Hope is building: Habitat’s homebuilding updates from four future communities

March has arrived, and Habitat staff and volunteers have been working hard this winter on all five active construction sites. We’re excited to share the progress at each community, and what we have planned going forward this spring.  

Foster Commons 

Several homeowners have moved into Foster Commons already, with more to arrive shortly.

Spring evokes images of flowers blooming, grass growing, and berries budding. Foster Commons, Habitat’s 40-home community in Portland’s Pleasant Valley neighborhood, perfectly captures the essence of spring with its new plants and landscaping.  

“It’s not looking like a construction site anymore. It’s starting to look like an actual community with grass and plants,” said the site’s construction superintendent, Travis Schultz.  

Present and future homeowners in this community can expect to come home to blueberries, huckleberries, green grass, ferns, and other flowers to brighten Oregon’s everlasting rainy spring. 

In addition to developing quite the green thumb, Habitat staff and volunteers have been working on paint touch ups, obtaining certificates of occupancy, and handing off more keys to homeowners. Volunteers have just finished building back porches and a bike enclosure just in time for warmer weather.  

Foster, Habitat’s most mature site, is expected to be completed – with all homeowners moved in – by summer 2024.  

Century Commons 

The Portland Youth Builders built and raised several walls at Century Commons over the past few weeks.

Century Commons, Habitat’s 18-home community in Hillsboro’s Reedville neighborhood, has seen a lot of action in the past couple of months. Young people are constructing the future out at this site, with the Portland Youth Builders and AmeriCorps NCCC being the main volunteer groups to date.  

Gerard Hoogeboom, the site’s construction superintendent, said it’s amazing to help these groups learn and grow.  

“You can do that with every age, but it helps to get younger people interested and into it so that in 5, 10, or 15 years, they can work at Habitat, or donate to the organization,” he said.  

Both groups, alongside regular volunteers, have been framing the first couple of buildings and pouring the foundational slabs on the others. Gerard said he’s looking forward to having more volunteers on site for framing and making progress in other areas. Daily volunteers should be on site within the next month or so.  

Up next, staff and volunteers will work on constructing the roof trusses — which creates a roof’s frame — and roof sheathing, which is the layer of wood on top of the trusses. Then, it’ll be time to start working on the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical aspects of the site.  

Swift progress is being made at Century Commons, so keep your eye out for videos and updates on social media!  

West Lake Grove 

A digital rendering of West Lake Grove, Habitat’s future community in Lake Oswego.

There’s been a significant amount of activity on this site since our last update. This past December, community members, Habitat staff, and locally elected officials gathered for a site celebration of this 23-home community in the Lake Grove neighborhood of Lake Oswego.   

Ryan Martini, the site’s construction superintendent, said we have now completed mass grading, which means changing the topography of the land to make it more buildable. It was a lot of work; in some areas, he said, there were 10 feet of fill material that they had to bring in and compact to bring everything into the right grade plane.  

Right now, Habitat staff are installing new stormwater lines and sanitary sewer lines in the public street. We are working with the City of Lake Oswego to find a traffic control plan to close two northbound lanes of Boones Ferry Road so we can start digging underground, even up to 15 or 20 feet deep in some areas. Once that work is done, we will move onto the site and begin installing the private stormwater and sanitary systems, as well as other utilities.  

The construction of this community is a significant development in affordable housing for Lake Oswego, where the median price of a home is around $900,000.   

The 23 homes will either have 3 or 4 bedrooms, and all are visitable in terms of accessibility. Many of the homes have a room and a bathroom on the first floor so someone unable to climb stairs would be able to live or visit.   

This site is on a very similar construction timeline to our community along Taylors Ferry Road, Twenty Fifth Terrace Condominiums. Keep reading to learn more about it! 

Twenty Fifth Terrace Condominiums  

A digital rendering of one of the buildings at Twenty Fifth Terrace Condominiums in southwest Portland.

The site of Habitat’s 17-home community in southwest Portland has been cleared and graded. Project Manager Leigh Armstrong said that we hauled off a whopping 12,000 cubic yards of dirt in about a thousand well-packed truckloads!  

A lot of that dirt went to be repurposed at West Lake Grove, which helped save money and emissions.  

Much like the approach at West Lake Grove, Habitat staff are installing stormwater and sanitary lines within the public right of way on Lancaster Road, connecting them to the city’s system. They’re working their way through the intersection and will soon move onto the site to start installing private utilities.  

“I love this kind of work,” said Greta Brown, the site’s construction superintendent.  

Next steps include working on the sidewalks and stormwater bioswale, which collects the stormwater runoff and treats it before the water is discharged to the local waterway.  

The biggest difference between this site and West Lake Grove is the steep slope at Twenty Fifth Terrace, which slightly hinders the pace of work. Nevertheless, the sites are neck and neck in terms of progress.  

“It’s a race to the finish,” Leigh said.  

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