NeighborWorks Umpqua broke ground on the Deer Creek Village housing development at a ceremony Thursday morning in front of a crowd of city employees, NeighborWorks Umpqua officials, architects and construction workers.
The Deer Creek Village project is one of the first affordable, multi-family housing units developed in Roseburg since the Eagle Landing development in 2013, CEO of NeighborWorks Umpqua Merten Bangemann-Johnson said.
“This is an exciting day for the community. I think everybody really recognizes that affordable housing — housing that is affordable to folks across all spectrums of our community, all demographics — is a critical need in Roseburg and Douglas County,” Bangemann-Johnson said.
The project is geared toward low-income households with a preference for veterans and will feature 68 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.
The three-story, U-shaped structure will feature a bike room, laundry room and communal spaces to encourage community formation, said Principal Architect Jim Walker.
After a short program, Bangemann-Johnson invited Roseburg City Councilor Alison Eggers, Community Development Director Stuart Cowie, NeighborWorks Umpqua executive committee member Randy Mason and Real Estate Development Director with NeighborWorks Umpqua Brian Shelton-Kelley to ring in the project with the symbolic, first shovel-full of dirt. He said each of these people played a vital role in the project.
“We really set out to create a project that is not only addressing the affordable housing needs of our community but is really designed to serve the broad range of people that live here in Roseburg,” Shelton-Kelley said.
The design of Deer Creek Village was intended to foster a sense of community while taking advantage of the natural environment and the wetlands that will serve as the village’s backyard, Walker said.
“The other really important part is to be able to create a sense of community here. Community is at the very core of these types of projects,” Walker said. “Today, we get great units built, we get communities built, we get honorable places put together.”
NeighborWorks Umpqua received $17 million in grants and tax credits to develop Deer Creek in 2018, Shelton-Kelley said. Oregon Housing and Community Services awarded funding for Deer Creek, and the land the development sits on was donated by Rose and Robert Rothstein in 2015.
The project is employing Coos Bay-based Harmon Construction and Portland-based architecture firm Studio C.
Construction is anticipated to end sometime in 2021, Shelton-Kelley said.
NeighborWorks Umpqua has developed and acquired more than 500 housing units since its inception 25 years ago, Bangemann-Johnson said. The organization revamped its strategic plan in 2016 and challenged itself to develop 500 affordable housing units in five years.
“Rather than waiting another 25 years to build another 500 units of affordable housing, we decided that it was time to accelerate that,” Bangemann-Johnson said.
NeighborWorks Umpqua will start taking applications for living in the development when construction is closer to completion, Shelton-Kelley said.
“It is my hope that this will be the beginning of many opportunities for additional housing chances for specifically affordable housing,” Cowie said.