Accessory Dwellings

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

Tour page for Hosts

Thanks for being a ADU host on the ADU Tour:

Build Small, Live Large: Portland’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour 

Here’s the public web page for the tour:

img_5230The purpose of the tour is for attendees to see finished ADUs, talk to you about your design/build process and decisions, and foster networking opportunities between homeowners and local ADU designers and builders.

Being an ADU Tour Host

Being an ADU tour host is an extremely rewarding and fun experience. Here is feedback from previous hosts:

“We had a fantastic turn out despite our “less than close-in” location! 436+ beautiful folks! We felt like we were at an amazing reception. The tour goers were kind, respectful and curious! Our volunteers Alice and Claire were terrific! We all really needed and appreciated the positive responses and feedback after a long and challenging build.”

-Karen Bilsing

“Thanks for arranging and pulling off a very successful tour. We made a lot of worthwhile contacts and had a great time…. I’m sure we had between 400 and 500 come through, we had 4 people there and we were all busy almost every minute.”

-Stephen Williams

“Thank you again – it was awesome.  It went sooo smoothly – I was worried about 800 people, but it wasn’t a problem, and for our ADU, I don’t think there was ever a line.  We had such a great time; and learned some interesting things from others. We also got to reconnect with some long-lost friends and re-established a relationship.”

-Lesa Dixon-Gray

“It was fun, exhilarating and exhausting!” 

-Susan Moray

The following are the prerequisites to be a host on the Build Small, Live Large ADU Tour:

1) Homeowners should be enthusiastic about showing off their ADU to hundreds of people

2) Homeowners must be willing to be transparent about their design/build costs, as this is the information that tour attendees are most interested in knowing.

3) Homeowners must be willing to have their ADU featured on You can read over some previous ADU Tour project profiles on

4) Homeowners will ideally have their builder and designer present for the day of the tour so that attendees can make direct contact with industry professionals

For the day of the tour, you should plan to have two-four people at your ADU to answer questions. That could be you, your partners, designers, builders, or knowledgeable friends/neighbors. These people are helping you represent your project; there will be a steady stream of attendees all day so having a few people help you out is a good idea.

Hosts and other ADU industry professionals (contractors, subs, designers) are encouraged to display additional ADU related information or promotional material. This is a great opportunity for designers and contractors to develop leads for future projects.

In-Person ADU Tour Host Meetup

I’ll host a pre-tour host that you should attend.

At this meeting, hosts will be given a $100 cleaning stipend in advance of the tour. Informational signage and other material will be provided to each host for display in the ADU.

We’ll also host a ADU Tour debrief gathering at a brewery/pub following the tour. I’ll ask everyone to return the Tour materials (yard signs) at the debrief.

  • Pre Tour Best Practices Meeting for Hosts- This will be a chance for you to meet the other ADU Tour hosts. I’ll provide you with Tour signage templates for your ADU, yard signs, ADU Tour packets, and do a slideshow of best practices for hosts. Snacks will be provided.
  • Post Tour Debrief. This will be a chance to share your experience hosting after the tour with me, provide feedback, share stories with the other hosts about hosting, and return ADU Tour material (ie. yard signs) to me. Meals and drinks will be on Caravan.


There should be a picture that shows the ADU exterior (at least for detached ADUs) and 2-3 good pictures of the finished interior. It’s best if the house is clean and/or unfurnished in these pictures–the same kind of images you’d use if you were advertising the ADU for rent.

Eventually, we will need to have 4 good pictures of each ADU for the website and for the tour packet. Some of the ADUs on the tour are not yet complete, so we can wait on these for a little while longer. But, if hosts have 4+ good images ready, please email them to me.

Images should be in landscape view (not portrait), and it should be a high resolution image (larger than 1 MB), which many smart phones now take by default.

ADU Tour Volunteers

I’ll be seeking volunteers to work outside each ADU to check for wristbands and to answer basic questions about the tour and your ADUs. We’ll provide a 1 hour training to this group of volunteers and will be sending out email to connect you with them before the tour. IMG_3735The volunteers primary job is to be stationed outside the ADUs or the main houses and to check wristbands and assist the homeowners however they need to.

If you know friendly people who would enjoy volunteering for the ADU Tour in exchange for a ticket to the tour, you can have them email me:

Here are a few things about the role of the volunteers:

  • The tour starts at 10am and the first volunteer will arrive at 9:30am. They will introduce themselves to you and you can help them settle in to the spot that will work best for them to greet and direct attendees. Please provide a chair for them.
  • Please make sure to introduce the volunteers to your architect and builder(s) so that they can send people directly to them to answer questions.
  • Generally, it’s best to NOT let any attendees use the ADU bathroom during the tour since the bathroom is part of the tour. But, please allow the volunteers to use a bathroom somewhere on site. It could be in the main house (or the ADU, if that’s the only option).
  • The volunteers for your ADU will have read your project profile and will know some of the important info about your ADU, but please give them a few brief bullet points when they arrive so that they can help answer questions.  This will alleviate some of the pressure on you to have to answer all of the questions of attendees throughout the day.
  • As the day proceeds, please work with your volunteers to shoesfigure out the ideal capacity for your ADU so that they can regulate the flow of attendees if it gets crowded at times (“one in, one out”). Volunteers will also be counting attendees as they arrive so that we can collect data at the end of the tour.
  • If you have a shoes-off policy for attendees, please let the volunteers know.
  • If you have neighbors that you’d like to allow in during the tour, it’s your house and allowing some extra people in to see your ADU is up to you. Just communicate that with the volunteers.

Bike Racks
Each location is going to get a bike rack delivered for the day before the tour. Jeff from bikeracker will send an email like the one below out to you before the tour, describing this bike rack drop off process.

We have requested City of Portland temporary parking permits to locate our no impact, self service, bike parking racks within on street vehicle parking spaces. We will be locating 3-4 bicycle racks (12-16 bikes) in one 20′ vehicle parking space immediately in front of each of the ADU tour stops.  Our permits are in process and we will be posting them at all locations on the morning of the tour. 

We will be out very early (6am or so) to place racks in those permitted locations, and most times the parking spaces are clear. If at all possible, we appreciate the support of helping us insure those spaces are clear via neighbor discussion. The perm it postings usually do the trick, but appreciate any and all extra help.

All racks will be removed by later in the evening post tour time. I hope this provides a bit of background on our plans for the tour, and please don’t hesitate to reply with questions, comments, or words of insight/advice for your particular location. Much thanks again and wish you all a great tour!

Jeff Castro
BikeRacker, LLC
Best Practices for Hostsbudget
  • The same attendee questions will come up again and again, typically about your budget. That’s why I strongly recommend featuring your line item budget on a sign.
  • Consider developing an 1-2 minute elevator speech that you can use throughout the day every twenty minutes or so. This is helpful way to answer many peoples questions, and to help you practice public speaking.
  • Compiling a before and after poster or album before and afterin print or on your computer, is a great idea. This is a great way to help attendees what the ADU development process entails.

Kol Peterson

ADU Tour Organizer

Editor of

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