Portland Accessory Dwellings

Build Small was BIG!

The first ever Build Small, Live Large Summit was a big success! Approximately 300 people attended the conference on Friday, October 26th at Portland State University, which was hosted by Cascadia Green Building Council.

As Jordan Palmeri introduced the summit he described the DEQ study that showed building small is our single greatest green building strategy. Jordan explained that the study results inspired the Accessory Dwellings website and formation of the Space Efficient Housing Workgroup, which includes folks like Eli Spevak of Orange Splot and Kol Peterson of PDX ADU. I've been privileged to be part of this group for the past year as we've discussed ways to mainstream small as a sustainability strategy. Coordinating the Build Small, Live Large Summit was a big step in the right direction.

Ross Chapin presented a fantastic keynote address about how pocket neighborhoods have caught on as people seek a balance of community and a little place of their own. The rest of the sessions addressed challenges to building small, financing small spaces, and design tricks for maximizing small spaces.

I was delighted to be among the presenters as I shared the stage with Derin Williams of UrbaNest Northwest and Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwelling for the Biggie Smalls: The Notorious Tiny House session, which explored radical smallness. We had a great time sharing our stories and responding to the audiences questions and comments.

You can sign up for meeting notifications of Oregon DEQ’s Space Efficient Housing Workgroup by sending an email indicating your interest to Jordan Palmeri. You can also read Kol's perspective on the Summit in his blog post on the Accessory Dwellings website.

Three cheers for small houses! Hip, hip, hooray!

Accessory Dwelling Bike Tour Draws A Crowd

Artsy ADU Thanks to Mark Rainha we have a great little video of the Pedalpalooza ADU bike tour! Thanks Mark! (Bruce and Carolyn's ADU, which is My Summer Garden Cottage is the fourth property featured, so take a peek!)

Approximately 100 people participated in this year's Pedalpalooza Accessory Dwelling Bike Tour. It was hard to get an exact count since the units are small and the crowds are big! Eli Spevak, Kol Peterson, and I each lead a wave of the tour. I was lucky to have Jordan Palmeri of the Department of Environmental Quality along with my group since I find his work inspirational. DEQ's research demonstrates that small is one of our best green building tools.

The route featured five properties including a basement ADU, a garage conversion, a backyard ADU, an accessible ADU, and a couple detached bedrooms. Eli's Sabin Green and Ruth's Cottages were featured on the ride, as was Kol's accessory dwelling. We staggered the arrivals so that the homeowners could take time to explain the homes' features to each group. We were lucky to have a gorgeous day for cycling and it was fun to see so many ADU enthusiasts out for the ride. Many of the participants on today's ride are planing to build an ADU, some of them live in ADUs, and some are ADU designers and builders. We expect a similar level of enthusiasm for the Pedalpalooza Tiny House Bike Tour on June 24th.

ADU bike tour!

The number of ADUs built each year has doubled since the System Development Charges (SDCs) were waived a couple years ago. This waiver has resulted in hundreds of great infill dwellings that utilize existing infrastructure and provide flexibility for families without compromising neighborhood character. Unfortunately, the SDC fee waiver is set to expire in June 2013. We hope it will be extended. If you've been thinking about building an ADU it's a great time to do it! Kol Peterson's ADU class for homeowners on July 21st can get you started.

For more information about ADUs, check out the Accessory Dwellings website. If you were on the ride and took pictures you'd like to share, please email them to me!