Accessory Dwellings

A one-stop source about accessory dwelling units, multigenerational homes, laneway houses, ADUs, granny flats, in-law units…

Looking ahead, how might Portland continue to support ADUs? Learn more and get involved!

Will Portland start allowing two ADUs on residentially zoned lots (like Vancouver, BC)? Will it relax size limits on internal ADUs, so long as the entire volume of the structure is no larger than a typical home?

Join Portland for Everyone on Wed., July 27th at the SE Lucky Lab to learn more.

It’s a free event, but space is limited. Please follow this link to register. Read this full blog post for additional details.

July 24, 2016 · Leave a comment

Portland extends System Development Charge waiver on ADUs by 2 years

Portland’s City Council just extended the waiver of systems development charges on accessory dwelling units for 2 additional years.  Here’s a link to the exact language of the ordinance.  After … Continue reading

April 13, 2016 · 4 Comments Wants Your Contributions

Do you love ADUs as much as we do? Got an ADU story or insight to share? Then contribute an ADU post to the readership of this blog (over 50,000 … Continue reading

December 15, 2015 · Leave a comment

Save the Date for the 2015 Build Small Live Large Summit: Friday, Nov. 6!

Conference is Sold Out!  The Build Small Live Large Summit is back by popular demand! This unique, one-day event will convene leading small home designers, builders, developers, realtors and policy … Continue reading

June 1, 2015 · 1 Comment

Model Code for Accessory Dwelling Units

Practically every week, we learn of a new US city or county that is adopting or revisiting zoning code language on accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Some are thinking of allowing … Continue reading

November 25, 2014 · 14 Comments

ADUs and Condos: Separating Ownership

Q. How is it that the accessory dwelling unit pictured below is being sold separately from the primary home on the same lot? A. It’s legally structured as a condominium. … Continue reading

October 7, 2014 · 10 Comments

Stradivarius violins and cigar box guitars (Making sense of ADU construction costs)

An experienced developer explains why ADUs have such a wide range of costs, and how to estimate costs for your own project.

May 1, 2014 · 8 Comments

La Cabina Urbana

Inconspicuous as any other garage, this ADU is an inspiration to me. While it was built as an unpermitted ADU, like 2/3rds to 3/4ths of Portland’s ADUs, it functions like … Continue reading

December 23, 2013 · 2 Comments

Sabin Green – A community of 2 ADUs and 2 modest homes

Back in 2005, I was trying to figure out how to create affordable home ownership opportunities without public subsidies in a strong housing market. With a background in affordable housing … Continue reading

December 23, 2013 · Leave a comment

Discrete Density

Skinny homes on 25’ wide lots.  New apartment buildings without off-street parking.  Bulky 2,500+ sq. ft. ‘traditional craftsman’ homes popping up all over the inner-east side.  These are Portland’s most … Continue reading

May 4, 2013 · 9 Comments

Portland extends waiver of SDCs on Accessory Dwelling Units

(Editors note- for the most recent SDC waiver information, read this post. 4/2016)  Great News! This afternoon, Portland’s City Council voted unanimously to extend the waiver of Systems Development Charges … Continue reading

December 5, 2012 · 23 Comments

Portland small home survey

Attention: If you are seeking the Oregon DEQ, Metro, and survey being conducted in June, 2013, please visit From garage lofts, to backyard cottages, to yurts, to cute … Continue reading

December 1, 2011 · Leave a comment