EUGENE, Ore -- The tallest building in Lane County is set to get a major upgrade and Eugene city leaders say it will preserve affordable housing for seniors.
Ya-Po-Ah Terrace in Eugene is home to hundreds of senior citizens on a fixed income. 210 apartments are for seniors with very low incomes who pay no more than 30% of their income as rent.
Staring in early 2019, crews will be doing major upgrades including replacing the building’s skin, updating the interior lighting, plumbing fixtures, mechanical systems, and creating additional ADA parking spaces and route to the building’s entrance.
"If they have to renovate it they're going to renovate it," said Ya-Po-Ah Terrace resident Pat Brill. "We all get old and need fixing up once in a while and that's what happens."
Built in 1968, Ya-Po-Ah Terrace is owned by the Evergreen Union Retirement Association. The city of Eugene is lending $1,500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to help make the project happen with state and federal agencies picking up the rest of the nearly $30 million tab.
City leaders say that during the rehabilitation, tenants will be moved to another part of the building or even off-site at no additional cost to them. They say no one will be permanently displaced because of this project.
"They're going to accommodate my cat in the move," said Ya-Po-Ah Terrace resident Linda. "I'll be able to have my cat where I go."
Crawford-Feit says she moved to the Ya-Po-Ah Terrace in September and she said the move could last up to twelve weeks.
"This might be inconvenient, but it's going to be really nice in the long run," Crawford-Feit said.
City leaders say projects not only extend the life of the building but also preserves the long-term affordability of the federal rent subsidies for future aging Oregonians.