Construction and Design
When will construction begin?
Construction is planned to begin in summer 2022, and is expected to last approximately 18 months. There will be another community meeting/open house prior to the start of construction. We will widely publicize the meeting in advance. At that meeting we will discuss working hours, truck routes, and establish a means of communication between neighbors and members of the construction team
How many apartments will be in the new building?
There will be 100 affordable rental apartments in the new building.
The new building will be set back from the road. Why not build the new building somewhere else on site?
Through discussions with the community, we have heard strong preference for preserving the open space and landscaping on campus. Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary U.S.–Ontario Province (SNJM) Leadership made it clear that they intend to retain as much open space on campus as possible. Locating the new building in approximately the same footprint as the two former dormitory buildings SNJM had previously identified as being unsuitable for reuse provided the best opportunity to ensure existing open space was retained to the extent possible.
How will this development impact Mary’s Woods?
We do not anticipate any significant impacts to Mary’s Woods during construction or operation. The nearest Mary’s Woods building is over 1,000 feet from the proposed affordable housing, and separated by dense forest. Vehicle access to the affordable housing will be from Furman Drive. The development is not proposing any new roads or other connections to Mary’s Woods.
Why is the proposed development one building instead of several smaller buildings?
We are striving to accomplish multiple goals, which we have heard from the community: maintaining existing open space on campus, creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly building, ensuring accessibility for residents and guests, creating community within the building, and being good stewards of the public funding sources financing the project. We feel the single building approach strikes a balance between these goals.
What sustainability features will the building pursue?
Mercy Housing Northwest and SNJM have strong mission alignment with being good stewards of the earth and are pursuing ambitious sustainability goals for the project. The building will be 100% electric, with high-efficiency LED lighting throughout, ultra-high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, high-efficiency windows, and Energy-Star rated appliances. The development will also include a densely landscaped bioretention planter to treat storm water runoff before it enters the nearby streams and waterways. A solar photovoltaic system will also be designed into the roof design of the project. Many sustainability decisions will be made as design progresses, with the goal of reducing power and water usage as much as possible and improving quality of life of future residents.
Is the development pursuing Universal Design?
Yes. Universal Design is a suite of design considerations that amplify accessibility. These include ensuring people with mobility challenges, hearing and vision impairment, and other cognitive challenges, can live in and visit the building with minimal use of aids. Apartments will be accessible without having to go up or down stairs, will have access to elevators, will have large clearance areas around doorways, appliances, and fixtures, and will be designed to accommodate grab bars as needed by residents.
Will there be reserved accessible parking spaces for the project?
Yes. New accessible parking spaces will be located near the main building entry. Pathways between the accessible parking spaces and main building entry will be designed in conformance with the most current Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Will there be features for teens, like a basketball court?
The current design includes several informal gathering spaces, both indoor and outdoor, where teens and young adults can gather and socialize. We feel the adjacent open space on campus will fulfill many of the recreation needs teens and young adults seek. As design progresses, we will continue to seek creative ways to incorporate amenities for teens and young adults in a way that complements the tranquility of the campus.
What is a mix of different sized apartments?
The proposed building will have 17 one-bedroom apartments, 61 two-bedroom apartments, and 22 three-bedroom apartments.
Why are there no balconies for apartments on the upper floors?
We strive to connect residents to the outdoors with gracious, programmed outdoor amenity spaces, which are included in the proposed design. These features include patios on ground floor units, landscaped areas, seating, places for family dining and large gatherings, and play areas for children. Furthermore, one of the funding sources for the development, the Oregon Housing and Community Services Division (OHCS) discourages projects receiving their funding to include balconies because of their propensity to cause long-term maintenance challenges related to water intrusion.
How many elevators will the building have?
There will be two elevators located near the center of the building. There will also be two stairwells with access to the outside for residents who chose to take the stairs. All ground floor units will be accessible without requiring the use of stairs or elevators.
Are all first-floor apartments accessible from the outside?
All first floor apartments will have access to a private patio, buffered from other outdoor common spaces by landscaping. Every apartment will also be accessible from the shared interior corridor, which is how we anticipate most residents will enter and exit their homes.
What is the total square footage of the new building?
The proposed building is approximately 102,000 gross square feet.
How will the building be designed to soundproof between floors?
All Mercy Housing Northwest’s new properties pursue wall and floor assemblies that exceed the code minimums to ensure greater resident comfort. We engage with acoustical engineers as needed to help us design these assemblies to minimize noise transfer.
Will the building be visible from Old River Road or Arbor Drive?
No. The building will be shorter than the trees bordering the site. We do not expect it will be visible through the dense forest.
Operation and Property Management
Who will manage the property?
Mercy Housing Management Group, a subsidiary of Mercy Housing, will manage the property. Mercy Housing Management group has over 30 years of experience and manages over 330 affordable housing communities throughout the country. Multiple property management staff will work in the building.
Will there be services available onsite?
Yes. Mercy Housing believes a family’s lack of financial resources should not determine their ability to access high-quality and safe affordable housing or a good education. Beyond housing, we provide onsite Resident Services that focus on five key program areas – housing stability, health and wellness, community engagement, education, and financial wellbeing. Providing these critical programs where residents live ensures that home is a platform for kids to thrive in school, for families to improve their financial stability, and for residents to have greater knowledge and access to improve their health and wellness. Mercy Housing Northwest offers a number of programs focused on educational success and out-of-school time for children living in our communities. Many of these programs are available to other families living nearby. When combined with the stability, security, and pride of having a place to call home, these services help Mercy Housing residents work toward self sufficiency.
Will the affordable workforce housing project impact neighborhood safety and security?
Public safety and security are among the things residents and neighbors of Mercy Housing communities value most, and we have established a record of successfully developing properties that meet those needs. Effective strategies include our onsite resident services and professional property management staff. We also know that Sisters have chosen to live on the Marylhurst Commons site, and they share our commitment to creating a safe and thriving place to call home.
Will the affordable workforce housing development impact parking and traffic?
Mercy Housing Northwest has engaged Kittelson and Associates, a regional expert in evaluating transportation and parking for development projects. The city will be reviewing parking and transportation as part of the Land Use Development Review process. We expect many of the residents of the community will be people who work in Lake Oswego; rather than adding trips, this would make commutes shorter for future residents of the community. We expect many residents will rely on public transit for many of their trips. We anticipate that many residents will work within walking or biking distance of the property at Mary’s Woods senior living community or one of the many nearby small businesses.
How does Mercy Housing typically fill the housing? Will there be priority for the Mary’s Woods workers?
Ensuring working families have access to high-quality, affordable homes close to services and jobs is a key component of the mission of Mercy Housing Northwest. Due to Fair Housing regulations, we do not anticipate that there will be a priority for, or requirement that residents work at specific nearby businesses. However, through Mercy Housing Northwest’s marketing plan and outreach, we do anticipate working closely with Mary’s Woods, nearby employers, and other organizations so that the housing will be a resource for working families in the area.
Will there be on-site property managers?
Yes. There will be onsite Property Management, Resident Services, and Maintenance staff. Maintenance staff are available 24/7 in case of emergency.
Will one-bedroom apartments be reserved for couples and small families or will individuals be able to rent them as well?
One-bedroom apartments can be rented by individuals as well as couples and small families. It is also common for seniors to rent one-bedroom apartments at our communities even if the properties do not include specific age restrictions.
What are the resident eligibility requirements?
The property will be reserved for “Income Qualified” individuals and households earning no more than 60% of the Area Median Income. In the Metropolitan Portland area, 60% of Area Median Income for a family of four is $58,020 (as of 2021). Residents pay approximately 30% of their income for rent.
In similar Mercy Housing Northwest affordable workforce housing properties, residents tend to work in service jobs such as food service, healthcare, and retail—people many of us interact with on a daily basis at the grocery store, the pharmacy, or local restaurant. You can learn more about Area Median Income and Income-Qualified housing here.
Is there a resident work requirement?
Residents are required to demonstrate ability to pay rent in order to be approved for a lease. Mercy Housing does not discriminate based on source of income.
Will residents need to have legal status to qualify for housing?
All residents must have a valid Social Security Number in order to qualify for a lease.
How is the development being funded?
The development is receiving funding from several competitive public funding sources. The project received a funding award from the Oregon Community and Housing Service department (OHCS), and will also use the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, also administered by OHCS. Private financing partners will be part of the development as well. The public funding sources require Mercy Housing Northwest to make a 50 year commitment to ensure the housing stays affordable for income-qualifying households. Onsite Resident Services programs will be funded by rent revenue, philanthropic relationships, and other revenue raised by Mercy Housing Northwest.
Are there ways for neighbors to be involved in the community once it is open?
Yes! When the building opens in 2023, there will be opportunities for onsite services staff to work with individuals and groups who are interested in volunteering as part of our new community. More details will be available when the construction is underway and Resident Services planning ramps up, starting in 2022.
How many people will live in the building when completed?
The number of people living at the property depends on the household size of the residents. At other properties with similar types and sizes of units, household sizes vary widely, from single adults and seniors to large households with multiple children. As we begin to lease apartments several months prior to the building opening, we will have a clearer understanding of how many people we expect will call the new property home.
In what school district is the proposed housing located?
School-aged residents of the new building will be served by the Lake Oswego School District. Mercy Housing Northwest has already engaged the Lake Oswego School District and District staff are eager to partner with Mercy Housing Northwest Resident Services Staff to ensure all school-aged residents of the new community have the resources they need to succeed in school.
Marylhurst Commons Questions
Will the campus remain open to the public?
Yes. The new building will replace two former dormitory buildings on the east side of campus, with no changes public access.
Is this the first of multiple phases of redevelopment?
SNJM leadership does not plan to develop other parts of campus.
Will any existing buildings be removed to make way for this development?
Yes. The Thompson, Baxter, and O’Hara buildings will be removed as part of this development. SNJM has determined that the buildings are not good candidates for reuse, and are not up to current seismic, energy, or life safety standards.
Will any of the historic buildings on campus be changed?
No. The project will occupy a similar building footprint to the Thompson, Baxter, and O’Hara buildings, which are not considered historic. No other buildings on campus will be altered.
Do the Sisters of the Holy Names envision using any part of the campus for a preschool or other school?
There are no plans to add any new educational facilities on campus. The current focus for reusing the campus is on office use for nonprofit organizations with mission and values in alignment with SNJM.
Will this new building be the tallest building on campus?
No. The BP John Administration Building is taller than the proposed building. The Saint Catherine is approximately the same height as the proposed building.
Will the trees on the east side of campus near Old River Road be preserved?
Yes. The trees on the east side of the existing driveway and parking area will be preserved. A “tree protection zone” will be established with fencing and signs during construction.