500 new homes at Hillside Park mean better housing and affordability for residents

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Clackamas County exceeds goal for affordable housing construction

March 21, 2024 -- Yesterday the Housing Authority of Clackamas County Board approved the next steps in the redevelopment of Hillside Park in Milwaukie. The phased project will ultimately convert 100 aging homes built in 1942 into 500 beautiful new affordable apartment homes with modern amenities. “Understanding how the regional housing shortage impacts Clackamas County residents, our board had a goal to build 1500 new affordable homes by 2025,” Clackamas County Board of Commissioners Chair Tootie Smith said. “Including Hillside Park, we are developing over 2000 new homes, exceeding our goals. This project allows us to sustain safe and affordable housing for generations to come,” Smith said. “It is a milestone that we’re here today,” said Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas. “I think back to Hillside Park even a decade ago. I saw that the old wartime housing was not in good shape. The health of people who live here is important. Insulation, sewers, structural defects, these things impact health and safety. This is a win for our residents and for the region with the extra homes we’re building,” Savas said.

Through engineering studies, the Housing Authority of Clackamas County found that the current homes had substantial physical issues that cannot be corrected. The county’s intent is to begin construction in the summer of 2024 and complete construction in summer 2026. The new housing community will include a playground, gardens, onsite property management and resident services, a landscaped plaza, community rooms, bike rooms and laundry on every floor.

The Housing Authority of Clackamas County has been working with current residents of Hillside Park for close to a year to prepare for this transition, and most of the residents have already moved into new homes. While there are still a few remaining residents, new homes have been identified and financial assistance covers moving expenses, security deposits and other fees. Staff have been working diligently with all residents on tenant rights, how to build credit, completing paperwork, homeownership opportunities, and more. Residents receive a Section 8 voucher to rent a safe and decent house in a location of their choice. Current residents also receive the first choice to move back into the newly built community after construction is completed in 2026.

Ann Leenstra is the public housing resident member of the Housing Authority of Clackamas County Board. Leenstra herself moved from an aging property to a newer affordable home in 2022. “I have friends from Hillside Park who I visit,” Leenstra said. “I saw how the old houses were and I thought about my new home now, and I just want them to have as nice of a place as I have. Clackamas County has done a stunning job building much needed new housing. We’ve accomplished more than anyone thought was possible.”

For more information, the recording from yesterday’s Board decision can be found here.

hillside current and rendering

Department Staff
Claire Okeke