Despite delays caused by the pandemic, Habitat for Humanity’s construction crews are going strong. With three communities currently underway, we are seeing strides in construction output that could hardly be expected when Oregon essentially shut down seven months ago. Nevertheless, thanks to our staff, a barebones team of regular volunteers, and the dedicated cohort of homebuyers, over 52 affordable homes are under construction in North and Northeast Portland’s Portsmouth, Kenton, and Cully Neighborhoods.
Perhaps the most exciting news is the near completion of 12 homes off North Lombard Street. With homebuyers and their families getting ready to move in, Habitat crews at the site are clearing out a punch list of final touches, including finalizing city inspections, planting grass and trees, and installing interior fixtures. Once this is finished and the Certificates of Occupancy are in hand, we will sweep the floors, clean the windows, and send well wishes to each of the families who will soon call this community home.
As for the two other communities we’re building in North and Northeast Portland, progress moves steadily forward. In the Kenton neighborhood, the first phase consisting of 12 homes is concluding . Reaching three stories high, the first building has power installed, kitchen cabinets mounted, flooring set, and showers tiled—even new public sidewalks! Over the next few weeks, there will be landscaping, balconies installed, and other finishing touches in store.
These homes are set to be finished this fall and will be move-in ready by the holidays.
“It is exciting to see so many dedicated homebuyers move into their new homes, especially just before the holidays,” says Construction Coordinator Melissa Robson, who works behind the scenes to ensure that Habitat deadlines are met. In total, we will welcome 24 families into their new homes by the New Year.
Simpson Street homes in the Cully Neighborhood make up Habitat’s newest community. The 10-home development has concrete slabs poured and will soon have framing finished on the first house. Over the next couple of months, four structures will be framed—two duplexes and two triplexes. And though progress marches onward, the joyful buzz of this Habitat build site lacks the normal chorus of enthusiastic voices from our volunteers.
As an organization, Habitat is heeding health officials’ advice on COVID precautions on all of our sites, which affects how we rely on volunteers to build, but not necessarily on our build schedules.
“In non-COVID times, now would be the stage that we would really be ramping up volunteers at sites like Kilpatrick and Simpson,” Melissa explains. “Unfortunately, with COVID numbers in Oregon rising, we will be holding off on ramping up volunteers until it is safer for our staff and volunteers. Instead, we’re working with a great framing trade partner to get the homes framed.”
Still, our work continues diligently with the help of local contractors and our talented construction crews.