“Affordable Housing Push Challenges Single-Family Zoning” – Stateline

new housing models“Phil Chang added an apartment over the garage in his alley after the city of Bend, Oregon, made it easier to build what are known as accessory dwelling units. Two of the homes next door also have ADUs that can be entered from the alley.” – Erika Bolstad / The Pew Charitable Trusts 

by Erika Bolstad

“It was, the Bend City Council reasoned, one way to make room for affordable housing in a city that saw its population double over two decades and is projected to add 30,000 residents by 2030. Bend and other Oregon cities have difficult-to-expand urban growth boundaries that limit new sprawl. That means new development must be a creative mix of habitat, especially if Bend wants to be affordable for everyone.

“‘What was done in Bend has now become a model,’ Bend Mayor Sally Russell said. ‘We started it, we tested it.’

“The new state zoning law also addresses a structural mismatch in available housing, particularly in cities like Portland, said Mary Kyle McCurdy, deputy director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, a conservation group that got its start advocating to restrict sprawl in the 1970s.

“In Portland, two-thirds of households consist of one or two people, McCurdy said, yet most of the available homes are detached single-family housing. An estimated 90% of residential areas are zoned for single-family, detached homes.”

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