Bend Chamber poll shows support for denser housing, taller buildings

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With the rising cost of single-family homes in Bend dominating headlines, Bend residents are actually more concerned about rising rents that make apartments and other rental housing unaffordable for those who need them.

This is one of several key findings in a recent poll of Bend residents conducted on behalf of the Bend Chamber of Commerce, to be presented to Bend City Council on Wednesday at its work session.

“Businesses are losing employees due to the lack of available and affordable housing,” said Katy Brooks, Bend Chamber CEO.

According to the poll 67% of those surveyed said they know someone who has had to leave or couldn’t move to Bend because they could not find affordable housing in the area.

The survey showed growing recognition of the need to address the housing issue on multiple fronts, including increasing density, developing urban areas that include higher buildings and expanding the urban growth boundary to allow for more single-family housing options.

68% support building urban areas like Bend’s Central District
53% support higher buildings
57% support expanding the UGB to address population growth

Respondents also supported the City of Bend, Deschutes County and the Bend Chamber as entities that can help address the lack of workforce housing.

The Bend Chamber plans to support policies and development to more quickly increase housing inventory while convening groups of employers, developers, investors, housing experts, public sector staff, and others to explore near and long-term solutions.

“If you’re an employer in Bend who has lost an employee due to the lack or unaffordability of housing, we want to hear from you,” said Brooks. “We are looking for partners who want to make Bend a place where everyone can work and live.”

Additional information about the Workforce Housing Initiative can be found here: https://bendchamber.org/workforce-housing-initiative/

On October 7, at noon, the Bend Chamber will host a free webinar where the results of the recent survey will be discussed in more detail.

While the webinar is free to attend, registration is required to receive the Zoom link.

Registration and more information about the webinar can be found here: https://bendchamber.org/bend-event/webinar-series-workforce-housing-challenges-public-opinion-and-the-path-forward/

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