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Housing development helps Pendleton reach new heights

Antonio Sierra

East Oregonian

Published on December 10, 2014 8:45PM

Visitors mingle Wednesday in a furnished living room in one of the rental properties at Pendleton Heights neighborhood during a grand opening in Pendleton.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

Visitors mingle Wednesday in a furnished living room in one of the rental properties at Pendleton Heights neighborhood during a grand opening in Pendleton.

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The Pendleton Heights neighborhood is a new development offering 22 rental units off Tutuilla Road in Pendleton.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

The Pendleton Heights neighborhood is a new development offering 22 rental units off Tutuilla Road in Pendleton.

Buy this photo

Gusty conditions made it difficult to hold the ribbon Wednesday afternoon, but local officials managed to snip it with a pair of oversized scissors to mark the opening of Pendleton Heights.

Members from the Pendleton City Council, city staff and the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce ambassadors wandered in and out of the couple of homes made available to the public as developer Saj Jivanjee chatted with attendees.

With many of the townhouses’ interiors incomplete, Jivanjee estimated contractors would wrap up construction in two weeks on the initial set of 22 units.

In the spring and early summer, crews will return to Pendleton Heights to complete landscaping and start work on the first 10 units of a planned 50-unit addition.

Rental prices range from $895 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home to a $1,045 three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit. Jivanjee said that price range is aimed at Pendleton’s working class population.

City Councilman Tom Young said that although Pendleton Heights’ price range is slightly higher than normal for rental units, those prices are the best way developers can recoup their investment.

Young, who works at Keystone RV as a finance manager, said developments like Pendleton Heights will offer more housing opportunities for workers at his company.

Creating middle-income housing was the primary motive behind the city investing $973,215 into improving the section of Tutuilla Road where the development is located.

Because Jivanjee is expected to reimburse the city for those costs, the 40 to 45 people that have inquired about Pendleton Heights is a good sign for the development.

Councilwoman Becky Marks hopes the growing level of interest will translate into a boost for a housing market strapped for middle-income homes.

“We just have to offer alternatives,” she said.

One area that Pendleton Heights will offer a more immediate boost will be in the growth of the housing market, which has been anemic in recent years.

After granting just eight single-family dwelling permits through June, the Pendleton Heights development helped boost that number to 38.

That’s the most single-family permits issued since the city gave out 54 in 2002.

On a sour note, the city is on track to issue zero multi-family dwelling permits, the fifth time that’s happened since 2004.

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Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.



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