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PORTLAND-The 70-acre subsidized Columbia Villa housing project in North Portland will be redeveloped thanks to a $35-million “HOPE VI” grant awarded by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and submitted by the Housing Authority of Portland.

Built during World War II as temporary housing for shipyard workers, the 470-unit complex is the single largest subsidized housing development in the state. The grant will leverage a $150 million renovation of the project from a specifically low-income project to a mixed-income development that proponents hope will better blend with the surrounding community.

Additional financing for the project includes $20 million from the City of Portland, $5 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds, and $15 million in urban infrastructure funds. Construction is slated to begin next year and take several years to complete.

The funding will be used to replace obsolete housing units and diversify the types of housing and income levels within the community. It will also provide self-sufficiency and home ownership opportunities for public housing residents in the Portland area.

The “HOPE VI” grant program, which stands for “Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere,” is designed to revitalize severely distressed public housing. The $35 million grant, which was requested by the Housing Authority of Portland, is a key part of the total $160 million needed for the project.

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