City green lights $8.2M affordable housing apartment complex

By Dick Mason, The Observer July 10, 2013 11:15 am
ISLAND CITY — A Portland real estate company received the go ahead Monday night to pursue the development of a $8.2 million 38-unit apartment complex along Walton Road that would provide federally subsidized affordable housing.

The Island City City Council voted unanimously to let Guardian Real Estate Services of Portland continue taking preliminary steps toward getting an apartment complex, which would be known as Blue Springs Crossing, constructed.

The apartments would be managed by the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority. Blue Springs Crossing would fill an important void in Union County, said Dale Inslee, the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority’s executive director. 

“There is a great need in this area for affordable, safe, sanitary housing for families,” Inslee said.

The council gave the green light to Guardian Real Estate after an attempt to build an apartment complex at the same site by another firm failed early this year. The attempt was scuttled in part because of legal issues related to zoning variances that needed to be granted. 

“We will try to design a plan which will have no need for variances,’’ said Daniel Steffey, senior vice president for Guardian Real Estate Services.

The complex would have 16 one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom units and 10 three-bedroom units. The complex’s features would include a community center building where residents could meet for dinners and other functions. 

The 38 units at Blue Springs Crossing would add to the approximately 210 the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority already manages. The Northeast Oregon Housing Authority is a non-profit organization, which manages government-subsidized units in Union, Wallowa, Baker and Grant counties

The units managed by the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority include the May Park complex in La Grande. The complex has 40 units. 

Inslee assured the council the complex would not fall into disrepair because of the government standards the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority would have to comply with while managing it.

“Government rules will keep it in great shape,’’ Inslee said.