Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses - apartment houses

Designers: American Pacific Properties, Incorporated (firm); Otak, Incorporated (firm); Vallaster Corl Architects PC (firm); Walsh Construction Company (firm); Michael Corl (architect); Nawzad Othman (civil engineer/urban planner); Donald Vallaster (architect)

Dates: constructed 2000

5900 NE Hoyt Street
North Tabor, Portland, OR 97213

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Center Commons was a $30.4 million residential complex consisting of four apartment buildings and 26 townhouses, built on the former site of a state-vehicle maintenance facility, The development, containing 288 total housing units and 1500-square-feet of retail space, was intended to achieve high density, to be made available to market-rate and below-market rate temamts amd to accommodate elderly and young individuals. A transit-oriented development sited close to a MAX public transit stop, Canter Commons was unusual for its degree of tenant density and lack of on-site parking spaces.

Building History

The Center Commons community was erected c. 2000 and designed to accommodate residents of all ages on a 4.8-acre lot. The architects for the complex were Vallaster Corl Architects PC and OTAK, working for the developer, American Pacific Properties, Incorporated. It was situated nearby to the Porland MAX Northeast 60th Avenue light rail station. The four apartment buildings in the complex ranged in height from two to five stories, while the townhouses were three stories in height.

The 2008 book, Urban Design and the Bottom Line, said of the development: "Located on a five-acre (2 ha) site in northeast Portland, Oregon, Center Commons comprises a 172-apartment complex for elderly residents; 60 affordable apartments (for below-media-income families) in a building with a daycare center; 56 market-rate apartments in a building also containing retail space; and a mix of 26 three-story market-rate and affordable condominium townhouses. The development is located just two blocks from a light-rail and bus station. The site's former use as a maintenance yard and shop for state vehicles required that contaminated soil be removed before construction. Each building is designed in an individual , modern style featuring colorful walls and accents. The development includes a small courtyard play area and off-street parking, although its proximity to public transit and the predominance of elderly residents allow a significant reduction in required parking. Although in density and appearance Center Commons does not resemble the surrounding neighborhood of small, single-family houses, it replaced an unsightly use bordering a rail and highway corridor. The project won awards in 2001 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and Builder magazine." (See Dennis Jerke, Douglas R. Porter, Tery J. Lassar, Urban Design and the Bottom Line, [Washington, DC: Urban Land Institute, 2008], pp. 40-41.)

According to a website published by Oregon, "The buildings are two to five stories with densitites of up to 73 units per acre, an average density of 65 units per acre, and a low parking ratio of 0.61 spaces, partially achieved by the affordable senior units. The three-story condominium townhouses were built primarily for first time homeowners and made available for sale to both conventional and below-median-income buyers. Income qualifying households receive a 10-year transit-oriented tax abatement from the City of Portland because of the development's proximity to the MAX light rail system." (See Oregon, "Center Commons, Portland, Oregon," accessed 12/07/2021.)

PCAD id: 24272