GRESHAM, Ore. — People gathered for a grand opening celebration this week in the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham — but the site of the party, Rockwood Village Apartments, already has more than 500 residents enjoying the location.
The new apartment buildings hold 224 units of affordable housing for everyone from singles to larger families.
“Rockwood is one of the most diverse communities in all of Oregon so the property serves, with units from one bedroom to four bedrooms, this diverse income array and also a really diverse background of people and families that are here,” said Eric Paine, CEO of Community Development Partners, a co-developer on the project.
Rockwood Village is the biggest example yet of what the $653 million Metro housing bond is beginning to provide after voters approved it in 2018.
Yolanda Ambrosia lives at Rockwood Village with her family, including a granddaughter, and told KGW what she likes about it.
“Well, so many reasons ... only because we feel comfortable here and we just like it — especially with the community growing, especially with the families and the children,” said Ambrosia.
Hacienda Community Development Corporation and community development partners teamed up to make this more than just apartments. Hacienda CEO Ernesto Fonseca says Rockwood Village Apartments is one of the most comprehensive developments to date.
“We have a community center, we have a lot of open space for active living and for community to really come together — that's where you are today,” said Fonseca. “It's a fantastic project that we're really proud of."
The modern buildings are on a two-acre park setting. There are gardens to enjoy, including raised bed vegetable gardens for tenants to tend. And there are places for kids to play. The community center offers classes and opportunities for people young and old, including financial and home ownership education.
Inside the buildings, bike racks hold the bikes and there is original art by local artists. The development is modern and new, and designed to break the stigma of affordable housing of the past.
“I think that was part of the pride of place ... we want people to be really proud of where they're living and feel like everyone deserves a decent and high quality place to live,” said Paine.
Fonseca added that many more places like Rockwood Village are needed to serve people priced out of high rent places like the Portland metro area.
“Affordable housing and middle-income housing will be not just important but one of the most significant pieces for the economic development of any region; we need to house our people so that they can be safe and thrive in this economic environment,” said Fonseca.
Rockwood Village Apartments is for people who earn from between 30 and 70% of the adult median income for our area. There is a waitlist you can apply to get on to reserve a spot.