Bud Clark Commons

Innovating Homeless Services

Bud Clark Commons, Portland

Our founding mission was: “To provide lodging, food and other assistance for poor and homeless men.”

The Apartments at Bud Clark Commons offer 130 studio homes that serve residents who have been experiencing homelessness.  Nine of the apartments have physical accommodations for accessibility.  Part of an innovative center that serves persons who are homeless, the community is located at the western foot of the Broadway Bridge, near mass transit and services.

# of Units

Unit Type


Rent Amount



352 sq. ft.

28.5 – 31% of income


Studio Accessible

375 sq. ft.

28.5 – 31% of income

  • The Apartments at Bud Clark Commons provide studios for the most vulnerable homeless individuals as screened by four medical clinics using a vulnerability index tool.
  • An on-site operations team and partner organizations assist residents with case management; medical, mental health, substance abuse treatment; vocational, employment, and money management services; life skills training; and advocacy.
  • The day center, managed by TPI, provides services for people experiencing homelessness
    • Basic needs – showers, laundry, clothes, food, information and referrals
    • Learning center – education, GED, computer skills
    • Wellness center – basic care, health and nutrition education, links to medical providers
    • Housing center – assists with locating, successfully applying and maintaining housing
  • Doreen’s Place, managed by TPI, coordinates volunteer-based cooking for one meal each day; case managers, counselors and advocates work with 90 residents to achieve permanent housing (average stay is approximately two months).
  • The facility is certified LEED Platinum and includes numerous sustainability features including solar hot water pre-heat panels, heat recovery ventilators, and greywater recycling.
Building Uses


  • 90-dormitory beds for men needing short-term housing (including 45 beds reserved for veterans)
  • 100 studio apartments with project-based Section 8 subsidy
  • 30 studio apartments with public housing subsidy

The Apartments at Bud Clark Commons provide homes for persons who have been experiencing homelessness.  The studios have full kitchens and baths, as well as storage areas that accommodate bicycles.  A community room with television, free internet access, laundry facilities, and spacious balconies off each floor are available for residents.  The controlled access building has a 24-hour desk and resident services staff on site.

Income Guidelines

Applicants must be homeless and have an annual income that does not exceed 35% of area median income for their family size and meet the requirements of the Public Housing program. Priority is given to applicants who are referred by community health clinics.

Building Features

History of Project


  Transition Projects began in 1969 in Portland, Oregon when Reverend Gilbert N. Lulay leased a hotel on the corner of NW 2nd and NW Couch Streets in Old Town/Chinatown. Offering room for 20 homeless men, men with nowhere to go would knock on the door and find a safe place to sleep. Lulay began calling his work Burnside Projects.


Rev. Lulay contacted 13 churches concerned about the inner-city. The group was called HUB-CAP and included Lake Oswego Methodist, St. Mary’s Cathedral and Downtown Chapel. The pastors were invited to spend a night at Burnside Projects and following that HUB-CAP helped incorporate Burnside Projects. The founding board members were: Rev. Lulay, Rev. Louis H. Weis, Fred Abojian, Rev. Richard Hughes and Jean Vollum. The Founding Mission was: “To provide lodging, food and other assistance for poor and homeless men.” The agency also distinguished itself by not requiring people to pray before they received assistance. Realizing that homeless women were also in great need the agency began serving them in 1974 and hired its first paid staff. In time, the agency operated adult shelter, youth shelter, an alcohol and drug outpatient program, day shelter, an employment program, a clean-up center, and many other programs.


Mayor Bud Clark’s 12-Point Plan on homelessness increased Portland’s efforts to end homelessness, and Burnside Projects joined with the City and other providers to find solutions to homelessness.


Burnside Projects changed its name to Transition Projects reflecting the agency’s work of helping people transition off the streets and out of homelessness. Transition Projects participated in Portland’s shelter reconfiguration plan that resulted in the closing of one shelter run by the county, and the opening of two other shelters run by Transition Projects.


Jean’s Place, a 55-bed (currently 60-bed) short-term residential program for women opened. It was, and remains, a model program for transitioning women out of homelessness.


The Clark Center, a 90-bed short-term residential program for men opened.


Transition Projects joined with other community providers and the City of Portland to offer a response to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s mandate to create 10-year plans to end homelessness.


The Clark Center Annex, 22 units of permanent supportive housing for men opened.


 Transition Projects commemorated 40 years of service to the community.



Joining with partners – the City of Portland and Home Forward (formerly the Housing Authority of Portland) – the agency opened the landmark Bud Clark Commons, an innovative project that set new standards for providing shelter, day services and housing. The LEED Platinum building houses Transition Projects Day Center, Doreen’s Place, a 90-bed short-term residential program for men, the Transition Projects administrative offices plus Home Forward’s five floors of studio apartments which they managed and staff.


With support from the City of Portland, Transition Projects opens the Sears Shelter in SW Portland. Formerly an armory, the building shelters up to 167 individuals comprised of women and couples. It is the first publicly-funded shelter in Portland accessible to couples. Transition Projects takes over managing the City’s Severe Weather Shelter program in partnership with the Imago Dei Community in SE Portland.

The Day Center hits a daily record on a sunny day in November with 824 unique participants coming in for services. When originally opened in 2011, the Day Center was designed to support up to 400 individuals daily. As 2015 comes to a close, Transition Projects and its partner agencies celebrate housing 695 veterans during the year – 5 more than the community’s ambitious goal set at the start of 2015.


With support from the City of Portland, Transition Projects opens the Peace Shelter in Downtown Portland to serve 100 men.

Funding of Project

Financial breakdown

Past 30 Days

  • Distributed the shelter contributions out of the partnership and to HAP.
  • Continued monitoring of development progress, costs and available funding. HAP

issued tax-exempt bonds are 90% drawn, while construction progress is at 100%.

  • Development proceeds are sufficient to pay construction costs and carry the

development through initial operations and stabilization.

  • Monitoring the initial operating and lease-up budget and cash flow for initial rental

management operations and residential services.

  • Continued regular reporting to funders on progress of construction, uses of funds

and sufficiency of funding to complete the development.

  • Submitted draw requests for reimbursement and current costs for PDC/PHB grant

sources, HAP sources and bond sources.

  • The balanced development budget is provided below. Budget pressures are listed


 Next 60 Days

  • Continue closing contracts and processing final invoices for final accounting of

development costs and start of cost certification activities.

  • Continue to monitor the initial operating and lease up budget and cash flow for

initial rental management operations and resident services.

  • Continue processing invoice payments and draw requests from loans and grants.
  • Continue reporting to funders on progress of lease-up, uses of funds and sufficiency

of funding to complete the development.

  • Continue compiling request for second capital contribution from the limited partner.
  • Continue preparations for the partial bond pay-down in August and for the final

bond pay-off in January 2012.

Budget Pressures

  • Construction: The construction process is complete with only punch list items

remaining to be completed.

  • Furniture and Fixtures: Furniture installation is complete.
  • Operations: Staff and residents have begun to occupy the building in accordance

with the approved Operations Plan. Currently in the Lease Up Phase of the project.

Influences on Survey Response Rate

The following factors have been studied as potentially affecting survey response rates.
As to each factor there haye been various research findings as to whether there is a
demonstrated effect between that factor and a higher response rate.

BIM-based Multi-Trade Prefabrication

Since the introduction of BIM, the construction industry has looked at many ways to use the software to increase efficiency and decrease time needed for a project.

The Living Roof

Pioneered in Germany in the 1960s, a modern “living” or “green” roofing system is more than dumping soil on a roof and planting vegetation. These systems are one of the best examples of a green product on the market today.

Can Technology Save the Construction Industry?

The shortage of skilled labor will be a continual concern of the construction industry especially for the next 3-5 years. Technology will play a key role in developing a new workforce and increasing efficiency in product delivery.