A nonprofit reimagines developable land for a brighter future

by | Aug 4, 2021 | Land Use Law

Oregon has grown in popularity for all types of projects, especially when it comes to affordable housing and renovated commercial spaces. However, the land is limited in specific areas like Salem, Silverton, and Woodburn.

However, a nonprofit recently took an opportunity to build more affordable housing on a 1.9-acre lot in Silverton where The Mt. Angel-based North Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity will build 18 units for families.

“It has been one of the major challenges, particularly with the increase in value in land in this area, and that just keeps growing, as we’ve encountered,” Rich Truitt, board chair of the affiliate, told the Statesman Journal. “That’s a rare opportunity that we came upon. We can’t always count on that happening.”

What does this mean for future projects?

While the opportunity was rare, the nonprofit took advantage of less appealing properties to ensure they could meet their goals within the next five years. Other affiliates in Portland found similar success through the model of planned development and even worked with Portland State University architecture students to design homes.

On the Silverton property, the nonprofit started their first home and proceeded to get approval for an entire development of affordable family homes. This is huge strides for the community as an analysis by ECONorthwest projects Silverton needs over 1,100 new units by 2040 to meet the anticipated demand.

While this example focuses on how a nonprofit can get creative with their land acquirements, the basic principles still stand for any Oregon developer. You can look outside your standard scopes for properties and implement community members to design a project that fits that specific town’s needs.

This planning process will only get more crucial as land becomes more limited over the next decades.