Housing our Community

52-Unit Apartment Building to Bring New Life on Monroe and MLK

Garlington Center Concept Rendering

Eliot is experiencing a sustained building boom that is slowly replacing housing that was lost by original residents, the majority being African Americans. With the new Cascadia campus on  MLK and Monroe, the neighborhood has a chance to revitalize and provide some housing relief for families that have been forced to leave as the neighborhood transitioned.

The apartment building adjacent to the new Garlington Health and Wellness Center will be the first building in Eliot that will welcome back those negatively impacted by urban renewal. It will be a place to call home for former residents (under the City’s Preference Policy) Veterans and Cascadia clients.

The Preference policy is intended to help those who were displaced or are at risk of displacement in Eliot and other N/NE areas where gentrification and market pressures have contributed to past harms done by the government.  When the City, Federal government and Emanuel Hospital demolished housing in the 1970s, families were left with  fewer options and a loss of wealth created by ownership.

The Portland Housing Bureau website gives more information about the Preference policy but the recent process yielded 1000 applications and 65 actual spaces. The Right to Return applicants are income restricted to 60% MFI so rents will be around $700 and those with a disability will have access to subsidies.

This article will explain how you can apply for the Right to Return rental housing for those at risk of displacement or for those who suffered from past urban renewal projects.

This is the second of a three-part series on the benefits of the Garlington Health and Wellness Center and Cascadia’s Building a Culture of Caring Campaign.

Welcoming Home Residents

The new 52-unit apartment building is located on the Northwest corner on Monroe and MLK with four stories. The apartments are funded to reach three groups most in need of housing:  10 units for Veterans who are facing homelessness, 10 units for clients with mental health challenges, and the remaining 31 units will serve those who qualified under the Right to Return process, plus an onsite resident manager.

Jim Hlava, VP of Cascadia Housing, expects the apartments to open to screened applicants in January 2018, offering some of the first rentals for those displaced from the historical urban renewal developments.

The vision for the Cascadia apartment building has evolved as the community and the funding sources have responded to the housing crisis. The benefits of combining onsite wellness and housing have been proven through national studies.

When the project was first conceived, Cascadia was part of the Preference policy listening session, learning first-hand about the losses in Eliot. As  the policy was launched late last year, Cascadia expressed an interest in using the policy  when it is ready to take applications.

Residents in the apartment building will be able to access the Garlington Health & Wellness  Center’s community wellness programs. The Center which will be located adjacent to the apartment building is situated on the corner of MLK and Morris. The new Center will provide integrated health services and will have a retail pharmacy and community wellness classes from nutrition, fitness and cooking available.

Integration with Community

Jim Hlava, VP of Cascadia Housing, began attending the Eliot Neighborhood Association in 2006 and built trust after the creation of a Good Neighbor agreement. In his 30 years of working at Cascadia, he’s seen how fears and stigma related to mental illness have lessened and the willingness of neighborhoods to collaborate increased. Jim provides an example of how Eliot’s neighborhood board draws loyal and dedicated Portlanders making a difference in Eliot.

Hlava remembers his first meetings  in 2006:  “My first meetings at Eliot were tense ten years ago, but the Community Conversations and our work together has built awareness and success.” The whole community now will have an opportunity to benefit from the long-term investment of Cascadia as we watch the new building go up in 2017 and welcome back to Eliot some of those families who have been displaced.

Part of being a good neighbor for Cascadia has been in developing relationships. The vision includes welcoming a community of renters with access to the Wellness Center, kitchen and garden. “We have staffed the building with a Resident Coordinator to help create paths into the community, do events onsite, and be a liaison to help the community build their relationships.” This campus will be a step to restore Eliot’s community which suffered a series of losses of home, equity, businesses, and relationships in the past.

The Design and Development Process

The Garlington Center was first established in 1980 and opened as North-Northeast Community Mental Health. In October 1989 it was renamed after a prominent pastor, Rev. John Garlington and his wife Yvonne who had tirelessly advocated for Portland’s African American population in the social services community.  Cascadia became involved in 2002 and in 2006 moved to permanently name the center to recognize Dr. and Mrs. John Garlington’s legacy.

Cascadia purchased the property with the help of a generous  donation from the previous owners, Howard and Jane Glazer. This launched Cascadia’s Building a Culture of Caring philanthropic campaign to redevelop and expand the site to a Health and Wellness Center complete with affordable housing options.  The need for homes and integrated healthcare is essential to the Eliot community and Cascadia has a long history of providing affordable housing solutions.

The architects for the Garlington Wellness Center were chosen after a competitive process once Cascadia secured it first $1.2 million funding in 2014. Jim Hlava commented that they had already done some site prototypes with two local architects in 2007 and a site and feasibility analysis in 2012, with the help of the Housing Development Center. They chose Scott Edwards & Associates Architects, whose offices are located in NE and who have great experience in community-centered clinic and health center building designs. Colas Construction is the property contractors and they are also local experienced leaders in building construction.

If you would like more information or would like to support Cascadia’s efforts, please visit http://www.cascadiabhc.org or contact give@cascadiabhc.org.

The Garlington Center History

The Garlington Center is named in honor of the late Rev. Dr. John W. Garlington, Jr, a prominent leader and advocate for the African American community in Portland during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Learn more about the legacy of Dr. Garlington.