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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.

Author Profile Photo

Jack Hirsh

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



  1. Just what we need! Does anyone think that the folks who live in this type of housing have any interest in Bend? Do you think they get involved in the community in any way, participate in elections, keep the city clean, etc? Quite frankly these folks could care less about Bend and you can bet the city will suffer more degradation from this stupidity.

      1. My friends, the City of Bend has always subsidized rich developers at the expense of the average citizen.

        You must understand that Bend is run a good old boy community, made up of big timber money developers intent on cashing in on the California migration.

    1. I know they do. I work with people that live in apartments and other multi-family dwellings. They are all quite invested in making Bend their home and being good community members. They vote, some help coach their kids’ sports teams, some volunteer at and/or donate to local charities, they spend their money at local stores… Ya know, sort of like they’re people living their lives like everyone else. Who are you to think you can gatekeep the quality of an individual based on the type of dwelling they live in? I’ll bet your parents would be so proud of the elitist, judgmental, and hateful person you became. Well done.

      1. all you have to do is have lived here for 10yrs or more and look where Bend was and where it is now. Look at the school board, the city council that won’t stand up for the pledge of allegiance, the homeless camps, the rising property taxes, not to mention an infrastructure not built for the masses as you are backed up 1/2 mile in some roundabouts. Its time to move out of Bend, her days are done.

    2. Exactly what trait is it that you believe defines these people? How does it lead to the behavior you are predicting? Is this a rich people are morally superior/poor people are morally inferior argument?

    3. Just curious. What is it exactly that YOU think the folks who live in this type of housing ARE interested in? I’ve never given much thought as to how my thinking (one who owns his own single family swelling) differs from someone who lives in a duplex or an apartment….. For the record, in the past I have liven in a duplex and an apartment.

    4. ok, boomer

      hear me out. There are plenty of people who live in fancy pants houses who don’t have any interest in Bend. The people who need these new places are young, hip, greenies who won’t have cars and will only ride their bikes to buy coffee and beer. That’s what they want! The $100k sprinter that daddy bought them will only be used on weekends to go get instagram pictures at Smith or Sparks lake, to the mountain for skiing, back to Portland for dinner with mom, to the veterinarian to get their Chocolate Lab’s nails trimmed, to Newport Market for extra supplies, or when it rains or if there is snow on the ground.

      So totally green people like the city council wants! Win-win!

    5. Gotta agree with Boomer, in our neighborhood made up of single family homes there is one apartment building. Never in the 20 yrs I’ve lived in this neighborhood have I ever seen the police having to respond to any of the homes. Not the case with the apts though, over the years we’ve seen a number of police calls and last year even SWAT having to respond. So besides not having any skin in the game or a connection with the neighborhood it also weighs on people’s psyche when they have to live stacked on top of each other. And then there’s the negative impact on Americans missing out on building equity when we become a nation of renters rather than a society of owners.

    6. Well Mr Fancy Pants seems like you have it all figured out but left something out …..its called caring for humanity . You should be praying for the homeless not beating them down

      1. Why don’t you have them set up camp in your yard and you can run a soup kitchen for them and let them use your bathroom/shower? Or you could let them defecate all over your yard but go pick it up yourself. Prayer is wonderful but start putting your actions where your holier than thou statements are

        1. You laugh at a Starbucks-sipping, Pomeranian-walking hipster as reminiscent of deplorable Seattle and denigrate the homeless by characterizing them as dirty, etc. Guess the only people you consider equals are those who look and act like you? You chastise phloxie about words and action. Tell me, do you follow your own advice or is it as worthless as the disdain you dish out?

  2. I don’t think income or housing density precludes civic involvement. Particularly if these folks have kids. Schools usually pave the way for community involvement.

    1. No they don’t. Schools are trying to discourage parental involvement in education. They certainly are not paving the way for community involvement.

      1. Not true. Some kind of parental involvement is critical to kids’ success in school, and all educators realize that. The school districts simply don’t want disruptive people at board meetings, threats, and the like.

      1. No we do not have a significant source of water to sustain the present growth. Wells are presently drying up, the reservoirs have very little water in them. The snow pack, that we need for our water, has not been sufficient enough to sustain the population we have now.

  3. I hate what this town is becoming. Idiots like commenter #1 and thousands of people moving here every day. Yeah, lets build up high and block the view and the sun we all moved here to have. Such a shame, the “management” of this city and state.

    1. “management of this city and state”

      I think you are onto something here….

      Meanwhile, why cant INTEL bring some of the projected 190k jobs expected for sites in Ohio, Texas and Arizona?

      Dont worry about the raging illegal, slave operated pot farms in the southern part of the state though.

      Look elsewhere to find the definition of LEADERSHIP.

  4. And still in Bend with every housing unit is paid a system development charge that by law must be used to promote car usage. This is not a joke

  5. Good grief, it looks like I ignited a firestorm with my comment. I want to apologize to anyone I offended, it’s just that I have lived thru this in another city and watched it first hand. I hope I am wrong, I guess time will tell. By the way, boomer is just my handle, I’m 37 years old

    1. Yeah you really lit it up in here. Single family homes are generally better for society. It’s just a fact of life. I’m not sure why that offends people. What should offend people is a city that is doing everything in its power to stack up like Portland.

      1. How would you accommodate the continued growth then, Skiz? Tell them to live somewhere else, go back where they came from? State land-use laws require cities and counties to project, and takes steps to accommodate expected growth.

        1. Why is there the perceived need that we need to make everyone (including homeless polluting our streets with trash and faeces) feel welcome and solve their problem of not being able to afford living here? Last I checked really nice places to live that remain so have a really high price of admission that a lot of people can’t afford. I want to live in Malibu, why aren’t they making a house overlooking the ocean affordable for meeeeeeeeeee

          1. You are conflating the issue of homelessness with state land use laws. They do meet in the very difficult issue of housing affordability. Will not answer repetitive, rhetorical questions that don’t reflect the reality of challenging issues.

          2. For the same reason there is a perceived need to make healthcare affordable and available for all. America has always made great efforts to care for the sick, hungry and poor. It’s a shame you’ve adopted the “why can’t I get a handout” victimhood instead of stepping up to help as you advise other commenters to do, You complain about the homeless being here where they can’t afford to live and yet resent that no one is willing to help you live somewhere you can’t afford. Double standard much?

        2. yes Barney, live ‘somewere’ else where things are affordable, that’s reality. And that’s what I had to do 20 or so years ago when I moved to Central Oregon. There are no participation trophies in the real world.

              1. How do you “stop the development”? If someone has land and follows the rules/policies, they get to build. Govts. have to have a legally defensible reason to say no or it gets overturned on appeal (and reasons like “we don’t need/want you” or “we already have enough” won’t stand up, I’m pretty sure.)

    2. Boomer, no need to apologize. You just fell into the trap set by the Bend Oligarchy, where they pit the their surfs against each other to distract from their crimes against humanity.

    1. Another word is Californicated. Bend is trashed. The bum tents are creeping back in and apathy from our civic stewards. Conservatives, don’t let the screen door hit ya on the way out. I’ll be joining the exodus in about a year and a half hopefully.

    2. Bend is not busted… it’s just changing . New folks who embrace the crowding will move in, old ( not age) folks who don’t like it will move out. Not everyone will be happy with the change, but it will change. It’s too nice a place not to expect more people .

  6. Meanwhile, rent in these probably starts at the average $1600/month, or the duplexes etc start at $420K. At last! Affordable housing! Time to pay city council on the back.

    1. Agreed! If you want a successful city, let the private sector take care of it. If you want things to continue to be screwed up, let the government take care of. If you want invention and ingenuity, you wont find it in the government. The only thing you find in the government is regulating bodies and regulations to get in the way of progress. So called progressives get in the way of actual progress with their continuous regulatory processes. Slow the regulations and our will country prosper.

    1. To accommodate expected growth, as state land use laws require. Folks who can afford it have the right to live where they wish, and developers who follow local regulations have the right to build for them. (And local govts. can’t pass laws that basically prevent development and see them pass legal muster.)
      You can require many things, if they are deemed reasonable, but not just say “go away.” That’s from covering state land use issues since the … ’70s?!

      1. Barney, you sound like a puppet of the Bend Oligarchy. If State land use laws are the source of Bend’s crime against humanity then KTVZ should be promoting land use reform, not making accuses for California City Council of Bend.

        1. Not stating my opinions, just the facts of why things are done the way they are now, because in this area, like others, the false ulterior motives/Blame Society abound – and there are logical reasons why you can’t, for example, “just say no” to growth. Want to see land use reforms? Go for it! And good luck.

      2. (And local govts. can’t pass laws that basically prevent development and see them pass legal muster.). Yes, they can. They do it in Utah becasue they don’t have the water to support further development.

    2. I agree with your sentiment. I’m afraid Oregon’s laws forbid discouraging growth, at least in part because of the developer/builder/realtor interests which are so powerful in our state.

      1. A bit of context from an old-timer – land-use laws, passed in the days of Tom McCall, aimed to prevent sprawl swallowing up farmland as seen in other states. Huge tradeoffs, to be sure, in constraining growth in urban growth boundaries. (Besides, if the developers/Realtors were all-powerful, wouldn’t they be able to lobby against and even ‘kill’ such restrictions on their business?)

  7. Bend leaders and cities like Bend and their leaders are just wh*res for money, they will let these high rise apartment complexes go in, they will allow hundreds of homes to be slapped up in a neighborhood without any regard for traffic, where are all of these vehicles going to drive? On bends 2 lane roads? Where are all of these kids going to go to school? In the already overcrowded schools? Not to mention the absolute inflated housing market! Renting one of these fancy apartments $1800 for a 1 bedroom? Are you kidding me? And the quality of these $400k-$650k homes is disgusting! These new cookie cutter homes all look alike and they look like section 8 housing, what fool pays that kind of $$ for these overpriced, low quality, NOT unique shacks? Nevermind, disregard that question, the answer all the fools who are moving here for some false sense of coolness or small town charm. Funny, they all dress alike, they all where their hair and beards the same, wear the same shoes, drink the same beers, drive the same cars, OMG. Shame on Bend’s leaders, growth comes with a cost, and apparently the cost is the way of life that alot of us have grown up with. It’s gross, but unfortunately it is happening everywhere, not just here.

  8. Ok, so that is the direction we are going. Question, is city staff and counsel planning for more parking and wider roads to accommodate these folks?? Seems like a natural question to ask .

    1. Why not put in the infrastructure before you allow the packing of the rats in the “high density” areas. I agree with you. Where are the roads, the schools, the parking, the public services, etc to accomodate all these people Barney feels we are obligated to provide housing for because they want to live here

  9. all you have to do is look at Bend 10yrs ago and compare it today. The school board, the city council, the homeless camps etc.

    select Oregon then Bend-LaPine

  10. It is always fun to see city officials pat themselves on the back and claim their policy changes made this happen. Wrong. Reason for the change is that the developers can make more profit on the multi units. No other reason. Profit (and campaign donations) drive the decisions in this town.

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

    This is an absurd position with no logic behind it that makes any sense. There is plenty of land available outside the UGB, but the “wise ones” want people put into crowded living instead. Expand or eliminate the urban growth boundary. It is an artificial obstacle that forces prices higher for those the “wise ones” claim to be most concerned about. Supply and demand work when reasonable rules are in place to keep insiders from taking an unfair share. The Urban Growth Boundary does just that. It is interfering with normal supply and demand functions that would otherwise make it possible for many of those renting to be able to purchase their own home. I guess those in charge are more interested in helping landlords become even wealthier and keeping others renting forever.

      1. How people vote is normally determined by how the situation is presented. My family benefits from the UGB as it helps keep the price of real estate in Bend higher than it would be otherwise. But we still see the UGB for what it is. A way to keep prices artificially higher which negatively affects those who do not own a home the most while increasing the value of real estate inside the UGB. People vote for their own best interests even if it often means screwing others so they can benefit themselves. Then people complain about the homeless. We have so many problems that could be solved if people were just less selfish. The rich get richer and then pass laws to keep it that way. Economics 101 in the USA.

  12. Bend’s 2021 metrics say this – Bottom Line Up Front – “Follow the $$$”.

    Bend Demographics
    According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Bend was:

    White: 92.53%
    Two or more races: 3.45%
    Asian: 1.75%
    Other race: 1.16%
    Black or African American: 0.58%
    Native American: 0.50%
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.04%

    The average household income in Bend is $88,880 with a poverty rate of 10.32%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $1,276 per month, and the median house value is $384,800. The median age in Bend is 38.9 years, 37.6 years for males, and 39.9 years for females.

    Bend Household Types
    Female 41.8% 58.2%
    Male 44.7% 55.3%
    Non Family 46% 54%
    All 60% 40%
    Married 75.2% 24.8%

    Rate of Home Ownership

  13. And more traffic, and more homelessness, and more crime, and more frustration and anxiety living in an overcrowded city jam packed with people. Great idea city counselors

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