Thursday, May 13, 2021, marked a monumental moment. The CDC announced vaccinated people could be mask-free in many situations and Pinnacle’s newest affordable housing project, Colonia Paz, broke ground in Lebanon. With a fully vaccinated project team, the in-person event was a celebration on many fronts.
About Colonia Paz
Lebanon is an agricultural community with nearly 20,000 residents in Oregon. Farmworker Housing Development Corp (FHDC) asked Pinnacle to help them plan a multi-phase affordable housing development to support the community’s needs. The master plan is for 134 homes and designed around a wetland. The surrounding area is a mix of commercial and residential and ideally located near schools and social service providers.
All five buildings face a central courtyard with a pavilion, playground, basketball court, community garden boxes, and expansive walking trails. Community rooms and laundry room facilities throughout the community provide pocket areas for socialization.
Phase I, which recently broke ground, includes the first building with 24 one- and two-bedroom units. The unit layouts are open and efficient. The first building anticipates a Spring 2022 completion. Phase 2, which includes an additional 116 units, plans to break ground in 2022.
Why Colonia Paz?
FHDC said, “the name Colonia Paz (Community of Peace) was chosen by farmworker families and Latinx/a/o representatives in Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley. The name will unite and bring a sense of togetherness for communities during a time of global unrest, economic repositioning, and ongoing social and racial injustices.”
Connecting Culture through Art
During planning for Colonia Paz, it was important for the design to connect with the Hispanic residents. Hector Hernandez, a Portland-based Hispanic artist, was retained to create a mural on the front of the first building as you approach the new community.
FHDC and the artist describe the meaning behind the art:
The mural named Cultural Reckoning of Paz (Peace) pays tribute to the hard-working women and men that made it possible for us to have food on our tables during the pandemic. It serves as a cultural and physical marker representing a time in which a nation of immigrants reckons with its identity.
The mural comprises sections that symbolize the historical and timely realities of immigrant farmworkers in Oregon.
- The emerging butterflies from the fields symbolize the lives fallen during these days of the pandemic and the continued sacrifices to provide food to the region by risking their own lives.
A worker with a mask and protective gear stands as a symbol of resilience and strength.
- At the center of the mural, a couple of farmworkers pick local crops of apples and pears. The flowers form a design resembling the Oaxacan embroidered flowers of the Zapotec tradition, representing the confluence of Indigenous cultural heritage in Oregon.
- At the top of the mural, as the butterflies fly away, the women reaching out to them represents a gesture of freedom. The top left depicts the harsh working conditions of farmworkers giving their lives to providing food. The sequence of flying butterflies and doves symbolizes the process of labor and sacrifice.
- The backdrop of the sky depicts a mood as part of the tradition of the Latin-American and Mexican traditional imagery of day and night, light and darkness, and good and hard times…creating a setting for future PAZ (peace).
See more imagery of the proposed community here.