The vision for building affordable housing on our property was birthed out of 12 weeks of deep discernment, prayer, and analysis of finances, neighborhood need, church assets, and partner opportunities. The church began actively pursuing the project that winter with Home First Development, including drawing up initial architectural plans.
New Kids on the Block
In February of 2015 St. Johns Covenant (later Community) Church arrived at the corner of Fiske & Lombard. While the housing planning was already moving forward, the vision continued to adapt and change as SJCC became a more and more an essential faith partner.
Toward the end of 2015 there was a lot of mometum and excitement around the housing iniatitive. Initial architectual renderings were drawn up and the former church parsonage on Yale St. was sold to create a financial foundation for the project to begin in earnest.
2016 & 2017
Detour: The Scenic Route
2016-2017 were a season of seeking a financial partner who would be able to lend us the full amount of funding for the project construction. After courting 3 separate partners, including denominational entities in the United Methodist Church, God brought Beneficial Bank to our attention. Beneficial Bank offered excellent interest rates, a community mission-driven focus, and technical support beyond what we had encountered previously.
At the same time, our two churches, University Park United Methodist Church and St. Johns Community Church, were in the process of becoming an official unionized congregation. It was a relational process that required trust and time. During this time our congregation also grew in unexpected ways, with a large congtingent of people who were neither (or both) UPUMC or SJCC, but who were fully committed to the vision and heart of our church.
On October 22nd, 2017 Portsmouth Union Church became official and by the end of the year we were ready to sign on the dotted line for $1.636 million in financing with Beneficial Bank.
With a fully stable and committed church community, detailed architectural plans, a committed financing structure, and an active Affordable Housing Taskforce caring for each step of the development process, we are eagerly anticipating for the year ahead.
- April 2018: Appraisal of the property
- Spring 2018: Negotiation with the City of Portland and various related Bureaus to move forward on land use and zoning needs
- Late Spring 2018: Complete funding made available by Beneficial Bank for demolition and construction. Demolition of fellowship hall, bathrooms, kitchen, and Lombard entry way begin
- Summer 2018: Demolition commences
- ANTICIPATED NEXT STEPS:
- * Building permit approval process through Development Services.
- * Property management company request-for-proposals created and shared widely.
- *Property Management company chosen, lease-up processes determined and begin
- * Construction completed and residents move in