In an effort to preserve affordable housing for longtime senior residents in this predominately African-American neighborhood in NE Portland, REACH Community Development acquired the Walnut Park apartments and initiated renovation. Primary goals of the renovation were to increase the building’s energy efficiency and to improve the aesthetics of its brutish design.
Exterior improvements included new high performance windows and insulation, Energy Star white roofing, and air-tight detailing to control the transfer of moisture and heat through the walls. Deteriorated wood panel siding was replaced with cleanly detailed fiber cement that complements the rhythm of the building’s massing. Cedar sunshades liven the facade and keep the apartments cooler in the summer. A nondescript entrance and an imposing fence were replaced with a welcoming entry canopy and patio area along a transparent new community room. Raised planters and cedar benches provide a sense of security while maintaining a connection to the street. A community garden was created with raised planter beds donated and installed by CHA. Units finishes were also upgraded, appliances were replaced with high-efficiency models, and two apartments were renovated to meet ADA standards.