News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Affordable housing projects underway

A project that will add eight affordable housing units to the local inventory is underway at the ClearPine development at the north end of Pine Street in Sisters.

The 2007 development agreement between the City of Sisters and developer 3 Sisters Partners required that the developer provide for eight affordable units. According to developer Peter Hall, that requirement is being fulfilled by two rental units being constructed by the developers themselves, and six townhomes to be built by Sisters Habitat for Humanity.

The development agreement called for occupancy by May 2020. Hall says that the rental units will be completed and on the market by May; the timeline has been pushed out on the Habitat homes.

The rental units consist of a two-bedroom/two bathroom house and a detached one-bedroom unit on Heising Drive.

“The main house can accept a family of four, and the detached unit will accommodate a family of two people,” Hall told The Nugget.

The rents for both units will be based on HUD (Housing and Urban Development) rental schedules with renter income levels not to exceed 80 percent AMI (average median income) for Deschutes County.

“Designed by Adam Peterson of Muddy River Design, these units will blend very well with other homes in ClearPine,” Hall said. “The construction features all the latest appliances, HVAC systems and premium building materials throughout. It will earn an Earth Advantage Platinum certification when complete, which means very low utility bills for occupants.”

Sisters Habitat for Humanity will build six townhomes designed by Jason Todd Design. Todd, a Sisters resident, designed adjacent townhomes in the development, and the Habitat homes are designed to fit the character of the neighborhood.

“Jason works with Peter, and Peter asked him to help us — and we said thank you,” said Habitat Executive Director Sharlene Weed.

The project utilizes funding from Oregon’s Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) Housing Program, which helped offset land costs, Weed told The Nugget.

Five of the townhomes will be 807 square feet and one will be 661 square feet.

“It’s a little smaller than we usually build,” Weed said.

Habitat has built zero-lot-line homes and townhouses before, but it’s been three or four years since they’ve done such a project, Weed said.

The houses will be suitable for single occupants, a couple with no children or a single parent with one child.

Weed said that two families have been designated for homes and others are in the process. Habitat requires that families receiving homes put in 200 hours of “sweat equity” working on building Habitat homes or in support roles helping the organization.

“We have selected families, but they haven’t hit that threshold yet,” Weed said.

Hall noted that all six townhomes will be also be Earth Advantage Platinum certified, resulting in low utility expenses for the owners.

The process of applying for LIFT funding delayed the start of construction, which has been further impeded by the shutdown associated with the battle against COVID-19.

The shutdown has severely impacted Habitat’s operations, particularly impacting its Thrift Store and ReStore, which provide key revenue for Habitat’s work.

“It’s horrible,” Weed said. “Our stores are closed, our revenue streams have dried up. Maybe when we’re getting ready to come out of this, we’ll be ready to break ground over there.”

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit www.frontierpartisans.com.

 

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