Humboldt Gardens

Year Completed: 

Humboldt Gardens is a groundbreaking green community of townhomes, flats, and apartments built around a central pocket park.

Developed to replace the badly aging and inaccessible Iris Court apartment complex off Vancouver Avenue in North Portland, Humboldt Gardens is Portland’s second redevelopment effort anchored by a federal HOPE VI grant. Designed from the ground up with input from the entire community, the site incorporates a high number of green features such as low-flow showers and toilets, storm water swales, and Energy Star appliances.



  • 130 apartments for households earning less than 60% MFI, including
  • 100 units with public housing subsidy (with 20 of these units serving as permanent supportive housing using the Bridges to Housing model)


  • Community-friendly design includes new mixed use building on newly acquired highly visible corner, front porches, green spaces, and neighborhood connections
  • Pocket park provides community meeting space, play equipment and public art by Mike Suri
  • Working able residents agree to participate in Opportunity Housing Initiative
  • Community center includes a computer learning lab
  • Sustainability - LEED Gold for mixed use building; first-of-their kind bioswales combine public and private stormwater filtration; energy savings from solar panels that produce electricity for community spaces in the mixed use building.
  • 21 homeownership opportunities were created within one mile of the redevelopment site with priority for Home Forward residents


  • Financial: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOPE VI program; City of Portland; Oregon Housing and Community Development LIHTC Program
  • Design & construction: Michael Willis Architects; Walsh Construction of Oregon and  C.J. Jackson Construction


  • Humboldt Gardens is a location for Home Forward’s Opportunity Housing Initiative, a support program that asks participants to set life goals and move beyond housing assistance to economic self-sufficiency.
  • Albina Head Start operates a program on-site for Humboldt Gardens and neighborhood children.
  • Human Solutions provides case management services for the 20 Bridges to Housing family households.
  • Humboldt Learning Garden is taking root on a lot adjacent to Humboldt School and across the street from Humboldt Gardens.