Home to the third largest veteran population in the state, Clackamas County has a long established goal to serve veterans and end veteran homelessness.
The Clayton Mohr Commons—24 fully-subsidized housing units for chronically homeless veterans and their families—is being named for local veteran Clayton A. Mohr, and will be officially dedicated on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, at 11 a.m. at 399 Caufield Street in Oregon City. The public is welcome to attend the ceremony.
Clackamas County’s Housing Authority worked with partner Northwest Housing Alternatives (NHA) to build the new housing at a site conveniently located near community resources, including transit, grocery stores and health care providers, to meet the needs of veterans and their families. NHA is the leading not-for-profit developer of affordable housing in Oregon.
“It’s our absolute honor to develop this affordable housing project,” said Trell Anderson, Executive Director of Northwest Housing Alternatives. “And we look forward to future efforts with the Housing Authority and Clackamas County to build more homes like this.”
During the fall of 2018, the county’s Housing Authority reached out to the public and solicited nominations for the naming of the project to honor a local veteran. In total, 97 submissions were received representing 49 unique individuals. A committee of Housing Authority staff, county staff and local veterans reviewed and discussed all of the entries before selecting U.S. Navy veteran Mohr.
Mohr’s daughter Tiffany Shireman nominated her father for the naming of the project. When she told her dad that the new veterans housing would be named for him, she described the moment as quiet yet powerful.
“Just silence—then he said with a little crack in his voice, ‘I’m so honored’ there were not a lot of words,” said Shireman about her dad who she calls a “Quiet Hero.”
Mohr served from 1966 to 1970 as an aviation mechanic with a specialty in hydraulics. He worked on the aircraft carrier USS Hancock, in hangars and machine shops in Guam, the Philippines and Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. He is a Blue Water Navy Veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange while serving on open sea ships off the shore of Vietnam and Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
Today, he assists other veterans in Clackamas County by providing them with rides to necessary appointments, engaging with veterans at local resource fairs, fundraising for medical transport vans for veterans, and socializing with veterans who struggle with daily life.
“When a local disabled veteran without immediate family passed away, Dad and another local veteran tirelessly cleaned out his apartment by moving furniture, cleaning out trash and trying to maintain the veteran’s dignity even after his death,” said Shireman. “His work is humble, often thankless, selfless work.”
Mohr has held multiple roles in the Oregon City Chapter #4 of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and currently serves as the Senior Vice Commander.
“His generosity to veterans and his commitment to his fellow veterans is defined by his willingness to help wherever he’s needed,” Shireman said. “When a DAV chapter in the state needs assistance with a project, he makes himself available for everything from serving food to setting up for community events.”
Surrounded by his family, Mohr was recognized on Sept. 19 by representatives of the Housing Authority and the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners during a weekly public business meeting.
“It is with great respect for Mr. Mohr’s service to our country and community that we honor him and all veterans who serve to ensure our liberty with the opening of Clayton Mohr Commons,” said Jill Smith, Director of Housing and Housing Services for the Clackamas County Health, Housing and Human Services Department. “We will now have a place where homeless veterans can come with their families and feel proud of the name of their residence.”
“The new building for the veterans means so much to so many. I’m honored,” said Mohr about the building to display his name to the commissioners and representatives of the Housing Authority with his family watching in the audience. “We need more of those, but every bit helps. Thank you.”
The Clayton Mohr Commons project was constructed by NHA for the Housing Authority of Clackamas County using cost efficient design and construction methods and creative financing outside of the traditional tax credit process. Home Depot helped to fund the construction of this project.