Yesterday, on a gorgeous spring morning, my landie Jake and I rode our bikes down to the Native American Center at PSU to attend the Small Scale Developer Bootcamp hosted by Eli Spevak of Orange Splot, LLC and John and Jim from Incremental Development Alliance. These three incredible people teamed up after meeting at an event last year. Eli told Jim and John that Portland has lots of people eager to make our neighborhoods better places through creative, community-oriented small scale projects. They scheduled a one-day bootcamp for the summer of 2016. But as more and more people contacted Eli with questions over the winter, he realized the demand for this information was even greater than anticipated, so he convinced John and Jim to bump the training up. They agreed and had the opportunity to present to a sold-out crowd of more than 100 people yesterday! The event actually kicked off on Tuesday evening with a set of presentations by small scale developers at The Zipper, a fun new food court with local independent restaurants created by Kevin Kavanaugh of Guerrilla Development. It was fascinating hearing about all the small-scale residential, live-work, incubator, and mixed-use spaces that have been created. A special focus of the bootcamp was missing middle housing, a term coined by Daniel Parolek to describe the mid-density housing that most American cities quit building many years ago and now sorely lack. Daniel was there for the bootcamp to describe missing middle housing - you know, like fourplexes, garden apartments, rowhomes - and its role in our urban fabric.
Yesterday the ten sessions included topics like:
- Financing Your First Deal
- Site Selection & Buying Property
- Deal Structures & Money Sources
- Understanding Pro Formas
- Due Diligence & Acquisition
- Understanding Condominiums
- Property & Asset Management
It was heartening to see so many people in Portland eager to learn about how they can play a part in making better neighborhoods by filling the gaps in our urban fabric with missing middle housing and small mixed-use projects. It was also fun to recognize so many faces in the room and meet new people. I'm glad I was able to participate and I look forward to seeing what happens in Portland over the next couple years as a result of the Small Developer Bootcamp!