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This open house was active from July 16-Aug. 13, 2021. Information on this website may no longer be current. Email us for more information.

Many households, regardless of income, struggle to afford single-detached homes in the greater Portland area. Even with a substantial down payment, competition for some homes is fierce.

Increasing the availability of middle housing in urban neighborhoods can create more affordable options for many in neighborhoods near schools, parks, shopping and workplaces.

How does middle housing meet people's needs?

Erin and Grant

Erin and Grant are outgrowing their two-bedroom apartment in Hillsboro. Both work, and Grant has been working from home since the pandemic in what was once the guest room. The couple considered a house, but can't compete with other buyers who can afford detached homes in the current housing market.

The couple is looking for a larger home with three bedrooms and a garage to store their car, bikes and kayak. 

Erin and Grant would like a townhouse.

  • Likely more affordable than single-detached house
  • May be multiple levels for more bedrooms.
  • More likely to include a garage.
  • Has a private, small outdoor area.
  • Opportunity to rent or buy.

Baby Emma, Peter and John

Now that Peter and John have welcomed Emma into their lives, they need more space than their one-bedroom apartment in Aloha provides. They both work, but cannot afford a big rent increase or down payment on a house. Also, neither wants the responsibility of a house or yard.

The couple is looking for an affordable two-bedroom home in a friendly, quiet neighborhood near parks, childcare and public transportation.

Peter, John and Emma might like a quadplex.

  • Affordable.
  • Opportunity to interact with others in the building.
  • Likely to have parking.
  • Opportunity to rent or buy.

Janet and Melissa

Janet is 78 and recently widowed. Her daughter Melissa is recently divorced. Melissa has decided to move in with her mother, so that Janet can continue to live in her home. However, they both agree that the two-story house is too large for them. Janet does not want to have to continue to climb the stairs to get to her bedroom. Melissa does not want to have to clean unused rooms and bathrooms.

Janet and Melissa have decided to convert their large house into a duplex.

  • The two can live on the first floor.
  • Renting the second-floor unit will provide income.
  • Janet will be able to stay in her home and neighborhood.
  • They can continue to have a yard and garage.


Robert, Kate, Laura, Holly and Walter

Robert, Kate, Laura, Holly and their dog, Walter, rent a two-bedroom unit in a six-plex near Tualatin. Their building is under new ownership, and dogs are no longer welcome. The family does not want to give up Walter.

Both Robert and Kate work and are saving for a larger home. They would like three bedrooms in a place where Walter is welcome. A yard for both children and Walter to play would be a bonus.

Robert, Kate, Laura, Holly and Walter would like a triplex.

  • May be more affordable than a duplex.
  • Provides more privacy.
  • May include a yard and garage.
  • Opportunity to rent or buy.

Chun and Saya

Chun and Saya love the patio garden of their cozy Beaverton apartment. Now that Saya is nearly 5, Chun would like to move into something closer to a school so that she and Chun can walk to school every morning. They both want a yard to plant a garden. 

Chun is a single parent who works full time. She cannot afford a single-detached home.

Chun and Saya would like to live in a cottage cluster.

  • May be smaller and more affordable than a single-detached house.
  • Opportunity to interact with others in the cluster.
  • Space for green areas, gardens and outdoor activities.
  • Usually has onsite parking.
  • Often located in walkable areas.


Bryan has been renting a studio apartment since he moved to Oregon for his job. He can't afford a house and doesn't want to be bothered with yard work and upkeep. He wants a larger home close enough to work or public transportation to make biking to work convenient. He wants a garage big enough for his bike and car.

Bryan like options. He does not think he can afford a townhouse, but is OK with other middle housing types, as long as they meet his location and garage needs.

  • A cottage cluster would provide him with more living space in his own separate cottage, a shared outdoor area he doesn’t have to maintain by himself, and may include a garage.
  • A quadplex would provide him with more space and would possibly be less expensive than a duplex. May include a garage.
  • A duplex or triplex might provide more space, privacy and may include a garage.