The Historic Landmarks Commission has approved a major renovation of the Medallion Apartments, a 6-story, 90-unit affordable housing development in Northwest Portland owned by Home Forward. The renovation is being designed by Holst Architecture, and will include new cladding, glazing, and roofing, as well as changes to the site and landscaping. 10 existing vehicular parking spaces will remain. 5 new short term bicycle parking spaces will be added at the ground level, and long term bicycle racks added to the units.
The Medallion Apartments site on a 21,000 sq ft lot at the corner of NW Johnson and NW 20th Avenue. The apartments were built in 1963-1964, by private developers. In 1978 the complex was acquired by the Housing Authority of Portland, now known as Home Forward. The building is considered a “non-contributing” resource in the Alphabet Historic District, created in 2000. The work follows in the footsteps of another recently renovated Home Forward building in the Alphabet District, Gallagher Plaza.
The existing uninsulated concrete masonry unit facade will be overclad with a new rainscreen cladding, including insulation and weather barrier. Materials proposed include thin brick on the main body of the building, Equitone fiber cement panels at the stair towers, and vertical cedar siding in between the unit entries. New guardrails will be installed at the elevated walkways. Existing windows will be replaced with VPI vinyl windows.
Site changes will include re-configuring the surface parking lot and consolidating the two existing curb cuts into one. A new plaza with seating will be created at the corner of NW 20th and Johnson St, adjacent to an interior community room. New site walls will enclose resident garden plots on NW 20th Ave. A new canopy structure facing NW Johnson will create a more prominent entry to the building.
The renovation of the Medallion Apartments was approved by a unanimous vote of the Landmarks Commission, on November 19th 2018. The project had previously gone in front of the Commission once before, for Design Advice on June 25, 2018. In the conclusion to the Final Findings And Decision By The Landmarks Commission the renovation was found to “increase the building’s compatibility with its surrounding historic district:
The proposed exterior alterations and site changes to this existing multi-dwelling development will increase the building’s compatibility with its surrounding historic district and improve and activate the surrounding pedestrian network. The proposed materials are of high quality and the careful details will contribute to the durability of the building.
Building permits will need to be obtained before construction can begin.
I wish there were a way to soften that parking court, such as making it out of pavers instead of asphalt.
I would love to see it paved instead of having asphalt
If you look at google street view, you can see that the residents have brought out chairs to sit in the shade of the small conifers. The landscape plan includes a place for people to sit, but neglects to replace the samll shade trees. I hope this oversight can be corrected
You really would rather have people putting chairs in the parking lot than a designed element!? Strange choice. Also, looks like a smoking area to me, not a lounging space
I misunderstood your comment, you’re suggesting shade at the new sitting area, makes sense
Is that curb bulb out something that will be built? Nice improvement to the building. I lived across the street for a while and am glad to see it getting some love.
Unreinforced masonry. Will there be any seismic upgrades?
The description says “uninsulated masonry”. I expect it has some rebar, but surely not to today’s standards…
Tenants have to relocate but are offered some assistance. Jesse Lamm is one of the four Home Forward employees who have been put in charge of going inside each tenants unit to take an inventory of their belongings in order to assess what residents should keep with them and what needs to go into storage until the renovations are done. That sounds ok until you learn that tenants will not have access to their belongings until March of 2020 if they decide to go with the storage option. And that Jesse Lamm was found guilty and convicted of two counts of theft just five years ago. Or that he was given tenants names phone numbers and emails to contact them but no notice was given to the tenants that he would be doing so and there was never any mention of any criminal background to the residents living there. Since he is a Home Forward employee you would think he would not have a criminal background. Why would Home Forward put someone with theft convictions in charge of itemizing and storing people’s property that they will not have access to for a year. When I asked management about it they said they knew he has convictions for these charges and to discuss it further I should
reach out and speak with the Home Forward Relocation Specialists’ supervisor, Myriam Demezas. Her direct number is
503 802 8502. When I tried to call I got her answering machine with a message that stated she was not available and that if I had any issues that were urgent or could not wait for any reason to contact……Jesse Lamm!… the very employee I was calling to speak with her about. This does not seem appropriate at all. Especially when residents were kept in the dark about it.