BEND, OR -- The bulk of Bend's workforce makes between $40,000 and $90,000 a year - people like nurses, firefighters, and teachers. But, high land costs make it difficult for them to find housing.
Bend 2030 Executive Director Erin Foote Morgan says the Bend Collaborative Housing Workgroup has spent about 500 hours over the past year trying to come up with tangible solutions for the city's mid-range housing problem. "This workgroup is a pretty innovation concept in Bend where we're putting together people who might not always talk to each other about their shared solutions. But, within this group, they're able to sort of take off any ideological hats and sort of get down to 'how do we move the needle and start actually solving the problem?'" In addition to Bend 2030, other members of the group are from the Central Oregon Builders Association, Central Oregon Association of Realtors, and the city of Bend.
They'll present their findings in detail to the Bend City Council Wednesday evening. Foote Morgan says sustainability, home ownership, livability and attainable housing were their main focus. "It's a pretty unique project that brings together folks from all across the political spectrum, and a bunch of different interest groups, to answer the question: 'What do we all agree on as policy solutions for spurring more middle market housing in Bend?' [and] 'What's the Sweet spot of where all of our interests align and we could actually make a difference?' This report is the 12 recommendations that the group put together." She tells KBND News, "It's actually pretty challenging for developers to meet the demand for middle-market housing because of the barriers for them to actually build it; because of the land cost, and there are a lot of things in the code that actually prevent people from being able to build small multi-family units on their property. So, how do we remove barriers in the code to allow for more middle-market housing development?" Foote Morgan says one idea the group came up with would be to redefine setbacks and change the current lot coverage of 40% to 60%, which would pave the way for more tri- and four-plexes in Bend.