Shaver Green Building to Offer Sustainable Workforce Housing

July 15, 2008

“Workforce housing” is a term being heard more and more, used place of the more familiar “affordable housing”. It differentiates between housing that is intended to accommodate people from the lowest income brackets, and housing for the lower middle class, people who have steady employment but have been priced out of the housing market in many areas.

According to Wikipedia, workforce housing has four defining elements:

  • Affordability
  • Home Ownership
  • Key Workforce (in other words, composed of critical members of a community’s workforce such as police officers and teachers), and
  • Proximity (to employment centers)

In May, groundbreaking was held for the Shaver Green Building in Portland, Oregon, on a site previously considered blighted. Shaver Green, a six-story, 89,000 sq. ft. apartment building designed by DECA Architecture, will offer 85 housing units. Seventy-five of these units will be workforce housing, intended for persons earning 60% or less than the county’s median income. Ten units will be reserved for people earning 30% or less than the county’s median income. (According to the Portland Daily Journal of Commerce, Multnomah County’s 2-person household median income is $32,580.)

Armstrong Stafford LCC, the developer of Shaver Green, also hopes the building will achieve LEED Gold or Platinum certification. The structure will include solar panels, recycle 95 percent of its construction and demolition waste, and use stormwater for irrigation. The property is also being built to have a lifespan of at least 60 years, and therefore will offer significantly more sustainability than a typical affordable housing project.

The project received funding from the Portland Development Commission, the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area, and federal HOME funds.

Photo Credit: portlandobserver.com

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