservation development) funding source, Indian Housing Block Grant, and programming that is culturally specific in partnership with Oregon’s leading Native American organizations.

Nesika Illaheeserves to mitigate a rapidly increasing need for affordable housing within Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary. The property is located within the Cully neighborhood in Northeast Portland, an area that is racially and ethnically diverse. Nesika Illahee is a 3-story wood-framed building comprised of 59 units with a mix of 13 studios, 30 1-bedroom, 9 2-bedroom, and 7 3-bedroom units. Through a partnership with NAYA (Native American Youth and Family Center), NARA (Native American Rehabilitation Association), and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (Siletz) the project focuses on the needs of the Native Community, an unacknowledged, and underrepresented population. The project goals are to address disparities in access to affordable housing for Native Americans, provide culturally specific services to residents, and provide medical, dental, and behavioral health care for all residents. Our non-profit partner, NAYA has their headquarters less than 0.5 miles away and will provide specific programming for residents.

The project has been designed to be warm, welcoming and appropriate within its geographical context. Exterior materials respond to their surroundings by providing a more residential feel (board & batten) along neighborhood side streets and a more modern feel (wood panels) along the busier 42nd Avenue. The use of wood is incorporated throughout the plaza, interior common areas and dwelling units. The concept of story-telling is central to the design of the project. Opportunities for carved wood columns, painted murals and additional Native artwork have been identified. The lobby is envisioned as a setting to share stories about the (local) Earth, the Community Room is intended for story-telling amongst each other, and the Plaza has been designed to encourage story-telling by the community. The project aims to complement the affordable housing by incorporating on-site amenities such as a community garden, a community room with kitchen and exterior plaza with bench seating.


Nesika Illahee was awarded the first round of LIFT funds through OHCS, though a gap still existed for the project to move forward. The project received additional OHCS funds to close the gap, The project was able to move forward once funding was secured by the Siletz Tribe with Indian Housing Block Grant funds, through NAYA. This enabled the project to be able to provide a Native preference to project along with extensive resident services to the tenants.

  • Number of units: 59
  • Lot size: .72 Acres
  • Density: 81.9 units/acre
  • Unit size: 600-1,100 ft2
  • Unit mix: 43 1BD/1BA, 9 2BD/2BA, 7 3BD/2BA
  • Parking Spaces: 8
  • Affordability: 60% AMI
  • Sustainability: Earth Advantage Platinum
  • Total Cost: $17 M
  • Architect: Carleton Hart Architecture
  • Contractor: LMC Construction
  • Property Management: FPI Management
  • Non-Profit General Partner: NAYA


CDP has partnered with NAYA and NARA to provide resident services at Nesika Illahee. This project will provide housing and linkage to supportive and clinical services to the Native American community in Portland through a unique partnership with two culturally-specific providers who bring expertise in housing development, housing supportive services, education, social services, and healthcare, dental and behavioral healthcare.


NAYA is a culturally-specific organization that has served the Native American community in Portland since 1974. Located a few blocks from the project, the NAYA Family Center strives to fulfill its mission: “to enhance the diverse strengths of our youth and families in partnership with the community through cultural identity and education.” As an urban Indian agency, NAYA Family Center directly serves over 2300 people from over 380 tribal backgrounds annually, through housing work, child welfare and family self-sufficiency programs, workforce training, and other efforts.

NAYA is led by a board of directors that reflects the Native community, and all strategic decisions made throughout the organization are youth centered, family driven and elder guided. NAYA Family Center provides comprehensive, wraparound services for youth and families through the Relational Worldview Model—an innovative, culturally specific program delivery model developed by the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA)—to provide services holistically through an indigenous perspective.

NAYA will coordinate resident services and contract for the majority of services with NARA.


NARA founded in 1970 in Portland, NARA is an Indian-owned, Indian-operated non-profit agency. NARA’s wide array of culturally specific and integrated clinical services include residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment; mental health treatment for children, youth, families and adults; primary healthcare services along with women’s specialty care and diabetes specialty care; dental services; and a youth residential substance abuse treatment program scheduled to open in April, 2017. NARA also offers multiple supportive services (including rent assistance, scattered site supportive housing, veterans’ services, vocational services, elders’ services, and street outreach) to assist our community to achieve and maintain wellness of spirit, body, mind, and culture. All NARA services are designed with cultural and spiritual needs in mind, with an emphasis on promoting strong connections to community.