By PDX People
PORTLAND, Ore. – There’s no denying that renters have had it rough over the last several years due to rent increases and scarcity of affordable housing in the city. Thankfully, the affordable housing crisis is going to soon change because the City Council just approved spending over $50 million dollars on an apartment complex in Portland.
Small Step in The Right Direction
At just 263 units, The Ellington apartment complex won’t make an immediate impact on solving the affordable housing problem in Portland but it’s certainly a small step in the right direction.
Sadly, the apartment complex may need as much as $10 million in repairs before units can be rented out but once they are finally able to start renting this apartment complex the city council has a goal of setting aside about two-thirds of its units for families who don’t make over $43,000 per year.
A “Troubled Asset”
Although many people are cheering the City Councils decision to purchase the Ellington apartment complex, critics are crying foul because they say that the city is overpaying by as much as $10 million for the apartment complex.
In their defense, City Officials said that the reason why the purchased the property without obtaining an appraisal was to beat a line of private investors who were eager to purchase the property and ultimately turn its apartments into high price rentals.
“This is an example of being opportunistic and striking when there is something in front of us,” Commissioner Nick Fish said. “I’m persuaded that if we didn’t seize this opportunity, a lot of people would be hurt.”
The vote also follows outcry from one of Portland’s former housing directors. Margaret Van Vliet, wrote a letter to Mayor Charlie Hales urging against the purchase. Van Vliet, who recently stepped down as director of Oregon’s state housing agency, called the property’s physical condition “questionable” and its price too high.
Since its construction in the 1940’s, The Ellington has had a long history in Portland of being an affordable housing complex, but it lost its affordable housing designation back in 2005 and the manager raised rents soon after.
All eyes are going to be on the City of Portland in 2017 as everyone from renters to landlords will be eager to see how The Ellington will turn out and if the city can turn this property into affordable housing that will benefit hardworking renters who have been struggling with rent increases and a higher cost of living in the city.