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HAYC shooting for July finish of Deskins Commons

Weather delays set back completion date on affordable housing project


Construction on the $13 million, 56-unit Deskins Commons affordable housing complex lost 13 days to adverse weather since work was cleared to begin on July 24, but could still meet the broad estimate that the job would take 12 months to complete.  by: GARY ALLEN - Completion looms - Housing Authority of Yamhill County officials report that a group of three residential buildings on the southeastern portion of the property at 1103 N. Meridian St. are   substantially complete and are expected to be turned over to HAYC by the end of the month so that they may be inspected by the city.

The start of construction was delayed for a month, as several of the funding sources for Housing Authority of Yamhill County’s (HAYC) project took longer than expected to coordinate all of their requirements for closing, which was done July 23, according to HAYC director of housing development Jonia Carlson.

“We started late, but Bremik Construction, our general contractor there, has been just awesome to work with,” Carlson said. “They’re really been trying to make up time and pull it off.”

Since construction began, an additional 10 work days were lost to heavy rain in the fall, then three more due to due to snow. Carlson credited excellent communication between HAYC and Bremik as the main reason why the project is still shooting to finish by July 15.

Carlson reported that a group of three residential buildings on the southeastern portion of the property at 1103 N. Meridian St. are substantially complete and are expected to be turned over to HAYC by the end of the month so that they may be inspected by the city.

Two additional buildings in the northeast corner and the Ellen D. Todd House should reach that stage shortly after, with the renovations to the historic building in full swing currently, Carlson added. That effort has included replacing the house’s siding, including some original material that was salvaged for reuse, updating the wiring. Drywall instillation began last week.

“The main structure and framing have not changed, but we did need to bring it up to code in a lot of ways,” Carlson said. “The inside of the building will not just serve the residents but will be the manager’s office and resource room for the tenants and a little room for the community.”

The three-story apartment building, to be known as Building 3, will be the last to finish.

HAYC first proposed rezoning the property to high-density residential in 2010, drawing the ire of neighbors who were worried about traffic, compatibility and other issues. The rezoning request was eventually approved by the Newberg Planning Commission the following year, albeit narrowly.

Opposition to the project was more tempered when HAYC returned to the commission in December for the review of its site plans, which ultimately won the commissioners’ unanimous approval.

In light of the opposition, Carlson said that HAYC has attempted to go above and beyond to ensure the project goes smoothly and neighborhood complaints, which have mostly been about noise or the parking of construction vehicles on the street, are addressed promptly.

As it kicks off a marketing campaign, HAYC has begun taking names for the regular Deskins Commons waiting list at the main office in McMinnville. The rental application is posted online at www.hayc.org.

The complex will have some project-based units, which will be taken off the waiting list, which in turn is being formed from those interested and currently on the already-closed Section 8 tenant-based waiting list.

Section 8 tenant-based vouchers will be accepted at Deskins Commons, just like at other HAYC workforce housing projects, but HAYC executive director Elise Hui said it is not known when the Section 8 waiting list will open again, but that the county organization will provide public notice when it does.

For more information, call 503-883-4300.



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