Wauna Credit Union Funds Affordable Housing Project


The 18th Street Development hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony in St. Helens on July 19. The building, with 16 units at 400-square-feet each, will help address homelessness in the area.

The project initially struggled to get off the ground, with funding issues keeping construction at bay. Funded by a $675,000 loan from Wauna Credit Union (WCU) and grants from Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), the initiative broke ground in October of 2018.

Senator Betsy Johnson (D), Director of OHCS, Margaret Salazar, and WCU AVP Regional Manager, Pam Weller, helped facilitate the funding package. Concept, design, funding, and construction were all completed through local entities.

“We were doing an analysis of the housing crisis in Columbia County and WCU is designed to partner with and help our communities,” Weller said. “We had to find a way to make this happen.”

The project is addressing two of Oregon’s five-year affordable housing priorities by increasing Oregon’s supply of affordable rental housing and by addressing homelessness.

“What a great opportunity for St. Helens and Columbia County,” said Johnson. “The goal is a home for every Oregonian. Human housing is a right and every person here today makes this a reality.”

Twenty-five percent of the unit capacity is reserved for homeless people suffering from mental health issues. Occupancy for 16 individuals and/or families will be available in August.

Posted in Member News.