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PENDLETON — The 70-unit South Hill Commons affordable housing complex in Pendleton could open at the end of January 2024, Terri Silvis, Horizon Project Inc. executive director, said.

The site is under construction on the 1300 to 1400 blocks of Southeast Franklin Grade Road, formerly Juvenile Detention Center Road. Plans call for one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

The 3.95-acre complex also is to feature a three-bedroom residential group home and several supported living apartments for community members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The design enables access for people of all abilities as well.

Horizon Project Inc., a nonprofit based in Milton-Freewater with offices in Pendleton and Hermiston, previously focused on providing support services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It expanded into affordable housing when it established Pioneer Commons, a Milton-Freewater complex combining a group home with affordable apartments. South Hill Commons is to operate along similar lines.

Silvis said the nonprofit is working with Cayuse Technologies, a Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation enterprise, to provide the development with internet connectivity.

South Hill Commons would provide 14 one-bedroom units, 38 with two bedrooms and 18 with three. Four two-story buildings are to house these apartments and the community space. The latter area features a multi-purpose room, kitchen, meeting room, two offices, play area, teen corner and restrooms. Residential buildings have laundry and utility rooms. Outdoor amenities are to be on-site parking, two trash enclosures and a central plaza with playground, seating and community gardens.

Horizon is developing the housing project with Carleton Hart Architecture of Portland. Although the area is sparsely populated, principal architect Brian Carleton told the council in 2021 construction of South Hill Commons could lead to more development in the area.

The general contractor is LMC Construction of Tualatin.

“South Hill Commons will address the housing affordability need and reduce housing cost burden to individuals and families,” Project Manager Jennifer Hoffman said in Carleton Hart’s March 2022 submission to the city for a conditional use permit.

The complex is to offer 40% of units to households with an annual income below 50% of the area median income, and the remaining 60% of units to households with an area median income of 60% or less, according to the submission.

“Horizon Project will partner with CAPECO to provide support services to families who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness, supported through CAPECO’s housing and homeless services,” Silvis said. “The project is being developed by Horizon Project in partnership with DCM Communities.” 

Supporting funders are Oregon Housing and Community Services, Columbia Bank, Raymond James Affordable Housing Investments, Energy Trust of Oregon, the Kuni Foundation and the Fairview Trust. The Pendleton City Council approved a land deal for the project on the east side of South Hill in February 2021. It granted Horizon Project an option to acquire city-owned land to build the South Hill Commons.

“We need affordable housing desperately in this town,” Mayor John Turner said at the time. “It’s a lot easier to build market rate housing than affordable housing.“

The Pendleton Planning Commission in April 2022 approved conditional use requests to construct the 65,846 square foot, multi-family residential development on a vacant 172,202 square foot lot the city owned. The project included an 1,800 square foot residential care facility.

Horizon’s application proposed four buildings within the site. The plan also included a single residential care home utilizing Horizon’s supportive services, and a community building. 

The commission approved two more land use processes at the same meeting. It vacated Southeast 13th and 14th streets between Jay Avenue and Franklin Grade Road, also called Isaac Avenue, east of Highway 11. It consolidated a lot and allowed a minor partition for the residential care home parcel through the replat process as well. The proposal contained easements for Umatilla County, public utilities, the residential care facility and signage.

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