Take a peek at Kôrazón in Bend, Oregon, the first homeownership community built by Kôr Community Land Trust. This cottage model of home building is helping Bend grow toward a new era of affordable, attainable, and sustainable housing. Kôr CLT is a nonprofit whose mission it to "Provide environmentally sustainable and permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for those who contribute to the fabric of the Bend area economy and community.”
Ashley & Vance Engineering is donating in-kind engineering services to help Kôr CLT design smart building concepts and make home ownership in Bend more sustainable and attainable. We interviewed Kôr CLT founder Amy Warren and AV engineer Jenilee Daw about Kôr’s first project on 27th Street in Bend, Oregon, called Kôrazón:
Q&A with Amy Warren, Kôr Community Land Trust Land Development Director
Explain how the 5 houses in Kôrazón Community are sustainable?
Kôr is particularly proud of the systems that make up the air flow quality and efficiency: The Aero Barrier reduces the air changes per hour (ACH), providing a nearly air-tight envelope. The single-head Mitsubishi ductless mini split, along with low ACH and increased insulation in the windows and walls, provides all the home’s heating and cooling needs. The tightly sealed home and one heat source location requires fresh air and air circulation, which is achieved by three ceiling fans and a pair of ductless, in-wall Lunos E2 energy recovery ventilators (ERVs). These work in tandem on an internal timer to bring in fresh air without compromising heating/cooling the way opening a window does. To ensure air movement when interior doors are closed, Kôr installed Van Air Design ventilated door systems.
From a construction standpoint, what are the biggest barriers to equity in housing right now?
The greatest barrier to equitable housing is the cost of sustainable technologies, which exclude lower-income households from accessing these systems. That’s why Kôr Community Land Trust is not only committed to breaking down barriers for lower-income households to access affordable homeownership, but also to increasing access to energy-efficient technologies and sustainable building practices. Kôr recognizes energy efficiency as energy justice and is committed to providing access to healthy homes for those who have been excluded from the opportunity to build wealth through homeownership.
Which current trends are creating a more sustainable building industry?
Kôr is hopeful that the increased cost of lumber forces innovation in wall system construction, including alternate technologies to wood-centric frames that offer insulation and thermal mass in a more sustainable way. We are glad to be seeing a local trend of energy consciousness here in Bend. It’s not yet on a scale that will make a significant impact on climate change, but it is moving in that direction. Kôr and Bend-Redmond Habitat are both building homes to zero-energy standards now. If we can do it, you can too!
What do you love most about the cottage housing model?
Community! I have always been very keen on the social and overall wellbeing benefits of shared or planned communities, eco villages, and co-ops. The cottage housing model facilitates the potential for these benefits and couples them with those correlated to stable housing. The cottage model is an effective tool to maximize density and urban infill. It allows for perimeter parking, which means less asphalt, fewer driveways, and more housing.
What’s next for Kôr Community Land Trust?
Kôr has a handful of exciting developments on the horizon, including our second cottage community Crescita, which will provide 5 homes to those who contribute to the Bend area community and economy, earning 30% to 120% area median income (AMI). The Crescita cottages are 1-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom homes with flex space and are located in the Orchard District on NE 8th Street. The homes will match the quality and energy efficiency of our recently completed cottages at Kôrazón.
Kôr is also increasing our staff, which will allow us to extend our service area outside the Bend Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) to greater Central Oregon. You can learn more about our mission and how you can get involved at Korlandtrust.org.
Q&A with Jenilee Daw, Ashley & Vance Civil Engineer
What infrastructure challenges occur when building 5 units on 1 parcel of land?
Our largest infrastructure challenge is spacing. The City of Bend requires a lateral from each lot to the main and, with this development in particular, we had to extend both a water main and a sanitary sewer main through the middle of the site. Kôrazón is within Avion's water district, which means we had to coordinate the plumbing code, Bend Standards and Specifications, and Avion requirements to get each unit water and sanitary sewer. In short, the utilities on these sites are a puzzle, figuring out how to fulfill jurisdictional requirements within the spatial constraints while minimizing costs to the client.
What is unique about cottage developments like Kôrazón?
These sites are typically odd-shaped and tight, which is why they're best suited for cottages instead of single-family or multifamily developments. We plat these developments, splitting one larger tract into smaller lots: one lot per unit, plus one lot for the common open space and shared parking.
Explain various code requirements you needed to balance.
After getting all of the utilities in the ground, we had to artfully coordinate easements that met the utility provider’s requirement while also keeping the easement area outside of buildings. In addition to the City’s 20-foot easement requirement around the sanitary sewer and Avion’s 10-foot easement requirement, we had to record a Public Utility Easement (PUE) for the electrical conduit from the transformer at SE 27th Street to each unit. From unit to unit at the pinch point, we had 27 feet to fit all utilities and easements. With cottage developments, the spatial constraints are uniquely challenging.
Watch the live ribbon cutting ceremony on KTZV on July 13, 2021: Korazon Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on KTZV.