HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Riverfront beat: Taking a look at The Banks

Written October 3rd, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Taking a photo of the bike racks outside the clubhouse of The Banks apartments Monday afternoon.

They’ve installed bike racks at The Banks, the 120-unit apartment complex under construction on the Willamette River near Bowman Park in Albany. So things are looking up.

The construction site is on my riverfront beat, which is why I’ve written about it from time to time. Construction started last year after the quiet old neighborhood on Albany’s East End failed in its efforts to stop the project.

Some of  the eight three-story apartment buildings look nearly finished. The first apartments may be ready later this month or in November, according to the project’s website.

On Monday afternoon the entrance, opposite Bowman Park at 595 Geary Street N.E., was wide open, and I rode in. The bike racks outside the complex’s clubhouse were the first thing that caught my eye. Two were installed; the third had yet to be bolted down.

The units in the complex have been described as “market-rate apartments.” The website says the monthly rent starts at $1,350 for a studio and at $2,000 for a unit with three bedrooms and two baths.

A couple of weeks ago, the bike took me on the dirt path between the complex and the river. The plans approved by the city call for it to be replaced with a 10-foot-wide improved path, maybe paved. It occurred to me that the unimproved track, lined by berry bushes and trees, seemed all right the way it is.

More traffic was the main concern of neighbors when the project was undergoing city review. By early next year, after people have moved in, we should get an idea of how big an issue — if any — this turns out to be. (hh)

These buildings at The Banks look nearly finished, don’t they?

 

Looks like they were testing the sprinklers Monday afternoon.

 

Concrete steps lead from the complex up to Linn Avenue.





16 responses to “Riverfront beat: Taking a look at The Banks”

  1. Absurd says:

    $1350! for a Studio Apartment in Albany?

  2. MarK says:

    120 unit apartment complex DEFINITELY doesn’t equate to “waterfront beautification”

  3. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Applying the 40x rent rule, $1350 x 40 = $54,000 average annual income, his seems easily achievable for at least 50% of the working folks according to the Oregon Blue Book.

    The Blue Book says average annual pay in Oregon for the information industry was $89,699, federal government ($76,990), professional and business services ($73,469), financial activities ($73,314) and manufacturing ($71,434).

    This new, beautiful apartment complex sounds like affordable housing to me.

    • Abe Cee says:

      You forgot to account for the fact that many of those that complain about lack of affordable housing also want to have the latest cell phone, drive a new SUV, get a daily latte, smoke a pack a day and drink only top shelf booze so they can’t afford market rate housing. Why should a developer be able to make a profit while they have to scrimp on their coffee and smokes?

      • Cheryl P says:

        That’s a bunch of horse crap and you know it because the average person in Albany can’t even afford all that stuff to begin with. Again, I make a fairly decent wage…above average for Albany because I commute an hour. I own a 2015 CAR, my cell phone is a few years old, I get a Kicker maybe a few times a year…usually at the start of my vacation (road trip) and on Black Friday. Considering I’m 60+ you’re damn straight I drink top shelf booze…when I drink. I still have 3/4 of a bottle of Pendleton that I got six years ago. But I noted above, even with a fairly decent wage, I still can’t afford to pay $1350 and basic living expense much less pay for all the rest of that stuff.

        After taxes, my net is around $3200. Minus $120 for my 401(k) minus $390 for a modest health plan leaving me with $2690. Rent of $1350…for a STUDIO apartment is 50%. Out of remaining $1340 I will need to pay Electric, Internet and Phone which I could probably do for about $200. When I said I have a modest car payment…$270. Full coverage auto and renter’s insurance would be around $100. Now I’m down to $770. Now in order to make money, I have to spend money…specifically I need to pay for gas, oil change and tires…that runs around $350 a month. Groceries are going to run me around $100 a week (Groceries includes lunch and supper, person hygiene, laundry soap, etc). That leaves me with…MINUS 15.00.

        I’m already in the hole and I haven’t added clothing, entertainment and miscellaneous much less the latest iPhone, SUV, lattes, top shelf booze or smokes.

        Now ask the AVERAGE person in Albany, who makes around $32k Gross…to pay $1350.

        • Abe Cee says:

          Apparently since I didn’t preface my statement with a satirical headline it went past you.

          No one is forcing you to live in Albany. Many of your expenses are not “needs” but “wants”. You don’t have to have a car, cell phone, booze, etc. Those are things that would be luxury items for disposable cash after paying for “needs” like housing and food. You may think you need a car to get to work but you could also choose to live closer to where you work, carpool, take public transportation, etc. No one is saying it would be easy or free, just that it’s not a true need if you don’t have the extra cash. Again, satire warning applies.

          Also, I’m pretty certain that the new apartments were never intended to be “minimum wage affordable”. They were billed as market rate which means “whatever they think they can get for them”. They aren’t the only apartment complex in town charging that rate either….Timberridge is asking even more for their studio.

    • Cheryl P says:

      The Oregon Blue Book lies. How many people do you know in Albany who make that kind of money? According to the US Census Bureau, the median income for a single person in Albany is $32,025 and for a household it is $62,172.

      I’m in “professional/business services” and to make $73,469 a year I would need a four-year Degree AND work in Portland. And while I make a pretty good living considering I don’t have a Degree (just 30 years experience) and wouldn’t work in Portland if you paid me six figures, I still can’t afford $1350 for a Studio when you add in even modest costs…electric, cable/internet, phone. You have to eat, and wash your body and your clothes. You have to have a decent vehicle which comes with insurance costs and maybe a payment or good public transportation system. You need clothes on your back and Wal-Mart isn’t THAT cheap, though second-hand is always an option. If you’re in your 20s you probably don’t NEED health insurance. You can’t rely on Social Security so you need some kind of retirement plan. And let’s not forget taxes…federal and state income tax, FICA/Medicare, WBF, STT and the upcoming OFLA. But hey…who needs to have fun…we live to work and live in a fancy apartment?

      Of course, if TWO people are working……………… I love my husband and I know that he loves me, but we would kill each other in a Studio apartment.

      • Patbalbany says:

        Exactly on point, Cheryl. These apartments are targeting a “higher end” client who wants the high end finishes and a location on the river. Thats their call to make when they planned the development. Personally, I don’t think folks making $60-$70K a year are looking for an apartment as a long term residence. They are more likely home buyers.

        Bottom line: There is absolutely no way a person should have to pay 40% of their income for housing.

    • Sonamata says:

      Wrong population, wrong data, invalid inference.

    • sonamata says:

      From the latest Oregon Dept of Employment quarterly data about Albany, by sector:

      Sector; Total_Employed; Avg_Annual_Wage; Percent_Albany_workforce

      Trade, transportation and utilities; 11404; $46,710; 20.9%
      Education and health services; 10913; $52,605; 20.0%
      Public administration; 8450; $68,186; 15.5%
      Manufacturing; 7526; $63,510; 13.8%
      Leisure and hospitality; 3932; $18,776; 7.2%
      Professional and business services; 3381; $62,065; 6.2%
      Construction; 3165; $61,221; 5.8%
      Natural resources and mining; 2361; $55,548; 4.3%
      Other services; 1394; $39,190; 2.6%
      Financial activities; 1197; $57,363; 2.2%
      Unclassified; 436; $60,230; 0.8%
      Information; 348; $64,812, 0.6%

      The weighted average annual wage for an Albany worker is $53,961.

  4. Joyce Farren Forbes says:

    The rent in Albany and surrounding areas is obscene!!!!!! What percentage of our population are not PROFESSIONALS making over 80,000 a year. Get real. even 54000 is way out of reality for all the retail workers, servers,, custodians,maids,hair stylists,fast food workers, students part time workers and lets not even mention the homeless who have mental issues that make it impossible to work. I could go on and on with this list. People in the service industries of which there are thousands are priced out of the rentals. What happens to single parents who have one or two kids they are trying to support on their service industry job. once again the Albany rental scene is pushing people into poverty situations. Lovely apartments by the river are not helping!

    • Bob Woods says:

      While I won’t sign on to “obscene” I agree that rents are unaffordable to a lot of people. That’s a big reason that the homeless are EVERYWHERE. The developers set their rents at a level that they are pretty sure from their research that they can rent out at a high occupancy rate.

      The problem is the wage people can get. The solution is having a minimum wage that is sufficient that any person working 40 hours a week a month provides enough NET income to pay for a studio apartment, health care, food and other living expenses.

      So the first thing to do is raise the minimum wage.

      The next thing is to incentivize developers to build ENOUGH apartments to satisfy demand. In reality that means a small but significant surplus of housing units is available all the time, which then works to stabilize the rental costs.

      There are a lot of factors at play, and it’s not easy. But something has to happen or homelessness will continue to increase. Right now the national unemployment rate is 3.7% – very low. If it increases, as it will at some point, things will get even worse.

    • M. Richner says:

      Lovely? I beg to differ. However, new has its advantages.

 

 
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