North Baldwin is culturally-specific, permanent supportive housing located in the Kenton neighborhood. A joint venture between Home Forward and the Urban League of Portland, the project provides housing for chronically displaced Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) — particularly those facing past trauma, addiction, disability, and in need of stable housing and support. Sited in a North Portland neighborhood with its own history of segregation, the design is focused on equity as a guiding principle.
To foster design conversations during the global pandemic, the team went virtual with a series of online meetings with the community, neighborhood association, and prospective residents and staff. These active discussions not only informed the project’s goals and aesthetics but set a positive precedent for neighbors wary of new development.
The final design represents the interconnectedness of the building to its community, with gable roofs that honor the single-family homes of the neighborhood. The biophilic, trauma-informed design uses calming geometries, ample windows, rich landscaping, sheltered outdoor space and dedicated decompression areas for staff — cultivating a stress-free environment and helping residents regain purpose and dignity in their new home.