NEOHA and CDP Begin Construction of New Affordable Housing Community in La Grande

LA GRANDE, Ore., August 23, 2022 — Northeast Oregon Housing Authority (NEOHA) and Community Development Partners (CDP) announced today the start of construction of La Grande’s newest housing community, Timber Ridge. Located at 26th Street and East Q Avenue, Timber Ridge is a 4.8-acre, 82-unit affordable housing development designed to foster community and intergenerational living while providing the services and support needed for individuals and families to thrive.

“Timber Ridge will be a beacon of hope for low-income residents of La Grande and Union County who desperately need a safe and welcoming place to call home,” said Sarah Parker, Executive Director of NEOHA. “This community will not only provide much needed affordable housing, but also the supportive services and resources that are required to positively impact people’s lives. Timber Ridge is like none other in the region, and we are so excited to celebrate its progress.”

The development of Timber Ridge is critical to addressing the region’s affordable housing needs. According to City data, over half of La Grande’s households are considered low-income and approximately one in four households are severely rent burdened. When completed, Timber Ridge will provide 82 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom homes to individuals and families earning 30%-60% of the area median income ($21,540-$43,080 for a family of four), including nine fully accessible units for seniors and individuals with mobility or physical disabilities, preference for ten Housing Opportunities for Persons With Aids (HOPWA) vouchers, and a Section 8 contract for 35 project-based vouchers.

“We have been partnering with NEOHA for the past several years to understand what the La Grande community needs, and ensure that Timber Ridge can respond,” shared Eric Paine, CEO of CDP. “We are excited to see the dirt finally turn, and the vision come to life. Timber Ridge will be a place for people of all ages and abilities to thrive, and we are honored to work with NEOHA to make it a reality.”

The NEOHA-CDP approach for responding to the needs of the community consisted of community input and community-centered design. The team engaged Portland State University’s Center for Public Interest Design to conduct in-depth research and have conversations with community members and organizations. Findings from this work were reflected back to the design team, and special consideration was taken to ensure each part of the development connects to the others and promotes the health, social engagement and well-being of future residents.

Applying PSU’s findings, Timber Ridge has been intentionally designed as a Community For All Ages, where people of all ages can live, work and play together with the essential services and amenities needed to thrive. Special attention was also given to trauma-informed and universal design principles. The project is comprised of seven walk-up style apartment buildings and a 4,500-square-foot community and resident services building with a large gathering space and communal kitchen for shared meals and social events. The community building will also include the resident services offices, a classroom, study space and an early childhood education center, where Eastern Oregon University will operate a Head Start program that will be available to residents at no cost. The resident services programming will be led by EngAGE NW, a nonprofit with over two decades of experience delivering programs centered on arts, wellness, lifelong learning and civic engagement. Outdoor amenities include on-site parking, outdoor gathering and play areas, basketball and pickleball courts, community gardens and a dog park. The site has been designed to foster a strong connection to the outdoors and will take advantage of the mountain views by incorporating a walking path that runs along its edge.

Timber Ridge will also be highly sustainable and is targeting Earth Advantage Platinum Certification and Net-Zero Certification. The project will include a large photovoltaic array that is projected to exceed the electrical demand for the project by 10 percent.

Timber Ridge is a collaboration between Northeast Oregon Housing Authority and Community Development Partners. NEOHA is the GP, Owner and Property Manager and CDP is the developer. The project is made possible by a 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocation with equity investment by Hunt Capital; LIFT funds, GHAP funds and tax-exempt bonds from Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS); a Section 8 contract for 35 project-based vouchers administered by NEOHA; and preference for ten Housing Opportunities for Persons With Aids (HOPWA) voucher holders made possible by Oregon Health Authority’s Oregon Housing Opportunities in Partnership Program (OHOP). The project also received a grant from the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO), energy incentives from Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC), and Federal Solar Investment Tax Credits administered by the U.S. Department of Energy and investment by Hunt Capital. Construction financing is being provided by Washington Federal Bank and permanent financing is being provided by Citi Community Capital.

The site is designed by Ink:Built Architecture and Studio Wilde and is being built by Bremik Construction. EngAGE NW will lead the resident services programming, in collaboration with NEOHA, with additional childhood education services provided by Eastern Oregon University’s Head Start program.

Today, the City of La Grande celebrated the Timber Ridge groundbreaking, starting at 1:30 p.m. During the event, Sarah Parker, Executive Director of NEOHA, and Eric Paine, CEO of CDP, were joined by Commissioner Paul Anderes, Union County; City Manager Robert Strope, City of La Grande; Bryan Guiney, Oregon Field Office Director; Andrea Bell, Executive Director of Oregon Housing & Community Services (OHCS); Maria Rojo de Steffey, Regional Director, EngAGE Northwest; and Robert Kleng, EOU Head Start Director.

Download a PDF of the press release here.