Oregon Turns to Mass Timber and Factory-Built Houses to Meet Growing Housing Shortages

According to official estimates, Oregon is short approximately 110,000 housing units and needs to build more than a half-million additional homes over the next 20 years to keep up with demand. Inside a warehouse at the industrial Port of Portland lies what some believe could be the answer to Oregon’s housing crisis: a protype of an affordable housing unit made from mass timber.

Once mass production at the factory being planned at the port begins, units ranging from 426 square feet (40 square meters) to 1,136 square feet (106 square meters) could be deployed across the state to be assembled in urban and rural communities alike, with the hope of easing the critical shortage of housing and lowering Oregon’s high rate of homelessness.

The Oregon Mass Timber Coalition received a $41 million federal grant last year to help finance the construction of the housing factory at the Port of Portland. Members of the coalition, which is made up of government agencies and Oregon universities, say the factory would make it easier to produce prefabricated homes.

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