PORTLAND -- Two lower income families will soon have keys to their very own town homes in North Portland as part of of the city's very first, energy efficient low income, green housing project.

KGW Newschannel 8 was given an early look inside the two town homes, located in the 5100 block of North Fessenden Avenue, near North Adriatic Avenue.

It's the first of many green housing projects planned in both the Northeast and North Portland communities. Seventeen sites total are slated to be built, which is about 35 homes, said Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc., or PCRI.

PCRI is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit community development organization which provides affordable rental homes to low-income families, primarily in the North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods. In 2005, the organization decided to transition its residents from renting to first-time home ownership.

We house over 700 families and so when we decided to move into home ownership development, we just decided to work with the households that were already living in PCRI properties, so it was really quite easy, said Fitzpatrick.

The home ownership rate for most minorities in Portland is 33% compared to 69% for whites, according to PCRI printed data.

Oregon placed last in home ownership growth among all fifty states from 1950-2000.

One glance around the new town homes and you can't miss the cork flooring or the bamboo cabinets in the kitchen.

The lighting is energy efficient, as is the plumbing. There are also two high-efficiency heat pumps, fresh air ventilation and heat recovery.

The homes have been built to be 15-30% more efficient than the 2008 Oregon energy code. They were built through the City of Portland's Energy Efficiency Home Pilot, or PEEHP, which has been a collaboration of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, Energy Trust of Oregon, the Home builder's Association of Metropolitan Portland, the National Association of Home builders, Northwest Natural Gas and the City of Portland.

The homes were set below market prices for the low and middle income families who are buying the homes outright, Fitzpatrick said.

The town homes were built by Terrafirma Building Inc. and paid for with a grant from the City of Portland. The grant also includes two other town homes near the Fessenden Avenue location that are not yet complete.

The total grant amount for the four units is $25,800, said Anne Hill with the Portland Water Bureau, with $7,700 paid for the two completed town homes, she said.

Fitzpatrick said a family of five will move into each of the completed units within the next forty days.

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