River Bend Place is one of the largest construction projects in Malheur County history

Photos above: Speakers at the opening celebration for River Bend Place on July 15.

Northwest Housing Alternatives (NHA), a leading not-for-profit developer of affordable housing in Oregon, celebrated the opening of 56 new units of affordable, supportive housing at River Bend Place in Ontario in July, and The Roundhouse Foundation is pleased to have helped support it.

One of the largest construction projects in Malheur County history, River Bend Place is an adaptive re-use and substantial rehabilitation of the former Presbyterian Community Care Center, a senior care center that previously served the Ontario community for decades. 

The development at 998 Fortner Street includes 16 studios, 23 one-bedroom and 17 two-bedroom units aimed at meeting the needs of individuals and families at or below 60 percent of the area median income.  Rents will range from $377 to $970 per month.  Sixteen of the units will have supportive services and housing vouchers attached with them as part of U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s 811 program and Oregon Housing and Community Services’ new Permanent Supportive Housing program for those identified as chronically homeless. 

A network of local providers including Lifeways, Community in Action, Euvalcree, Department of Human Services, Valley Family Healthcare, and Oregon Health Authority will provide services to these units to support stability.  In addition, a consortium of several other local service providers and community organizations will provide a range of support to assist residents with food security, healthcare, employment, financial wellness and community engagement. 

“Northwest Housing Alternatives works to elevate communities by building and maintaining affordable housing with on-site service partners that are focused on specific needs and populations.  The residents of River Bend Place will benefit greatly from the community partnerships connected to this project,” said Trell Anderson, NHA Executive Director. “NHA is proud of this top-quality development, and we will continue to maintain and support this building for decades to come.”  

The Roundhouse Foundation provided funding toward development of the complex’s outdoor area, improving the landscaping and adding much needed site furnishings to exterior areas at the property. Ontario has a true, four-seasons climate, where community members enjoy spending time outside, and the residents of River Bend Place are no exception.

“Beautiful, functional, and welcoming outdoor spaces are not present at most multi-family properties in town so having benches, picnic tables, and other outdoor sitting areas are a true bonus amenity for residents,” aid Clayton Crowhurst, housing developer at NHA. “These spaces also provide a perfect neutral space for service providers to meet with residents who may not yet be comfortable meeting with someone in an office or clinical setting.”

He added that without support from Roundhouse, it would have been impossible to afford anything but the bare essentials for the exterior of the property — trash cans and dog stations. “The support and funding of RHF is imperative to this scope of work,” said Crowhurst.

At the opening celebration on July 15, two guests who’d worked at the former senior care center for more than 20 years told Crowhurst how impressed they were with the transformation of the building and that they were happy to see it have a second life. 

“This idea of a new beginning for a building with so much history in the community has been echoed by so many that have experiences with family members spending their last years there or folks who sang Christmas carols to residents as part of school groups in years past,” Crowhurst said. “It is also a testament to the community input that went into creating this project and the thoughtfulness that went into the redesign by Carleton Hart Architecture.”

River Bend Place is close to downtown Ontario, several parks and many service providers. The building includes a large central community room available for reservations by residents and community organizations. Several smaller meeting and living room spaces, case management and resident services offices, telemedicine and counseling center, large outdoor sitting areas and generous parking round out the amenities. 

At $17.8 million development is one of the largest residential construction projects in the history of Malheur County and has received support from the city and county government as well as the state representatives for the district. Funding for River Bend Place has been provided by:  Oregon Housing & Community Services, Housing and Urban Development, low-income tax credits by National Equity Fund, permanent lending from the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing, construction lending by Umpqua Bank, and additional funds for the building and grounds from Oregon Health Authority, The Roundhouse Foundation and the Ford Family Foundation. The project benefited from NHA’s long standing relationship with Carleton Hart Architecture and LMC Construction, both of whom ensured this challenging adaptive reuse was executed to the highest standards.

Founded in 1982, Northwest Housing Alternatives (NHA) is a leading not-for-profit developer of affordable housing in Oregon. The mission is to create opportunity through housing. NHA develops, builds, and manages rental housing designed for Oregonians with extremely limited incomes. Along with providing affordable housing, NHA provides services that connect tenants to critical health and community resources, work to prevent homelessness before it begins, and offer emergency shelter and services for families experiencing homelessness. Learn more at nwhousing.org.

Photos below: Scenes from the opening celebration for River Bend Place on July 15.

Published On: July 25th, 2022 / Categories: Featured Grant Stories, Grant News /