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Amid housing crunch, construction projects delayed around Central Oregon

Several factors causing issues, from labor shortage to COVID-19, officials say

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Central Oregon seems to have ongoing construction projects around every corner, but developers are still not building homes as fast as they'd like.

Officials say there are several issues causing the delays, amid a lingering pandemic and soaring real estate prices tied to tight land supply and very high demand.

“We’re still having a labor shortage in the industry, and that compacted with the high demand and the prices right now, it’s making it really challenging for a lot of builders and contractors," Mandy Weidman, vice president of the Central Oregon Builders Association, said Monday.

Weidman said another major issue affecting construction sites is the need to comply with COVID-19 health regulations.

“They are staggering different contractors to do work, especially when it gets to the interior part of the house, because you can’t have a crew of people to finish construction as we would normally,” Weidman said.

City of Bend Community Development Director Russ Grayson says the city is still one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. When the pandemic hit, his department even closed open positions, expecting business to slow down.

“We’ve seen the exact opposite throughout the entire pandemic, and we’ve been trying to ramp up and re-staff at the appropriate level to handle the volumes, which none of us saw coming," Grayson said.

Grayson added that the housing crisis is also playing a role in increasing the number of building permits.
That combined with learning a new online permit system has slowed things down.

“Obviously, the housing crisis that we are in, there’s a lot of desire to get new projects out the door, so we have an extremely high workload right now,” Grayson said.

For the month of March, 136 single-family permit applications were submitted. In April, there were 164 applications. Grayson says on average, they receive less than 100 applications per month. He added that the first quarter of this year was one of the busiest periods they've had in the past five years.

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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.



    1. Correct thats what the builders association claimed, despite city data showing about the exact opposite- looks more like another real estate hype piece to quasi-justify our unsustainably high prices (they show up about once a month and masquerade as news, we are due for an edco one soon too)

      1. Or maybe it has to do with wood prices going through the roof. $7.50 a stud???? You see gas prices? $3.55/gallon. Thank your god Joe Wrinkled ****

        1. 2x6x8ft Framing studs are 14.47 today at the Orange store. They were 13.33 and 13.66 about 3 weeks ago.
          The US dollar dropping against Canadian currency is not helping either since we are importing large amounts of lumber. Can’t cut our own you know…. let it burn.

          1. KBND reported yesterday that lumber prices- across the board- are up 300%- adding an average $36,000 dollars onto every house being built in Oregon right now. Just more fallout from the Demokrat kreated kovid krunch (KKK)- a blatant effort to instill socialism- poverty- and absolute dependence on Joe Biden’s administration… Sorry kiddos yer in the fight of yer life- and you don’t even know it- like fat toads sitting in a warm cauldron of water- the temperature rising oh so slowly- till ya pop !

            1. BGHW — not that you will believe this article – but DT holds some responsibility with the lumber cost/ shortage. Note the years (2017 and 2018) a time when DT was in office, playing his control games. COVID plays a part – but so did he.

              Shortened Supply
              U.S. lumber supplies came under pressure in April 2017, when the Trump administration raised tariffs on Canadian lumber. Since then, lumber imports have fallen and prices have experienced significant volatility.

              After a brief stint above $600 in April 2018, lumber quickly tumbled down to sub $250 levels, causing a number of sawmills to shut down. The resulting decreases in production capacity (supply) were estimated to be around 3 billion board feet.

              Once COVID-19 emerged, labor shortages cut production even further, making the lumber market incredibly sensitive to demand shocks. The U.S. government has since reduced its tariffs on Canadian lumber, but these measures appear to be an example of too little, too late.

              Here is a link to an article – and go ahead place your blame where you will — but really, it does not matter. Blame is ineffective, does not solve any problem.


              Happy Trails ~

              1. FrogEyes55… Lemme see if I have this right… You’ve decided to gloss over 40 years of catastrophic Demokrat timber policies in Oregon to point out that in 2017 and 2018 President Trump “rightfully” placed tariffs on Canadian softwood for their governments’ proven subsidies of their timber industry that gave Canada an unfair advantage over US companies- in the US market ? First- let’s be clear- The US President works on behalf of the American people- not Canada- Second- President Trump ran a campaign on getting the US out of unfair international agreements like NAFTA and the Paris Accords- Bill Klinton’s lame attempt at international business that ended up being a complete mess ! Finally- even the ITA agreed- President Trump’s tariffs were justified… “Trade commission backs tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber
                The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled the lumber industry has been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports.”

                In the end- it’s west coast Governors like Hate Brown who have sacrificed the health of our total environment- just to make political statements ! Kate would rather our forests burn to the ground from poor land management practices- than allow a single lumberjack to feed his family ! For every devastating wildfire we have this next summer- you can thank Brown for the smoke- the destruction- the fear- and the total bill to pay for it all… And that’s why lumber prices have surged 300% under Joke Biden !!!

        1. Yeah. You forgot we were energy independent under trump and The Wrinkled **** cut jobs and now we again rely on buying oil from over seas. YOU BETA MALE!!!

          1. The employment rate is much higher now, than it was under the end of the Trump admin. Maybe if the Orange **** got his leadership together at the beginning of the “flu” then we wouldn’t be here now. But keep blaming the dems that have to pick up the broken pieces of this nation from the last administration. Keep blaming the people trying to fix the nation, while folks like yourself keep refusing vaccines and mask mandates. You’re working wonders… and like a miracle.. this should all be over with by this summer 🙂 [that’s sarcasm for ya slower MAGA folks] – Oh, and thanks by the way… We are all suffereing now thanks to the “hard work” of the ignorant MAGA cult. Way to completely stall the pandemic recovery, while blaming it on the people actally trying to re-open the nation properly [you know.. using that thing called science and data].

    2. The unemployment checks are nothing in comparison to what you can make in construction. It’s a skill shortage, nothing else. Decades of people neglecting their children’s needs to learn crafts. Those crafts will take decades to recover because of that. The unemployed will learn unemployment as a career.

  1. Let’s be more dependent on energy under President Wrinkled ****. Is that one asterisk ok barney? I remember the orange **** was ok by you.

  2. Just got to laugh at the economic wizardry of the conservative clowns on ktvz forums. You guys guys just puke up One falsehood after another. Pure comedy!

  3. The blame goes on Bidens first 100 days. Trump did everything right for the country. He put billionaires first, the environment last, and understood that trickle down economics always works. He denied the hoax virus, convinced Americans to inject disinfectants into their bodies, he raked the forests, knew the dangers of windmills, understood that solar does not work in the dark, and understood how great America was in the 50’s with segregation, nurturing women, and the beginning of the space age.

    1. Great comment. Well put in the best satire possible. Sad thing is, I bet a lot of the MAGA cult actually believe what you wrote as a real testament to Trumps legacy.

  4. Either I am amused or scared ****less that so many Central Oregon conservatives are so hateful and threatened by anything other than Q’moron garbage. They just love to blame Liberals for EVERYTHING they don’t like or their crummy lives and to blame a president for everything negative after a little more than a hundred days. It shows how ignorant and uninformed MAGA really is. There is a moron in a big white truck STILL with a Trump 2020 flag driving around roaring his engine and showing how out of reality he is.

    1. If I remember correctly. It didn’t take the liberals even 100 days to start shouting “Impeach the Mother******” at Trump.
      Now, its different apparently. Ole Joe and the border crisis is letting more drugs flow into this country than ever due to all the babysitting we have to do with illegal immigrants there… Pipeline hack which will put us in a shortage never seen before since Carter… ( Im sure the squad is dancing in the hallways on that one ). the Squad blaming Israel for defending itself. The list goes on and on. Yeah, Ole Joe has really had a productive 100 days

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