For the first time in Oregon, a city will annex land for a new neighborhood without the usual public process.

Bend’s affordable housing manager, Lynne McConnell, said the state has approved a partnership with private developer PacWest Builders. “And in exchange he’s providing quite a bit of affordable housing in partnership with our regional housing authority.”

About half the 400 homes PacWest plans to build on the eastern edge of town are set to be affordable rentals. People making the area’s median income for their family size are thought to be able to afford most of the other homes. McConnell said there’s demand for 5,000 new affordable units in Bend.

The city’s urban growth boundary last expanded in 2016 through a long public process.

“This development could not occur within our existing UGB because we simply don’t have large swaths of land like this, that are ready for development, are served by infrastructure, and are zoned appropriately,” McConnell said, adding that the defining factor is usually the cost of connecting water and roads.

The state’s Land Conservation and Development Commission selected the Bend project in a competitive process allowed through House Bill 4079. To qualify, cities had to show they developed policies to promote affordable housing within their limits, but that it wasn’t enough to spur construction. The sites also had to be adjacent to the existing UGB.