“Growing Tualatin” housing presentation for Tualatin BAC

“Growing Tualatin” housing presentation for Tualatin BAC. Michael Andersen, now of the Sightline Institute, gave a great presentation to the Business Advocacy Council contextualizing our local housing shortages with the economic trends of Washington County, and then identifying the solutions other cities are already applying. Watch the video or, easier still, read the transcript I painstakingly edited this morning.

Touring a basement conversion ADU in Portland

Last Thursday, as a part of Design Week Portland, I had the chance to tour this basement conversion ADU (accessory dwelling unit) off NE Prescott:

It was pretty cool! From the outside, you’ll notice both sliding glass and French doors where garage doors used to be. This is because it’s a basement and garage conversion ADU.

In case you aren’t already aware, ADU is shorthand for adding a second living space (bed, bath, and kitchen) to a residential property. ADUs can be inside the existing structure or somewhere else on the property (space-permitting).

More generally, ADUs are neat because they open up a number of opportunities:

  1. In communities without new land to build on, ADUs can be cost-effective infill housing.
  2. ADUs make homeownership more attainable by adding cash-flow to cover the mortgage.
  3. For seniors wanting to downsize, ADUs can offer a “downsize in place” option that lets them stay within the community.

Here’s a pano of the immediate interior:

The developer, Kol Peterson, has been building and consulting on ADUs for almost a decade now through his company, Accessory Dwelling Strategies. He’s also written a book, Backdoor Revolution, that’s incredibly informative and information-dense. I’m already at page ~150.

As far as building an ADU in our house goes, I’ve already discovered what Kol identifies in the book as a classic regulation blocker:

(5) In addition to the parking spaces required in TDC 73.370 for the detached single-family dwelling, one paved on-site parking space shall be provided for the accessory dwelling unit and the space shall not be within five feet of a side or rear property line.

In short, we need a three car driveway in order to permit an ADU. But, we only have two slots and there’s no place to put a third. And, ironically, our neighbor can park six cars in their garage, driveway, and street just fine.