SERA teamed with ROSE Community Development, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Housing Development Center and O’Neill/Walsh Community Builders to design and build this mixed-use affordable apartment building in outer Southeast Portland. The four-story, 48 unit building is located at the intersection of SE 82nd Avenue and SE Division Street in the Jade District. The unit mix is geared toward young families and features one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The site was identified as a priority to further develop the community fabric during the Jade District Visioning Plan.
The roughly triangular site is situated between a neighborhood of single-family homes and one of Portland’s busiest streets (Division Street), which unlike most Portland neighborhoods is not well designed for pedestrians. The 51,700-square-foot building responds to those conditions in a number of ways, including serving as a visual and aural buffer between the residential neighborhood and the thoroughfare, as well as integrating pedestrian-friendly amenities to dramatically enhance the urban experience. By pulling the building back from the property line along Division Street, an expansive, flexible, protected plaza is created which can accommodate a variety of events including markets, food vendors and community gatherings. The addition of natural screening elements help to further buffer traffic from the development and the neighborhood. The front plaza features custom-designed furniture to create a welcoming environment. In addition to the front plaza along Division Street, a small rear courtyard including a children’s playground is included.
The building exterior is composed of a mix of brick, glass, and painted metal panels. The use of brick at street level adds a rich materiality to the pedestrian experience; oblique-angled bricks at the building's corners adds further second-look visual interest. Steel canopies provide shelter over entries. The building’s brick base contrasts with the brightness and pop of color used to wrap the upper floors, fitting with the eclectic energy of the surrounding neighborhood. Offices and gathering spaces, including rentable events rooms are located on street level, with three levels of residential units above. Guests are greeted by a generous, double-height lobby space. Custom-designed wood benches in the lobby and shared ground floor spaces are built of reclaimed materials from the furniture store that originally stood on the site. The development also includes a multi-cultural event space that will be owned and managed by APANO for community gatherings. The interiors are light-filled with garden-like spaces, resulting in a meditative and restorative environment. Benches are also located near the elevators on every level so that residents and guests have a comfortable place to wait or rest packages.
The project was awarded funding by Oregon Housing and Community Services and the Portland Housing Bureau and tackles the issues of displacement, affordability, dangerous pedestrian conditions, and urban design to revitalize this suburban area. Near a future station of the planned Division Bus Rapid Transit project, this high density transit-oriented development will also include bike parking and parking for car-sharing programs. Metro contributed funding to this transit-oriented development, as well as the site itself, which is near a future Division Bus Rapid Transit station. The project includes bike parking and parking for car-sharing programs.
Throughout the project, from the funding application through design development, SERA led various community outreach events. The final site design reflects the thoughts and visions of the surrounding neighborhood as well as the input of the APANO and ROSE to establish a meaningful presence and create community activities in the Jade District. Targeting Earth Advantage Gold certification, the project focuses on social sustainability (specifically equity), placemaking and anti-displacement.
Project team SERA (architecture, interior design) O’Neill/Walsh Community Builders (general contractor) Froelich Engineers (structural engineering) Humber Design Group (civil engineering) Biella Lighting (lighting design) Mitra (environmental graphics) Professional Roof Consultants (envelope) ROSE Community Development (client) Housing Development Center (client) Metro (client) APANO (client)