Construction Union Workers Honored in Portland

lunchThe AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) hosted a worker appreciation lunch at the construction site of Westmoreland’s Union Manor in Portland, OR. Union workers are modernizing the apartment building, and the HIT’s $25.9 million investment of union capital will help keep 100% of the apartments affordable to Portland seniors. The project is creating approximately 290 union construction jobs. More than 100 people attended the luncheon, including construction workers, HIT staff, Building Trades representatives, State and City officials and business managers. The appreciation luncheons are HIT’s way of thanking union construction workers on its projects for their quality work.

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust is a fixed-income investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It manages over $5 billion in assets for over 370 investors, which include union and public employee pension plans. The investment objective of the HIT is to provide competitive returns for its investors and to promote the collateral objectives of constructing affordable housing and generating employment for union members in the construction trades and related industries.

Willy Myers, Executive Secretary Treasurer, Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council said, “The Building Trade’s community is fortunate to have the AFL-CIO HIT as a partner.  Utilizing local union pension dollars to invest in our community and create good paying jobs is a model for us in Oregon.” Among the other speakers at the event were HIT’s Director of Labor Relations Rod DuChemin and Emily Johnstone, HIT’s Managing Director of Business Development.  “Our investment in the Westmoreland represents a competitive rate of return for our investors, union jobs for the community and the preservation of 300 units of affordable senior housing,” Johnstone said.

checkThe Westmoreland’s Union Manor was originally built in 1966 with 301 age-restricted (62 years or older) units. To improve the property’s current condition, the new financing will help rehabilitate the building by replacing all major systems with new, energy efficient systems, and perform a seismic retrofit. This modernization will extend the useful life of the building for another 50 years.

The HIT’s financing will also help preserve the affordability of this project. Over one-half of the project’s units are affordable to extremely low-income households with incomes at less than 30% of area median income. Maintaining the affordability of these units is critical to these families and to the city of Portland.

The building will be managed by Manor Management, a union-based property management company.  There is a high demand for affordable housing in Portland because changing demographics and low vacancy rates have created significant increases in market rate rents.

In praise of HIT’s accomplishments, Joe Esmond, Business Manager, IBEW Local 48 said, “The IBEW Local 48 has been a proud supporter of the Housing Investment Trust for over 20 years and their investments support our members, our training programs and our labor community.”