Deskins Commons



New construction of 56 units of affordable rental housing for working families and individuals with chronic mental illness


Sited on 3.4 acres of previously undeveloped land, Deskins Commons meets a rising need for affordable workforce housing in small and fast-growing Newberg, Oregon. Developed by Housing Authority of Yamhill County (HAYC), this eight-building new development contains 56 units of affordable housing for low-income families and individuals, including service-enhanced housing for up to eight very-low-income people who experience chronic mental illness.

Residents of Deskins Commons live within walking distance of downtown Newberg, directly adjacent transit stops and close to jobs in Yamhill County’s agricultural, food processing, and hi-tech industries. George Fox University, Newberg City Hall, and police and fire services are also nearby. Deskins residents who experience mental illness have access to wraparound support services, from medication management to skills training, through Yamhill County Health and Human Services. Thirteen social service providers have pooled their efforts to meet the healthcare, job training, and other needs of the working families who live here.

Creative Solutions

Finance: To create a solid financial structure and leverage $11.7 million in loans and grants, project sponsor HAYC invested its own equity in Deskins Commons, allocating $2.8 million from the sale of obsolescing single-family properties to acquire and develop the property. HAYC also participated in HDC’s 18-month Asset Management and Portfolio Preservation (AMPP) curriculum, which fostered a collaborative design process involving HAYC property management staff.

Design and Construction: HDC worked with HAYC and IDEA Architecture & Development to create a sensitive site plan. Site features such as a grove of old-growth white oak trees and the Todd House, listed on the City of Newberg’s historic register, were preserved. The development is designed to complement the surrounding neighborhood: a view corridor has been maintained from North Meridian Street to Todd House, and parking and taller buildings are situated at the rear of the property. A mix of one-story, two-story, and three-story structures, separated by ample outdoor common space, create a livable environment for residents.

Housing Authority of Yamhill County

Newberg, Oregon

Predevelopment assistance and construction management

→ IDEA Architecture & Development
→ Bremik Construction
→ Oregon Housing and Community Services
→ Energy Trust of Oregon
→ NOAH (Network for Oregon Affordable Housing)
→ Wells Fargo

→ Low-income-housing tax credit equity (9%)
→ Oregon affordable housing tax credit equity
→ HOME funds
→ Construction and permanent loans
→ Sponsor equity

Residential: 45,393
Common: 2,167

Acquisition: $0.7 million
Construction: $10 million
Total Development: $14.4 million

Winter 2011 to Fall 2014