Artist Live/Work Facility Under New Ownership

By David Krogh,

The artist communal living center, Milepost 5, in the Montavilla neighborhood at 850 NE 81st St., has been sold to CDP – Community Development Partners, a California- based business which develops and markets affordable housing projects in Oregon and California.

Milepost 5 began in 2007 with the support of then Mayor Sam Adams who had the intention of providing low cost live/work accommodations for artists here.

Rich Rodgers, Portland Development Manager for CDP, stated, “The facility will still provide for that need.”  CDP purchased the two older buildings at the site involved with artist housing/studios. The building with the condo units, however, is still under the ownership of the condo association that continues to market the condos for sale.

There are currently ninety-five artist units ranging from studios up to two bedroom units. These units all qualify as affordable, according to Rodgers. Rents will likely increase slightly as the building is older and in need of renovations, but are intended to still fall under the Federal affordable housing limit: renters cannot earn more than 60% of the median family income.

Rodgers said, “Twelve of the tenants will need to relocate as their incomes are above the qualification limit or they are students who do not qualify for the reduced rates. CDP will, however, voluntarily help those 12 tenants with relocation expenses.”

He indicated that CDP already has 1400 affordable units in the Portland area and will be proposing another 700 affordable units in the near future. Some of these will come from acquisition and rehab and others will be new construction.

When asked about the possibility of new artist live/work type housing, Rodgers stated CDP is working on a new affordable housing facility in North Portland (off Alberta St.) which will include 160 units, some of which will be for homeless transition and others which are proposed for artist units.

Note: No other affordable housing projects have been identified in Portland that would allow live/work for artists.  Many of the new apartment buildings being constructed along transit streets (such as Hawthorne, Belmont and Division) allow live/work, however, they do not fall into the affordable housing category.

Artist Live/Work Facility Under New Ownership

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