Affordable housing in Oregon reached a watershed November 6 with the opening of Good Shepherd Village in Happy Valley

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Happy Valley, Ore. (11/6/23) – Today Clackamas County, Catholic Charities of Oregon, and partners opened 142 affordable apartment homes in Happy Valley. “I’d like to welcome Good Shepherd Village,” said Happy Valley Mayor Tom Ellis. “We support this project wholeheartedly.”

Good Shepherd Village sets a tone for affordable housing in Oregon’s smaller communities, where until now the notion has been that major affordable housing developments are something for big cities. The colorful development includes the 1,000th home created under a $652.8 million Metro Housing Bond passed by Portland area voters in 2018.

Good Shepherd Village will be home to hundreds of families, seniors and veterans who have struggled with the region’s high housing costs. Residents who have been homeless will receive social services and case management provided by Catholic Charities and funded by Clackamas County. The village is the first affordable housing in Happy Valley and the largest development of its kind in the county.

“As a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, I’m appreciative that several units will be set aside for veterans,” said Ellis. “By working together, I believe we can help connect our community members to services they need.”

Since its incorporation as a city southeast of Portland in 1965, Happy Valley has grown from a rural district with a population of approximately 300 people to a suburban town of more than 26,000 residents. Planners included parks, meandering trails, well-maintained streets, quaint neighborhoods and clean commercial centers. As part of that identity, current leaders of the city and county recognized a need for well-done affordable housing.

“The county’s population is growing fast,” said Clackamas County Commissioner Shull, himself a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “At the same time, the need for affordable housing has increased. We see this in insufficient housing stock and an increase in rental costs. Our working families are struggling.”

The county has completed construction or has started development on more than 1,500 new affordable homes in the last two years. Homelessness in the county has decreased by more than 30% in one year.

“Good Shepherd Village is the next step in our strategy to ensure Clackamas County is safe and secure for everyone who lives and works here,” Shull said. “As the good shepherd parable teaches us to treat people in need with concern and care, we too must emulate that.”

The design of the development includes a bright palette for the outside of buildings and two dozen colorful murals inside painted by Emily Kepulis and Paola de la Cruz. The murals pay tribute to the area’s flora and fauna as well as depictions of communal harmony.

ribbon cutting ceremony at Good Shepard