Posts Tagged ‘Our Homes’

September 28, 2012 · by pcriadmin · PCRI, Rehabilitations

PCRI’s rehabilitation of this single-family home was part of our Big 11 project.  Upgrades and improvements to this and ten other single-family rental homes were made possible by funding from Portland Housing Bureau.

Significant improvements to the envelope of this home were a core part of the rehabilitation.  A much-needed new roof was installed to keep the elements out and close attention was paid to improving insulation and air-sealing.  In fact, air leakage (measured by blower-door tests) was reduced by nearly 50%.  A new Energy Star rated furnace, hot water heater and refrigerator were installed to further ensure low utility costs.

Inside and outside of the house, lead-based paint and asbestos hazards were addressed, new flooring was installed, and new ventilation was added, all of which help to ensure a healthy environment for residents.  The improvements to efficiency and indoor health were made according to Home Performance with Energy Star standards, with testing performed after the renovation to ensure anticipated results had been achieved.

Outside, Oregon Tradeswomen crews collaborated with PCRI and Albina Construction to build new fences which will provide privacy from neighbors and create a safer place for children to play.  Tradeswomen-built raised planter beds were also added so residents could grow fresh vegetables.

September 5, 2012 · by pcriadmin · PCRI, Rehabilitations

PCRI rehabilitated this single-family home as part of our Big 11 project, upgrading and improving 11 single-family rental homes with funding from Portland Housing Bureau.

While new exterior paint is the first thing to notice about the renovations to this 1929 home, the improvements are far more than skin deep. Lead-based paint and asbestos hazards were addressed, significant improvements to insulation and weatherization were undertaken, and new ventilation was installed to ensure a healthy environment for residents.  The improvements to efficiency and indoor health were made according to Home Performance with Energy Star standards, with testing performed after the renovation to ensure anticipated results had been achieved.  In fact, these improvements reduced air leakage by 39%, something that will help ensure heating systems can work efficiently and energy bills will be as low as possible for residents.

Inside, the kitchen and bathroom were redesigned to be more functional and make better use of the space.  New flooring was installed throughout, making the rooms brighter and providing durable and easy to maintain surfaces.  Outside, repairs were made where a fallen tree had damaged the home, after which a new roof was installed.  Oregon Tradeswomen crews collaborated with PCRI and Albina Construction to build new fences and porch railings as well as raised planter beds where residents could grow fresh vegetables.


August 17, 2012 · by pcriadmin · PCRI, Rehabilitations

PCRI rehabilitated this single-family home as part of our Big 11 project, upgrading and improving 11 single-family rental homes with funding from Portland Housing Bureau.

New exterior paint is the most visible improvement to this 1944 home and addressed lead-based paint hazards.  Upgraded insulation and weatherization as well as improved ventilation were included in the project’s scope in order to improve the home’s efficiency as well as ensure a healthy environment for it’s residents.

Energy Star-rated appliances were installed to minimize utility costs and energy use and natural linoleum floors were installed in the kitchen and bathroom.

January 11, 2012 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

PCRI and Colas Construction recently finished exterior improvements at the Maggie Gibson Plaza, located on the corner of NE Alberta Street and NE 17th Avenue.

The most visible improvement is the building’s new paint job along Alberta Street (don’t worry, we kept the Cycling Center mural!). As part of the Alberta Main Street Façade Improvement Program, which provided a portion of the upgrade funding, we incorporated some other meaningful improvements too.  Those improvements included new energy-efficient lighting—now controlled by a more reliable and efficient light sensor—and a new, more prominent sign above the center windows of the building.

One of PCRI’s residential/commercial properties, Maggie Gibson provides affordable housing to several households and also contains neighborhood businesses, including Community Cycling Center (whose Holiday Bike Drive provided bicycles to several PCRI kids in December 2011.  Check out the oh-so-cute photos HERE), Shape It Up Hair Salon, and Mimosa “Paint Your Own Pottery” Studios.

For more information about the Alberta Main Street program, click the link for their name.  For more informaton about PCRI’s available rentals, click the “Rent a Home” link on the menu bar above.


July 8, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Updated 8/1/2011: PCRI extends an open request for proposals for rehabilitation of 11 PCRI-owned scattered-site single family affordable rental homes in Portland.

PCRI will host a pre-bid conference to meet prospective contractors, provide information about PCRI as well as share information and answer questions regarding the rehabilitation projects and specifications as well as PCRI’s goals for the rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation funding will be provided by Portland Housing Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  PHB representatives will be present at the conference to share information and answer questions about contractor requirements and required project reporting.

WHEN:     Friday, August 12, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. (please note new date!)

WHERE:  Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME)

4134 N Vancouver Avenue, Portland, Oregon

Interested contractors MUST attend this pre-bid conference.  Contractors should also complete PCRI’s Contractor Qualification forms prior to inspecting properties and submitting proposals.  Forms will be available at the meeting or may be requested by calling PCRI at (503) 288-2923 or emailing

The homes to be rehabilitated are located in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland.  Rehabilitations vary by property and may include interior renovations, interior and exterior painting, roof repair and/or replacement, cabinetry and fixture replacement, electrical and plumbing upgrades, foundation upgrades and repairs, floor refinishing and/or installation.  Projects will involve coordination with lead-based paint removal and weatherization upgrades.

UPDATE 8/1/2011: Proposals will be due by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 29, 2011 and may be submitted in person, electronically (email), or by fax.  Bids will be opened at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 followed by PCRI review and (as needed) clarification.  Successful bids will be awarded by end of day on September 9, 2011.

PCRI representatives will be present to meet contractors at pre-set times at each site on Monday, August 15 and Tuesday August 16.  The meeting schedule and site addresses will be available at the pre-bid conference noted above.

June 16, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

On Thursday morning, June 16, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI) welcomed community members and project partners to celebrate the completed rehabilitation of 12 units of affordable housing at four sites in North Portland.  The Grand Re-Opening celebration showcased PCRI and General Contractor Colas Construction’s most dramatic transformation—a grand 1909 four-bedroom, two-bath single-family home—and highlighted the project’s success in increasing PCRI’s diverse affordable housing options, creating construction jobs and providing unique opportunities for community partnerships.

The rehabilitation, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and financed through Portland Housing Bureau, provides significant improvements to the rental homes.  Upgrades like new siding, roofs and paint compliment less obvious benefits such as improved indoor air ventilation and upgraded weatherization that will ensure affordable utilities for residents and low maintenance costs for PCRI.  But what caught visitors’ attention during the open house were the beautifully refinished floors and the preserved character of the turn-of-the-century home (below: one home before and after).

“I love that it’s an old house so it’s got all the character, but everything in it looks so new!” said visitor Orion Lumiere, Communications and Development Manager for Oregon Opportunity Network.  “It’s the best of both worlds,” she added.

These affordable rental homes exemplify PCRI’s diverse portfolio and the benefit of these affordable housing options.

“This scattered-site approach helps to weave families into the fabric of their neighborhood and is a consistent and unique opportunity for PCRI to eliminate concentrations of poverty,” said Maxine Fitzpatrick, PCRI Executive Director.

Two detached single-family homes—one with two bedrooms and one with four—in North Portland’s quiet University Park neighborhood were completely renovated (below: before and after photos of one home’s kitchen).  Two other properties—a two-unit turn-of-the-century home and a eight-unit mid-century complex—are within walking distance of hip North Mississippi Avenue and received significant upgrades to ensure the units’ durability and functionality.  All of these improvements were completed at a fraction of the cost of building new housing units.

Beyond preserving affordable housing, the project was also an opportunity to preserve area jobs–a priority of the stimulus funds that financed the project.  Throughout the course of the project, construction trades amassed over 3,100 hours of work improving the units inside and out.  In addition, the rehabilitation was a Davis-Bacon prevailing wage project.  While this ensured the project’s construction jobs were good-paying ones, it also involved detailed and elaborate reporting requirements.  In keeping with Colas Construction’s—and PCRI’s—philosophy of working with small businesses, Colas provided opportunity for several subcontractors to work on their first Davis-Bacon project, something that will better position them for future opportunities.

“I have so enjoyed working face-to-face with the small and emerging contractors [on this project] and helping them understand the intricacies of Davis-Bacon,” said Gail Quail, the former Prevailing Wage Specialist at Portland Development Commission.  Referring to one particular subcontractor who returned to her for additional training, she added, “he is an emerging small business and I was also able to guide him to John Classen at PDC to assist with his ESB certification.”

The rehabilitation project provided yet another opportunity to support the community:  the jobsites provided excellent opportunities for women involved in Oregon Tradeswomen’s pre-apprenticeship training program to gain valuable real-world carpentry experience.  Dozens of Tradeswomen students worked on the projects, performing demolition work and building porches and fences.  In keeping with the project’s goals to use materials wisely and provide healthy, functional spaces for the residents, some particularly efficient and industrious Tradeswomen put their speed to good use by building planter boxes from remnants of the fencing material.  The Tradeswomen-built planter boxes are a great compliment to many colorful, water-efficient plants donated by Portland Nursery and Colas Construction.

New residents have already moved into several of the recently-rehabilitated units.  All 12 units which were part of the rehabilitation are reserved for individuals and families earning 60% or less of Area Median Family Income.  Rents range from $686 for a one-bedroom apartment to $958 for the four-bedroom house.  A list of currently available rentals is updated regularly on PCRI’s website.

February 10, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Wondering where all the government “stimulus” money is being spent?  Some of it is doing good things for Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives’ affordable rental homes in North Portland!

PCRI was awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, or “stimulus”) funding through Portland Housing Bureau and has partnered with Oregon Opportunity Network affiliate member Colas Construction, Inc. to re-roof, re-paint, re-side and rehabilitate 12 rental units at four scattered sites in North Portland.  While all of the units will receive substantial upgrades targeted for overall durability, comfort, energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality, the rehabilitation will provide needed improvements to make six currently vacant units ready to rent.

The rehabilitation of these properties will sustain jobs as well as housing.  From mid-November to mid-January, the construction trades working to frame, paint, side and otherwise improve these homes totaled more than 1,400 hours of work … and they’re still going strong!

This project is a Davis Bacon prevailing wage project which requires meticulous paper work.  Most General Contractors facing the mountains of paper work required on Davis Bacon projects would team with Sub-Contractors that have vast experience on similar projects, as it makes their jobs easier.  COLAS however sees every project that they work on as an opportunity to stimulate the economy by working with small businesses.  Currently COLAS has contracted 50% of the contract dollars with Minority Business Enterprises and as an overall Minority, Woman-Owned or Emerging Small Business participation rate of 58%.

COLAS, with the enormous support of Gail Quail of the Portland Development Commission, has helped eight small businesses work on, in many cases, their first Davis Bacon projects.  PCRI is proud that this project has not only created jobs for several small businesses with the support of the COLAS team, but also these small businesses now have learned the skills necessary to compete on future prevailing wage projects.

PCRI also enlisted Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (also a recipient of stimulus funds) to build fences and tackle other carpentry-based projects which would further improve these rental homes.  Through on-the-job training–like PCRI’s rehabilitation project–and classroom instruction, the Tradeswomen’s pre-apprenticeship program provides yet another opportunity for the project to help individuals learn the skills to obtain living wage jobs and expand their career opportunities.

Upon completion of the rehabilitation, PCRI will showcase before-and-after photos on the PCRI website.

November 1, 2010 · by pcriadmin · New Construction

In 2010, PCRI realized a long-standing dream: to develop new sustainable, efficient and affordable homes available for low- and middle-income families.  With funding from Portland Housing Bureau, these four new three-bedroom, 2-bath homes were completed in late-fall 2010 and represent our commitment to expand home ownership opportunities to historically underserved families.

The new homes also showcase PCRI’s commitment to sustainability–employing durable, low-maintenance materials, state-of-the-art energy-efficient appliances and mechanical systems and innovative building and insulation techniques.  The homes earned LEED Gold certification and were featured in the City of Portland’s 2010 Build it Green! homes tour.

October 13, 2010 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Mold.  A dirty word?  Sure, it is a four-letter-word, but it doesn’t have to be a bad one.

Molds are part of the natural environment.  Outdoors, molds play a useful role in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees.  And beneficial molds–like penicillin–have been used ever since ancient Greeks discovered they could help cure infection.  Indoors, however, mold’s role in breaking down material can be destructive instead of helpful.  Fortunately, you can help minimize or eliminate most of the causes of mold growth inside your home.

Although molds have many beneficial uses, they can also be a source of less-positive reactions.  In particular, molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions).  While not everyone is sensitive to the allergens that different molds contain, mold can be an irritant to some people.  Remember the last time your doctor prescribed antibiotics and asked if you’re allergic?  Same thing.  If mold is not controlled, it can have destructive consequences for your home too.

Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores.  Although the individual spores are invisible to the naked eye, they are naturally present in the air.  While there are many types of mold, none of them will grow without water or moisture–and that’s the first key about how to defeat mold.  Here are a number of ways you can help keep mold, its allergens and other potential harms out of your house:

The simplest way to prevent mold is to make sure there is adequate ventilation in the bathrooms and kitchens.  Even if you don’t see steam, bathing, cooking and cleaning create moisture in the air that needs to be ventilated outside.  Especially when showering or cooking, if you have an exhaust fan, use it!  Make sure to run the fan for about 20 minutes after you are finished.  Most fans use about the same energy as a light bulb, so leaving it on for a little extra time won’t affect utility costs.  If you don’t have a fan, leave a nearby window open for a similar amount of time.

But mold isn’t only caused by steam from cooking or showering.  All types of moisture can be breeding grounds for mold, so it’s important to keep an eye out for other wet spots:

Check around the bathroom after showering or bathing.  If there is water outside of the shower or tub, mop it up–then put the mop or rag somewhere that it can dry out.  The same goes for sink areas: use a towel to wipe up extra moisture around the bathroom or kitchen sink, then hang up the towel so it can dry too.

If water outside the shower or tub is a consistent problem, take a look to see how the water is escaping.  Try adjusting the showerhead so water is not spraying towards the shower door or look into different options for shower curtains.  If a quick fix doesn’t work, PCRI Residents should report the issue to our maintenance department so we can look into more long-term solutions.

Leaky pipes–especially inside–are even more important to fix quickly.  The same goes for toilets.  Wasted water means higher bills, not to mention the damage caused by moisture.  PCRI Residents who spot a leaky pipe or toilet should let our maintenance crew know so we can take care of the problem.

Spills should be treated the same as leaks.  Wipe ’em up, then hang up the cleaning rag so it can dry out too.

Your home’s heating (and cooling system, if it has one) is also a good tool to combat mold.  The air circulation created by running your heating system can go a long way toward minimizing unwanted moisture.  Running the system for 10 minutes a day shouldn’t make a big difference in utility bills, but will help control mold.

Another great (and low cost!) way to improve your home’s air circulation is to open your home’s windows–even for a few minutes at a time.  Leaving them open all day long isn’t necessary–or even always a good idea as the weather cools down and gets wet, but opening windows and doors for just 10 minutes every couple days will keep moisture at bay.  It is also a great way to air out the chemicals from cleaning and other products.

Speaking of cleaning products, did you know that vinegar helps to kill mold?  There are many great ways to keep your home clean and mold-free that don’t involve buying expensive and toxic cleaners from the store.  Metro is a great resource for how to make your own more-healthy and less-expensive cleaners.

Oh, and tempting as it might be, don’t paint or caulk over moldy surfaces.   Not only will it not get rid of the mold (Surprise! It’s still there!), but paint and caulk applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.  If you’re a PCRI resident and do want to paint, we can help or provide tips to ensure the mold is properly cleaned first.  And don’t forget that little technicality in your lease: be sure get PCRI approval before you paint!

Finally,  with Portland’s rainy season coming up soon, make sure your gutters are cleaned and don’t leak.  Just as important, ensure your downspouts drain into storm sewers or away from the house.  If the “splash blocks” at the base of the gutter don’t work to route water away from your house, we can help with other solutions to keep water draining away from your home.

More information about mold can be found in the EPA’s Guide to Mold.

February 1, 2010 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Partnering with Multnomah County’s Weatherization Assistance Program, PCRI is working to make our homes warmer, more comfortable and more efficient places to live.

The Weatherization Assistance Program is nothing new–it was created in 1976.  But the weatherization spotlight shines brighter than ever, thanks to President Barack Obama.  In an interview last year with CBS’ Katie Couric he said this about weatherization programs:

“We’re going to weatherize homes, that immediately puts people back to work and we’re going to train people who are out of work, including young people, to do the weatherization. As a consequence of weatherization, our energy bills go down and we reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Lower energy bills?  Decent paying jobs?  Hey, PCRI is all for that too (which is why we’re also a partner in the Department of Labor’s Pathways out of Poverty program)!  In January, Multnomah County’s weatherization inspectors audited the first two PCRI homes, with more on tap for the coming months.  But what does “weatherization” mean?

The first–and probably least interesting–step in the weatherization process is the application.  It’s short, and PCRI residents can pick them up and drop them off at our office.  We can also help with completing them and we’ll submit them to the county.  Multnomah County’s weatherization staff reviews the applications, then schedules an in-home energy to determine what improvements give the most bang for the buck.

With the paperwork (well, some of it at least) out of the way, the more exciting stuff begins.  An energy audit typically starts with a blower door test (pictured above)–simply, an industrial fan mounted in the home’s front door.  The fan creates suction inside the house, making it amazingly easy to see where air leaks are.  Curtains on leaky windows blow around like the window is open, unlatched doors swing open in the blink of an eye and other leaky spots create a obvious breeze.

Besides finding leaks and drafts with the blower door test, the insulation is inspected.  Sometimes this is done with a heat-sensing infared camera (very cool); other times it’s done the old-fashioned way–by crawling in the attic and fighting cobwebs in the crawl space for a first-hand look.  Bathroom and kitchen vent fans are checked too, since it’s even more important to exhaust moist air when the house has been weatherized.

After the crawling around is complete and the blower door kit is put away, the weatherization inspector takes measurements and makes a drawing of the house.  Back at county HQ, this information is used to create an energy-use model of the house.  While the inspector may already have a good idea of what improvements are required, the energy-use software puts the savings into hard numbers.

Heat-sensing cameras and computer modeling software won’t keep the house warm, though.  That’s the job of the insulation and weatherization crew.  Check back in a few weeks for Part Two of this story.  As our first homes advance to Part Two of the program, we’ll have more photos and a virtual tour of the process.

Are you a PCRI resident who is interested in having your home weatherized?  Call or stop by our office and we’ll help out!

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