In December 2018, the City of Eugene closed its largest Rental Rehabilitation loan to date, lending $1,500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to benefit Ya-Po-Ah Terrace Retirement Apartments. This marked the culmination of three years of preparatory and regulatory processes which included a visit from Governor Kate Brown in 2017. Rehabilitation began in early 2019 and was substantially completed this month.
Ya-Po-Ah Terrace is locally owned by Evergreen Union Retirement Association and was constructed in 1968. It is the tallest building in Lane County. Located at the base of Skinner Butte, Ya-Po-Ah Terrace’s illuminated “Peace on Earth” sign is well known throughout the community during the winter holidays. What may not be widely known by the community is who lives in Ya-Po-Ah Terrace. Since 1968, the building has provided 222 units for seniors aged 62 and older. Of those, 210 apartments are for seniors with very low incomes who pay no more than 30% of their income as rent. The average resident is over 76 years old and has an approximate income of $16,000 per year. The federal program that supported its construction and additional rent subsidies, have allowed for the units to remain affordable to seniors for the past nearly 50 years and now, will continue to do so for future residents.
The Rental Rehabilitation loan of $1,500,000 in CDBG funds helped support the preservation of this community asset for future generations. The substantial rehabilitation of Ya-Po-Ah Terrace is part of the City’s goal to rehabilitate at least 350 units of affordable housing for low-income persons. This goal was established through the 2020 Eugene-Springfield Consolidated Plan.
The State of Oregon, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), provided critical financial resources for this project through multiple programs. The City also provided a LIRHPTE (Low-Income Rental Housing Property Tax Exemption) in 2018, which provides a 20-year tax emption for the rental property. The total construction project was nearly $33 million dollars and included:
- Replacing the building’s skin with highly insulated roof, walls, and windows
- Updating the interior LED lighting, plumbing fixtures, and mechanical systems
- Creating additional ADA parking spaces and route to the building’s entrance
During the rehabilitation, tenants were temporarily relocated to another unit within the building or to a comparable unit off-site at no cost to them. All residents returned once phased work was completes, and no one was permanently displaced as a result of the project.
This project not only extends the life of the building, but also preserves the long-term affordability of the federal rent subsidies for future, aging Oregonians. May Ya-Po-Ah’s “Peace on Earth” sign shine brightly for many holiday seasons to come.