A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Hub City Village plans to break ground

Written June 3rd, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Cleared of trees and an old house, this is 241 Waverly Drive S.E., where the Hub City Village will be built.

It was four years ago, in July 2019, that I first reported on Albany’s Creating Housing Coalition and its hopes of building a community of tiny houses for people who have no place else to live. Now the group is about to start building the place.

A few days ago the coalition announced a time and date for its ground-breaking: 1 p.m. Saturday, June 10.

The place is 241 Waverly Drive S.E., the 1.4-acre lot the group acquired from its Bend owner last year for $495,000 for the coalition’s Hub City Village of 27 small houses and related facilities.

A bike ride took me past the site on May 16, which is when I took the photos in this story.

The land was originally zoned single-family residential. In 2015 a request to rezone it for denser development — apartments, for instance — was rejected by the council after nearby residents said they feared the loss more than 40 trees on the property.

But the same request was approved in October 2021, clearing the way for the coalition to buy the parcel a year later for Hub City Village.

There are many interesting facets to this development, the first of its kind in Albany. One of them is that this past February it received approval of a $1.6 million grant from the Oregon Health Authority.

As a condition of the grant, the coalition reported on its website, for a period of 20 years eight of the 27 tiny houses “will be reserved for those with severe and persistent mental illness.”

All along, the coalition has stressed that residents of Hub City Village will have support and guidance. Presumably that will include professional services to help those residents who are severely ill. (hh)

Looking north along Waverly toward the residential neighborhood on May 16, 2023.

31 responses to “Hub City Village plans to break ground”

  1. Carol Davies, Vice President says:

    Thanks for writing about our village, Hasso. We’ll have a specially trained peer support/outreach specialist living on site to assist residents with any physical or mental health concerns, and we’re working very closely with Linn County Mental Health and IHN, among others, to ensure all residents have access to needed services. Furthermore, all of the residents will be trained in restorative justice techniques, so they can resolve conflicts peacefully.

    I’d also like to remind your readers that having a severe and persistent mental illness doesn’t necessarily mean a person can’t function in a “normal” manner. People who have this diagnosis include those with PTSD, severe anxiety, and depression. Everyone who lives in our village must be able to be a contributing member who can work alongside other residents to help run the village. We’ll be carefully screening all applicants to ensure their appropriateness for the village.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Thanks very much, Carol, for your additional information.

    • thomas earl cordier says:

      to VP Davies, I wish you well; but questions arise as noted by others.
      Will the residents be illegal drug free? As verified by drug testing? Will they be enrolled in “cover oregon” to receive health care? Will they have ODT ID cards or drivers licenses? When they seek medical care at AGH, will they automatically get drug tested.
      Will the on-site trained peer specialist have access to drug test results. My experience with Linn County MH was not good a few years back with Travis; a 23yo male living under a bridge with PPD/SCZ found dead in Albany homeless camp. He had been in jail with diagnoses 10 times. He was under tmt of LCMH; totally ineffective. These details will determine whether any success will be seen. I’d be happy to discuss details with you if you like.

  2. Al Nyman says:

    I’ll bet the residents rue the day they protested the apartment proposal. Just what every home owner wants: Homeless people next door including eight with serious mental illness.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      There was no actual apartment proposal. The owner asked for zoning that would have allowed apartments but he didn’t propose any particular development.

      • RICH KELLUM says:

        Hasso, the no proposal part is why it didn’t pass, the folks who brought the first proposal would not guarantee what was going to be built there. The fear of the neighbors was a 3 story apartment with windows looking into their back bedroom windows. Once you change the zoning people can build ANYTHING that conforms.

  3. Joe says:

    They all talk the good talk to get the city to rezone it ,but watch once its built the so called professionals will disappear in a couple few months and it will be another waste of money,nobody will take care of it or the people who need help,sad!!

    • Bob Woods says:

      So Joe, say a year from now, if the project is still operating and people are being helped, will you com back and say you were wrong?

      • Al Nyman says:

        We will be happy to come back on the site to say we were wrong but will you do the same. The city could have put 27 used camp trailers (probably for $5000 each) on the site instantly but somehow these small homes costing a fortune seem to be the rage for loony liberals.

  4. Katherine says:

    You would think the community would be happy that 27 homes will be provided for those that face homelessness. These are our fellow citizens and members of our community. If you knew anything about this coalition you would know what a wonderful project this is and the hard work that went into it. It’s sad we look down on the less fortunate and have to always see the negative in everything. I for one, look forward to it being a great success and would love to visit the village in the future.

    • Bob Woods says:

      Katherine, most people support outreach to people in need.

      However, many who post here don’t. They’re part of the people called Right-Wing Conservatives.

      • Al Nyman says:

        This is the guy who went berserk when I suggested Cara utilize ROI on their purchase of the Wells Fargo bank site. Now he suggests everybody questioning the little home project is a right wing conservative. What we are questioning is who actually believes this project has a chance of success? I would suggest you look at what has happened to hotels, motels who hosted the homeless. Of course if you are Mr. Woods it doesn’t matter whether it is successful, only that you try something.

      • Dala Rouse says:

        Bob you are no different than your so called Right -Wing Conservatives because you think only your liberal thinking is the only way things should be. I bet you also only watch CNN for your national news. I have a lot more respect for people on both sides that can look at an issue and see both sides of opinions not thinking that only their thinking is the right way. Bob you don’t live in Albany so leave us alone if you what to call names.
        I happen to be a Republican and support the project. I realize there may be problems but trust the owners to work them out. It is a much needed project and I know that probably better than you do as I live in Albany

  5. CHEZZ says:

    Congrats to the Housing Coalition! They have also been on site at other communities that offer this type of housing and services. They have done their homework. Please take a moment and check out their website! See you at the groundbreaking!

  6. Randall Harris says:

    The part of Carol Davies statement that jumped out at me was, “…all of the residents will be trained in restorative justice techniques, so they can resolve conflicts peacefully”. A quick search of ‘restorative justice’ from Harvard Magazine seems to cause me to scratch my head. Who are these folks who will be living in the tiny houses. (rhetorical question)

    “The term “restorative justice” these days describes an increasingly broad collection of practices and programs, in settings ranging from prisons to schools to workplaces. It is the concept that animates the American debate over reparations for slavery, and at its most far-reaching, restorative justice drives the work of truth and reconciliation commissions like those convened in South Africa and Rwanda in the aftermath of apartheid and atrocity.

    In the criminal context, restorative justice most often involves face-to-face meetings between a victim and an offender (though practitioners don’t use those words, preferring descriptors like “affected party” and “responsible party,” because “victim” and “offender,” as one advocate explains, “leave people fixed in time,” and restorative justice is all about change). These meetings—often called “circles”—are also attended by members of the wider community: family, friends, other people affected by the crime. And by the time everyone sits down together, weeks or months of planning and preparation have gone into the event, as restorative-justice facilitators first meet separately—with both victim and offender—to gather information and to discuss in detail the expectations and structure of the coming dialogue and the process as a whole.

    When the face-to-face conversation takes place—and sometimes there is more than one—each party speaks, one at a time and without interruption, about the crime and its effects, and about the circumstances and life histories leading up to it. The person who has committed the crime takes responsibility, expresses remorse, and offers a detailed public apology; victims give voice to their pain, their feelings, and their needs. Then the group comes to consensus on a set of actions that the offender can take to meet those needs, repair the harm, and prevent further offenses.” https://www.harvardmagazine.com/2021/07/features-restorative-justice

  7. Richard Vannice says:

    What is the definition of “restorative justice techniques”?
    The only definitions I have been able to find deal with the criminal justice system and those who have been wrongfully incarcerated.

  8. Hartman says:

    The negative commenters on this issue are consistent on at least one thing. Not a single one of these non-compassionate folks will EVER support any effort undertaken by anyone if it benefits those who sleep in the street. Simultaneously, the non-empathetic types salaciously degrade those who currently sleep on sidewalks, as though sleeping on a sidewalk is the First Choice of the homeless.

    Those who do make an attempt to improve the situation are met with derision and snarky negativism. By the way…the negative authors this bigoted vitriol never suggest any solutions other than to “ship” the homeless off to some other locale. It is unclear why the Negative Nabobs are so determined to hate their fellow human beings, but there it is.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Such nonsense. I don’t think anybody is against helping someone who is willing to help themselves. it’s the chronic abusers that make no effort to better themselves.

      There should be people lined up outside the door of the employment office when they open in the morning. City bus rides are free!

      When you see people passed out on the MUP’s in the middle of the day, it begs the question, “where are they at night?”. Prowling????

  9. Anony Mouse says:

    Does the application require no usage of drugs/alcohol for at least 30 days prior to move-in?

    I assume that once a person moves in any use of non-prescribed drugs or alcohol will be grounds for eviction….right?

    Or does onsite drug/alcohol use just put the person into the ‘restorative justice’ process?

    Will only people with a last known address in Albany qualify?

    The average cost of a tiny house in this village will average $50,000. Heat, hot water, electricity, and Wifi included in the rent. Additionally, a resident will have a source of income and pay $250-$350/month rent. $50 of the rent goes into a savings account until $2,000 is reached.

    Dear reader, this village clearly won’t be a tent/cardboard box shanty town coming soon to a city-owned piece of land hopefully not near you.

  10. Kathy says:

    I’ve seen other sites proposed here and in other cities. The one thing they all have in common is a lack is available resources such as groceries and health care. Are groceries and health care available within walking distance? Is the location on a bus route?

  11. Sue says:

    Being a moderate conservative, I think people with negative comments should keep it to themselves. Just try looking at this another way – perhaps in a positive light and hope for the best. I realize that seeing all the homeless in our state and the mess they leave behind has tainted a lot of people in how they perceive the homeless (including myself). In the last three months I have been accosted by homeless men and did not like it at all – but I for one will look at this venture and hope that it is successful.

  12. Richard Vannice says:

    To Hartman – not once in what I posted did I say that I did not support this program. All I asked for was a definition.
    Please stop painting those who’s opinion may be, or seem to be, in your eyes, different than others.

  13. Eric says:

    For those who publicly profess to care so deeply about the homeless, how many have you taken into your home? Put up or shut up. You got the room, you’re told us all how much you truly care for them, so prove it. This is rhetorical as I know you haven’t and never would.

  14. Glenn Edwards says:

    This is good news for our community! Supported affordable housing is such a huge need in Albany. The cost of a one bedroom apartment in Albany is $1,000 a month, and not everyone has a family safety net. Private enterprise is unable to address the need for low cost housing because there is no profit in it. My church in Eugene sold our property to Square One Villages and they are well on their way to providing 70 tiny homes with a similar model as this one. Residents will pay to live in their units. A project like this will support many 55+ adults who live on small disability or social security checks. I would assume residents will have to apply and have some income to be eligible. Thankfully Albany has other groups, like CHANCE on the front lines of sheltering people off the streets and offering drug recovery programs.

  15. Jeff says:

    While I may not have great expectations for the success of this project, at least the group is trying to do something besides complaining about the problem. Even better they are doing it with private funds. I’ll have to call myself out and admit I would feel differently if they were proposing to put it next door to my own home. But for what it is, it seems prudent to see how the thing actually turns out before assessing the project as a success or failure.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      It’s certainly not ALL private funds-

      From the article- “There are many interesting facets to this development, the first of its kind in Albany. One of them is that this past February it received approval of a $1.6 million grant from the Oregon Health Authority.”

      From one of Hasso’s comments to a poster- “The “city” has nothing to do with this project, run by a nonprofit and financed with grants (including one from the city) and donations.” —How much left is from “private”funds? Just because they are a non profit doesn’t mean the “workers” aren’t well remunerated. The president of OPB ( a PRIVATE non profit) made nearly $500k last year.

  16. Kristina Robb says:

    I am so excited to see this progress! I’ve been following the project, and it’s so cool to see such good things really happening. My husband and I are among the statistical homeless since last Christmas – victims of the pandemic/reduced work hours at the time/illness etc. Our situation is much improved, but finding a rental or willing landlord has been extremely difficult.

    To live in such a community would be an enormous blessing. I have been trying to figure out who to contact (the Consortium perhaps?), and will keep at it. Either way, it’s just refreshing to see that there are still people that actually care are willing to DO SOMETHING.


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