Gresham’s Rockwood Village celebrates a distinctly new model of affordable housing

PORTLAND, Ore., July 19, 2022: Rockwood Village, in the heart of Gresham’s diverse Rockwood neighborhood, is not what you might expect when you think of affordable housing. But maybe it should be. The new community unfolds across 7.4 green, woodsy acres, where each building and every outdoor space was designed to provide the livability and support that individuals and families need to thrive.

Funded partly with proceeds from the Metro Regional Affordable Housing Bond approved by Portland-area voters in 2018, Rockwood Village opened last fall to the first group of residents. Today, the community’s 224 apartments are nearly full with working families, couples and single adults, all eligible to live there because they earn 30% to 70% of the area’s median income. The greatest need for affordable housing in Oregon is among low-income individuals and families.

The community’s unique look and feel result from the innovative partnership between Community Development Partners (CDP), a mission-driven affordable housing developer, and Hacienda Community Development Corporation (Hacienda CDC), an Oregon-based, Latino-led affordable housing organization with a holistic approach and client-centered services. Both are co-developers and co-owners and collaborated at every step. Their partnership builds off of the strengths of each organization in affordable housing development, finance, and on-site programs and services. The community was designed by Waechter Architecture and PLACE Landscape Architecture and was built by LMC Construction.

Today, the community celebrated its grand opening, starting with a morning ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m., followed by a community-wide celebration with residents at 5 p.m. During the morning event, co-developers Ernesto Fonseca, CEO of Hacienda CDC and Eric Paine, CEO of CDP were joined by Mayor Travis Stovall, City of Gresham; Council President Eddy Morales, City of Gresham; Councilor Dina DiNucci, City of Gresham; Commissioner Lori Stegmann, District 4, Multnomah County; Councilor Shirley Craddick, District 1, Metro; and Kate Gonsalves, Communications Manager, Oregon Housing & Community Services (OHCS).

“We want to help fill Oregon’s housing gap with not just affordable apartments but thriving communities,” said Fonseca. “This is a place where kids and adults have the stability and resources to achieve their goals — like completing high school, getting a better job, getting on the path to homeownership, or building a brighter future by starting or growing their own business.”

“We envisioned Rockwood Village as place where residents and the surrounding neighborhood could feel engaged and connected to each other and their community,” said Paine. “That vision is now a reality, with spaces to connect and learn, be active outdoors, and have fun with families and friends. It’s a place that people are proud to call home.”

Oregon has under built housing by an estimated 111,000 housing units in recent decades, and half of those units are needed for Oregonians with the lowest incomes, according to state economists. The CDP-Hacienda recipe for meeting that need with thriving, vibrant affordable housing communities calls for three key ingredients:

  • Community input: The developers engaged PSU’s Center for Public Interest Design to conduct in-depth research and had numerous conversations and meetings with Rockwood neighbors and community leaders — all of which informed the park, exterior and interior art, and other key aspects of RWV.

  • Community-centered design: Centered around a green space, each part of the campus seamlessly connects to the others and is designed to promote the health, social engagement and well-being of residents.

  • Services and support: Hacienda offers on-site programming and resources to engage youth, help families connect to community resources and economic opportunity, and create a vibrant, active park at the heart of the community.

CDP and Hacienda see Rockwood Village as a robust partnership model for other cities and developers to follow. The partners are currently co-developing The Maple, a 171-unit community in Oregon City, and plan to develop more affordable housing communities together in the future.

Download a PDF of the press release here