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11 years and counting!


It’s hard to be believe that I started the firm 11 years ago this month, out of a spare 80 sq.ft. bedroom in Oakland, CA: before the dog, Great Recession, DC, Portland, kids and Trump. How quickly things change. Today the firm is growing substantially as we reach 4 full-time employees and move soon into a larger office. Stay tuned for the office warming party! We have multiple design projects ending and starting, and a lot to celebrate. Here is quick re-cap of just the last few months. It’s been quite a whirl-wind!

We’re making great inroads designing New Affordable Housing:


Las Adelitas (aka Living Cully Plaza) wrapped up Schematic Design in January. This $45 mil. affordable housing development for Hacienda CDC is comprised of two mixed-use affordable housing buildings and a public plaza. And our design of NW 14th and Raleigh affordable housing for families experiencing homelessness for Innovative Housing Inc. is well underway, with concrete poured up to the 6th floor… just 6 more to go! Interiors start soon at the 2nd floor community areas, and the building skin is just beginning to take shape.

Our Renovation specialty work continues to grow:


A few weeks ago we won Home Forward’s RFP to renovate Williams Plaza as part of Walsh Construction’s design-build team. The effort starts soon! We were tapped recently to join the Center for Public Interest Design on Cascadian Apartments, an innovative renovation in NE Portland by being developed by Community Development Partners. Schematic Design finishes in a few weeks. And two emergency repair projects wrap up soon: Arbor Glen Apartments stair / deck replacement for Human Solutions finishes in a few weeks; and the Kateri Park Apartments building skin renovation for Catholic Charities wrapped up in September. Both efforts demonstrate how even 'shoe-string' budgets can have large impacts!

Our Community Planning work makes huge strides locally and nationally!


In October Alex Salazar, AIA, was honored to be on a team of community development leaders, from around the US, tasked with advising the City of Phoenix on equitable transit-oriented development in a predominantly Latino neighborhood. Over four intense days he helped develop a series of observations and policy recommendations for the city to consider. Locally, in October, we were thrilled to hear that our client for the Right 2 Root community planning initiative won an Oregon American Planning Association (OAPA) award! And recently we completed two community planning workshops in the Cully neighborhood for our Las Adelitas development, one in October and one in November, both were a great success!

Meet our Public Interest Designers:


In October we hired Russell ‘Ski’ Wisniewski, an architect who is active in the Right 2 Dream effort to house Portland’s unhoused community. And this month we hired Alejandra Ruiz, an architect from Mexico City and former graduate student fellow at the Center for Public Interest Design at Portland State University. Along with Paul Conrad who joined in 2015, we’ve built a team of great public interest designers who have the skills and passion to tackle the most pressing challenges faced by our community development clients.


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