Washington County appears poised to buy Woodspring Apartments
TIGARD, Ore. (KOIN) — Senior citizens in Tigard fought long and hard to make sure their affordable apartments would remain affordable.
The Woodspring Apartments in Tigard was originally built in the early ’90s as affordable housing for low-income senior citizens 55 and older. But affordable housing protections had an expiration date. The tax credits subsidizing the affordability expired at the end of 2020.
And time was running out for any change to be made.
Now, KOIN 6 News learned Washington County is making moves to buy that 172-unit apartment complex, entering into negotiations with the owner.
While the deal is not yet finalized, this is the exact action the tenants have been asking for. On Tuesday morning, Washington County commissioners will hold a special session specifically on this topic and will vote on the plan.
Margot Black, a tenants’ rights advocate who helped the senior citizens at Woodspring Apartments organize, was thrilled with the news.
“Housing like this and the folks that live in it are so important and we can’t treat them like lines on spreadsheets,” Black told KOIN 6 News. “We are so happy today and we are celebrating today but it has been a long, hard 2 years. Friends have been lost and neighbors have been lost.”
Coy Lay called Woodspring Apartments home and the community his family. He recently moved to another affordable complex because he couldn’t take the risk. But he stayed with his former neighbors to fight the good fight.
“I’m one of the ones who had to move out,” Lay said. “We’re extremely happy, but we’ve worked for it.”
The tenants are overwhelmed by the likelihood they can stay in their apartment homes in peace.
“If it weren’t for the media, I’m not sure where we’d be today,” said tenant union leader Lois Keck.
Richard Calkin said he is “relieved for everybody that I know in here that is on the edge. They’re that far away — and another 100 bucks is going to put them over the edge.”
On this night they raised a glass in gratitude to each other, to Washington County and to their tenants’ rights advocate, Margot Black.
“Right now,” Keck said, “it’s time to say thank you.”