Portland affordable housing complex takes modular approach to green

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Stuart Emmons, the Portland-based architect behind the Kah San Chako Haws project, said he hopes the design will change the way affordable housing is built in the future.
Courtesy NAYA

Stuart Emmons, the Portland-based architect behind the Kah San Chako Haws project, said he hopes the design will change the way affordable housing is built in the future.

Portland saw its first modular housing development open its doors this week with the launch of the Kah San Chaco Haws apartment complex.

The development, which means "East House" in Chinook, is a LEED Gold-certified modular apartment complex designed to provide energy-efficient homes for Native Americans living in poverty.

"This is the first modular housing development that is made up of stacked modular units in an apartment style,” said Rey España, director of community development for the Native American Youth and Family Center, the organization that led the project.

Additional support came from the Portland Housing Bureau, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Housing and Community Services and Capital Pacific Bank.

The nine-unit complex consists of three studio apartments, three one-bedroom apartments and three two-bedroom apartments. The units were built at Blazer Industries Inc. in Aumsville — the same company building the portable classroom units being designed at Portland State University.

The units are modular and stackable. The total length of time for design, securing permanent financing, permit acquisition, and construction was 13 months, compared to the 18 to 24 months that it takes for traditional stick-built, affordable housing complexes.

To learn more about the project, click through the gallery and read this article published in Metroscape magazine.

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