On Tuesday night, an ADU fair hosted by the Bend Chamber of Commerce drew more than 130 people to Open Space Event Studios.
ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) are small houses or apartments built on a property where there’s already a main home, and they’re becoming increasingly popular in the area.
The City of Bend says around 100 ADU permits are issued each year, and that number is only going up.
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Mary Hearn and Darci Palmer are among those hundreds of people who decided to take the step.
“There’s just not enough housing for all the people who want to live and work here,” Palmer said. “And we thought, you know, we have the ability to get a loan to finance it and have the land and we have the expertise, and we know who to call for help, so we thought why not?”
They started planning for their ADU around a year ago, and they started construction four months ago on the space next to their home.
Chloe Crabtree, the Sponsor Relations Lead for Bend Chamber of Commerce, said the ADU boom is due to the pressure on housing and the lack of developable land in Bend.
“We have to get creative with what type of housing we can kind of execute pretty quickly, and ADU’s are one of those things,” she said.
Last summer the Chamber decided to release an ADU guide for people looking to make the leap. Crabtree said the pandemic was a partial influence.
“The first thing that happened when COVID hit was everyone was like, gosh, I should do something with my lawn or I should build something or redo my deck,” she said.
A few barriers may stop people from pursuing the ADU journey.
“Interest rates are through the roof,” Crabtree added. “Building costs continue to remain high, and so I think there’s definitely barriers when it comes to building anything right now that’s continued to be difficult really for over a year now. And I don’t think there’s a firm and fast end in sight.”
Hearn said it took about four months to get their ADU permit approved by the city.
“The total cost construction budget is about $170,000,” she said. “And then if we were to include permits and design and some landscaping, it’s probably going to be closer to $185,000 when it’s all said and done.”
She believes it’s still worth the investment to improve Bend’s housing market.
“Bend needs a lot of housing and a lot of different housing types, and options for different household sizes and to meet people’s needs,” Hearn said. “And so I think ADUs are one one way to meet that need incrementally.”