Constructed in two phases, LEVER's Dekum Court Affordable Housing project has already opened 40 new units, with a total of 187 homes planned upon completion. The phased approach allowed existing residents to transition seamlessly into the new homes adjacent to the original 1972 building, prioritizing stability during the school year. The entire development, encompassing 80 two-bedroom, 41 three-bedroom, and seven four-bedroom apartments, is scheduled to be complete in summer 2025.
Monthly engagement during design involved a Community Advisory Committee (CAC), including residents from diverse backgrounds and physical abilities, who were compensated for their time. Community organizations such as Multnomah County Library, Albina Head Start, Urban League, Native American Youth and Family Center, Hacienda CDC, Work Systems, and Portland Public Schools were also part of the CAC. LEVER fostered a strong relationship with the community by addressing their concerns and maintaining consistent attendance of design team members at all meetings. Evening meetings with dinner and childcare were held for all residents, often conducted in Spanish and English, with smaller breakout sessions to ensure inclusivity. Engagement transitioned online due to COVID-19, with advanced sharing of questions and drawings to facilitate more productive discussions. Resident feedback led to the implementation of features including in-unit washer/dryer hookups, community laundry, prioritized storage, on-site parking, a nearby sports court, and exceeding ADA standards.
During construction, careful planning ensured that current residents could comfortably move in to the newly built units before the demolition of the original structures. This strategic approach facilitated a smooth relocation process, allowing residents to move into the modern units beginning in September, with the phased relocation continuing through November. This commitment to minimizing disruption and prioritizing resident stability underscores LEVER's dedication to creating affordable housing solutions that address the community's needs at Dekum Court.
CBS affiliate KOIN 6 News reported on Dekum Court's phase 1 opening, citing Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio's sentiments “It means a lot because as someone who grew up moving multiple times, you know, in my childhood, I can appreciate the safety that it brings for families today, so I’m excited for those children.”