The Bend Collaborative Housing Workgroup released a set of 12 policy recommendations intended to spur middle market housing development in Bend, as defined by housing affordable to those households making between 80 and 175 percent of area median income, or households making between $40,000 and $90,000 per year.
The slate of tools is the product of more than 500 hours of work over 12 months for the workgroup, made up of diverse stakeholders representing a variety of interest groups and views across the political spectrum.
“The workgroup is a rare collaborative approach to developing practical policies for increasing middle market housing in Bend,” said Kim Gammond, Central Oregon Association of REALTORS. “The recommendations reflect a spectrum of our community values: sustainability, home ownership, livability and attainable housing.”
The recommendations were released in a report shared with the Bend City Council on July 19 and can be found on the Bend 2030 website.
This week, the workgroup will ask the Bend City Council to support and follow up on the recommendations through public processes as part of the City’s work to implement the new urban growth boundary plan, which calls for a major increase in housing to accommodate the dramatic growth Bend will experience in the coming decade.
Answering the demand for more affordable housing has been difficult for homebuilders given high land costs in the area, but these recommendations offer tangible solutions to the challenge.
“COBA believes implementation of these recommendations will reduce real barriers for builders and developers as they aim to respond to the need for middle market housing,” said Karna Gustafson, Central Oregon Builders Association vice president for government affairs and legal counsel.
The workgroup will offer to host a number of public meetings in the summer and fall that explain the recommendations and give community members the chance to provide important input on key questions councilors may have about the tools. The format of the meetings will follow the outline of a workgroup “summit”held with community members in May, which helped the workgroup to refine and finalize the recommendations before releasing them.
“The 12 tools in the report are valuable because they represent the input of such a variety of stakeholders,” said Erin Foote Morgan, executive director of Bend 2030. “They help prioritize solutions to our housing crisis, which may be implemented with strong support from a broad cross-section of community members and organizations.”
Visit bend2030.org to access the report.