Oregon Mixed-Use Development Planned for Low-Income Seniors

Bienestar and BRIDGE Housing's new project features a new public library and 45 apartments.

cornelius placeCornelius, Ore.—Bienestar Inc., and BRIDGE Housing are partnering on the development of Cornelius Place, a mixed-use development with a new public library and 45 apartments for seniors with low incomes, located in Cornelius, Ore.

The development, which received an award of low-income housing tax credits and grants from Oregon Housing and Community Services, is expected to break ground in the summer of 2017.

“Cornelius Place will be the cornerstone of a revitalized downtown Cornelius, building synergies between its residents and the library and encouraging all citizens to take advantage of the multi-use space,” Cynthia Parker, BRIDGE Housing’s president & CEO, told MHN. “At BRIDGE, we believe in strengthening communities and creating opportunities for people comprehensively, where quality housing is one ingredient among many.”

The residential component of the development will include two floors of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments for adults age 55+ with household incomes of up to 50-60 percent of area median income.

In addition to new space for the expanded public library, the property will feature community convening space, a YMCA center, a landscaped courtyard and a resident community room for social gatherings and resident programs.

“While developing property for affordable housing has been basic to our mission, Bienestar has always believed that providing high-quality housing is about much more than bricks and mortar—it is about developing security and community among residents, as well as connection to the broader community,” Ann Blaker, Bienestar’s executive director, told MHN. “We strive to complement the communities in which our properties are located.”

With its central, downtown location, Cornelius Place has been conceptualized as a holistic, vibrant development that leverages services of the Library, YMCA and City Hall as well as the adjacent elementary school, Centro Cultural community center, and Virginia Garcia Health Clinic. The site is within a couple of well-lit, tree-lined blocks with a grocery, restaurants, churches, civic, cultural and health resources.

The new library will provide a variety of services to support children, families, and seniors, including pre-reading and early education programs, student success programs and adult education.

According to Blaker, Bienestar will choose two peer-outreach workers to ensure all residents are aware of programs and opportunities coordinated by the Resident Services Department.

“It may be volunteer opportunities at the Cornelius Library downstairs, or at the Cornelius Elementary across the street,” she said. “Other activities will include connection to services at the Forest Grove Senior Center or Centro Cultural, as well as access to activities at Pacific University or the YMCA located on the first floor.  We visualize residents having coffee at the cafe, or helping maintain the landscaped courtyard.”

In addition to the OHCS allocation, Cornelius Place received local commitments of HOME dollars from Washington County and a number of Project Based Section 8 vouchers from the Housing Authority of Washington County, making the development financially feasible and allowing it to offer even deeper affordability.

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