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With Plans to Build Housing for the Homeless, a Portland Developer is Privatizing Socialism

Reason no. 16 to love Portland right now.

Kevin Cavenaugh, the developer who completed the brightly colored Fair-Haired Dumbbell last year at the east end of the Burnside Bridge, is not just making Portland's skyline a stylistically interesting place. He's also trying to save our soul.

In a development that will break ground this year, he's tackled the thorniest problem the city faces—without government handouts to help him. He'll build housing for the homeless and subsidize it with market-rate rents.

The twin two-story buildings on Southeast Gladstone Street are called Jolene's First Cousin. They'll contain 11 rooms for formerly homeless people. Also in the buildings? Two market-rate lofts and three small commercial spaces, all on a 5,000-square-foot lot.

He wants to replicate this Creston-Kenilworth project with a "second cousin," a third, a fourth and so on, all across Portland.

"I want to be building Jolene's 20th Cousin in 2020," says Cavenaugh. "Right now, I'm proud of an idea. I want to be proud of an actual thing."

Cavenaugh also has a project in the design phase to provide subsidized housing for social workers trying to solve the homelessness crisis. At the Atomic Orchard Experiment, on Northeast Sandy Boulevard, 11 of the 55 one-bedroom lofts will rent for $582 a month. People with a master's in social work and whose job is related to homelessness will have first priority.

"It's about good-citizen housing," Cavenaugh says. "What they do makes Portland a better city. And I want to honor that. I don't want to live in a city that doesn't have first responders and teachers and social workers within its bounds."

2. TriMet Could Soon Stop Charging Life-Ruining Fines

3. You Can Now Smoke Weed While Listening to Live Classical Music

4. Oregon's Unemployment Rate is Incredibly Low

5. Your Favorite Sports Team is Only a Short Walk Away

6. The Blazers Star in Some Weird-Ass Commercials

7. We Now Have a Mountain Bike Park in the City

8. 24 hours after Chamber Music Northwest Burned Down, the Last Concert in the Series Went on as Planned

9. Portland is the Playground of Japanese Architect Kengo Kuma

10. You Can Soon Stream Local Music at the Library

11. Oregon Just Became the First State to Defelonize Hard Drugs

12. East Portland is Getting an Aerial Tree Walk

13. We're the World Capital of Canned Wine

14. Portland is a Hotbed of Small Bookstores

15. Unlike any Other City, We Have Multiple Niche Comedy Festivals

16. Our Developers Are Privatizing Socialism

17. The Nation's Best Airport Keeps Getting Even Better

18. We're Home to the World's First Sneaker Design School

19. Portland Scored the World's First Dog Tap Room

20Weed Prices are Falling From Cheap to Damn Near Free, and We Haven't Yet Found the Bottom

21. Our Local Mini-Mart Chain Makes Snickers Give You Free Candy Bars

22. The View From the MAX Orange Line is One of the Most Striking and Beautiful Paintings in the City 

23. We Are Still No. 1 in Semifactual Superlatives

24. We Make Biking So Accessible

25. You Can Crowdfund Anything Here

26. We Find So Many Ways to be Anti-Trump

27. Our Malls Are Becoming Cultural Embassies

28. Our Humane Society Rescues Pets From All Over the Country 

29. Winter This Year is a Pussycat

30. No One Mourns Closures Like We Do