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Let's Build Portland Advances Regional Workforce Housing Efforts


All photo credits: Miguel Higgins Moy, Autodesk.

Last Wednesday, May 15th, change makers and innovators from all over Oregon showed up for Let’s Build Portland to launch solutions for workforce housing underproduction. Attendees included public sector leaders, real estate developers, product innovators, architects, financiers, and more – all invested in changing the way we create housing. 

 

These leaders met on the 6th Floor of our sponsor Autodesk’s offices, on a beautiful, sunny day with a sweeping view of Portland and the Willamette River. Ryan McMahon, General Manager of Informed Design at Autodesk, along with Alana Mongkhounsavath, Development Manager at Autodesk Research, welcomed the crowd, before turning things over to Missing Middle Housing Fund (MMHF) Co-Founder and Board Member, Jeff Gaus, who discussed four global trends driving the need for more affordable, middle income housing solutions.

From left to right: Jeff Gaus, Nate Wildfire, and Ryan McMahon.

Board Member and SEDCOR Development Manager, Abisha Stone, then set the stage

for the day ahead, by sharing her experience from Let’s Build Newberg, one year ago, and the huge changes it advanced in that community.  These included the establishment of a $3M Workforce Housing Investment Fund, and the continued efforts of a mayoral working group. 

Abisha Stone shares how the Newberg Workforce Housing Consortium and the MMHF are working together to find innovative housing solutions in Newberg.

Over the course of the six-hour summit, attendees spent the morning brainstorming solutions in working groups across the four key innovation areas of product design, materials, and manufacturing; financing and funding; labor and workforce; and policy and regulations. The energy was palpable. In the afternoon, attendees came together to vote on and prioritize four task forces to carry ideas forward. These task forces built out goals and objectives, metrics for success, named primary stakeholders, and committed to set meeting times in the coming weeks. The task forces include:


  1. Align city and state workforce housing incentives in Oregon

  2. Develop a tool or resource to identify availability and readiness of a portfolio of developable sites

  3. Consolidate public-private funding sources to support middle market housing

  4. Build equity for renters

Facilitator Alana Mongkhounsavath from Autodesk leads the product materials, design, and manufacturing working group.
Facilitator Steve Pao leads the financing and funding working group.

At the Happy Hour afterwards at Wayfinder, we heard from many about how more of these structured conversations are needed to build on each other’s ideas and engage and excite communities about the potential we all have to solve our housing underproduction crisis. As we like to say, there is no silver bullet to achieve our housing goals – but with so many experienced “doers” working together, we WILL make the needed advancements to double housing production in Oregon for half the cost and time.

 

If we can help your Regional Chamber, Municipality, or Organization host a workforce housing solutions summit in your area, please reach out to us at info@missingmiddlehousing.fund. Please contact us if you would like to engage in any of the work group’s efforts listed above.

From left to right: Jeff Gaus; MMHF Marketing Lead, Amy Snyder; Nate Wildfire; and Alana Mongkhounsavath

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