BEND, OR -- An affordable housing pilot project approved by the 2016 State Legislature has been awarded to Bend. Both Bend and Redmond submitted proposals, but just one could be approved for the program, which allows a city to fasttrack a UGB expansion for the purposes of creating more affordable housing.
Lynne McConnell, the Affordable Housing Manager for the City of Bend, says the project is going to serve all income levels. "The City of Bend worked with a private land owner for the opportunity to bring in about 35 acres of land on the east side of Bend."
Redmond's Deputy City Manager John Roberts was gracious, and he says Redmond isn't finished looking for creative ways to provide affordable housing for residents. "We're really happy for Bend. Affordable housing is critical, and it's a regional issue, so it's just simply important that the region is getting the project, period."
Bend’s proposal will put a 394 home development on 35 acres near Highway 20 in SE Bend, along with a park ... McConnell says it will have 185 homes for those making less than 60% of the Area Median Income, 175 for those making 80 to 120% of the AMI, and 25 units for those at the over 120% wage mark.
McConnell says the legislation will allow a faster process for expanding the urban growth boundary. "It put us in competition with cities over 25,000 population, only one city was able to be chosen, for the opportunity to bring in up to 50 acres to our Urban Growth Boundary." And Roberts says their application for about 485 units on 40 acres NE of Redmond, was rejected by the State, but they're not giving up hope. "We won't be moving forward, but we are hopeful that some legislation might be introduced and passed this session that enables us to revisit."
McConnell believes the State appreciated that the 35 acre, 394 home neighborhood in Bend will truly be mixed income. "Really giving opportunity to the entering school teachers, and firefighters, as well as folks who are looking for a wonderful place to be close to amenities." She says the new development will have a huge impact for those who are struggling to make ends meet.