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  • Writer's pictureNathan Wildfire

Workforce Housing Innovation Competition update

Inspiring proposals from near & far

Over the last month, we’ve been reviewing Phase I proposals for our Workforce Housing Innovation Competition. As you might expect, Oregon’s innovators are doing amazing things and we are honored to have a front row seat to their creativity. We knew from the beginning that there would never be one approach to address our housing deficit - it’s going to take many outside-the-box ideas, often working together or building upon one another. Here’s a sneak peak at what we’re seeing.

Private sector product companies and developers are rethinking the form of living units and how they’re constructed. Repurposed materials and products are creatively proposed as building materials and living spaces, bringing sustainability to new forms of housing. Prefabricated products hint at the promise of faster assembly times with less rework on construction sites. New technologies hold promise to address labor shortages in remote areas.

The public sector has shown up too. New financing proposals aim to reduce upfront costs to developers building in less-tested markets. Regulatory reform aims to reduce development times and uncertainty. Collaborations between municipalities hope to scale best practices in resource-constrained geographies.

Our applicants are a diverse group, but all of them believe in our goals. They include engineers, ex-finance professionals, academics, entrepreneurs, and developers. Some have deep Oregon roots and others are new arrivals. Their journeys have led them across the country and sometimes back to where their journeys began. We need them, and many others, to succeed. Our people, places, and economies will only reach their full potential when our housing crisis is addressed.

Round one of our competition is almost complete. I can’t wait to see where it takes us next.

- Nate

Nathan Wildfire


Feb 4, 2022

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