Rockwood Building Takes Shape, Completion Fall 2011

Rockwood Building Takes Shape, Completion by Fall 2011. Project Will Bring Eight Social Services Under One Roof. Info here!
Rockwood Building, NE 181st & Couch

The Rockwood Building
Will Bring Eight Social Services Under One Roof

Making Rockwood a better place

For years the grassy vacant lot on NE 181st Ave near Burnside served only an occasional traveling carnival or Christmas tree vendor.

Now, that lot is being transformed into a Multi-Service Center to serve area
families in need.

The new three-story $17 million Rockwood Building will host eight social service providers plus a community room on the first floor, and 47 apartments on the two floors above. Fifteen of those apartments will be reserved for homeless families.

Rockwood Building Project Will Bring Eight Social Services Under One Roof. Info here!
Rockwood Building construction, 02/2011

Ground floor agencies will provide day care, employment assistance and Head Start classes, among other services. The new building is expected to be a hub for residents in and around Gresham’s Rockwood neighborhood.

Human Solutions, a social service agency with offices in Portland and east Multnomah County, is coordinating the project.

The hope is that the facility will provide one-stop services for area residents who currently must travel to several locations around the Portland area for assistance.

Rockwood has long been one of the poorest neighborhoods in the county, with about one in five people in the school district that serves the area living below the poverty level. Nine out of 10 students at the two elementary schools in the area receive federally subsidized meals.

The need for services is far greater than the assistance that’s available, said Jean DeMaster, 35-year homeless advocate and Human Solutions executive director.

Her agency turns down thousands of requests each year for help with rent, utility bills and shelter because funding can’t keep up with the demand.

Jean DeMaster, 35-year homeless advocate and Human Solutions executive director
Jean DeMaster, Human Solutions director

Funding has come from about 40 sources, DeMaster said. A fundraising campaign provided $1.5 million, and a loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development totaled $1.3 million.

Construction, which began in early Fall 2010 after an August 24th groundbreaking ceremony, is expected to be completed by Fall 2011.

In addition to housing and anti-poverty assistance, advocates also hope the building will provide a boost for development in Rockwood. Already, a new courthouse is being built at 185th & SE Stark. The City of Gresham has made several infrastructure improvements in Rockwood's Town Center including the new 188th Avenue realignment, and intends to develop the vacant parcel formerly occupied by a Fred Meyer store.

The Rockwood Building apartment residents and about 60 people who will work in the offices below are expected to increase the demand for nearby restaurants and retail services.

“We hope that will stimulate a lot more building in that area,” DeMaster said.

Related Links