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Bend’s big shift from single-family homes to more multifamily housing tops city’s expectations

(Update: Adding video, comment from city officials)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With developable land in short supply in Bend, more and more multifamily housing are being built in the city.

The city’s chief operations officer, Russell Grayson, said Monday some policy changes were made over the past few years to help make the big shift happen.

Now, the city is seeing more multifamily housing then it ever thought they were going to see.

 Bend Chief Operations Officer Russell Grayson told NewsChannel 21 on Monday there were “650 units in construction right now.”

That’s compared to just 62 units completed in the past six months. The city has determined a reason for the shift in building habits.

"With single-family housing units, houses becoming so expensive in town, we realized we need different types of housing units on the ground,” Grayson said.

He said the goal was to make it closer to a 60-40 split between multifamily and single-family construction.

“We’re seeing a lot more apartment-type buildings, but we’ve also had some recent policy changes and code changes to allow more duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes,” tied to a change in state law that requires allowing multifamily housing in formerly exclusive single-family zoning, Grayson said.

Lynne McConnell, the city’s housing director, said the policy changes are partially a result of state pressure.

“We have to look at how to densify within city limits before we can look at expanding our urban growth boundary,” McConnell said.

And the other reason is the city’s growth

"Our growth is pretty exceptional,” McConnell said.

And if Bend keeps growing like it is now, you might expect to see more apartments, townhomes and duplexes coming to a block near you.

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.


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