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City Council adopts new regulations to ease the siting of mass shelters and create more options for people experiencing homelessness

Changes to the Zoning Code become effective on December 9.

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, City Council held a second reading on the Mass Shelters and Zoning Code Update (link to amended recommended draft below) and voted unanimously to adopt the recommended code changes. The code update includes some amendments that were suggested and accepted by Council at their hearing on November 2. 

The Amended Recommended Draft that was adopted at the second hearing will increase the allowed number of shelter beds in many zones, while allowing these shelters to be closer together. The amendments also provided greater review options for shelters subject to a Conditional Use Review.

The new regulations become effective on December 9 ― 30 days after City Council adoption.

Read the adopted code amendment here.

City Council hears testimony on new regulations for mass shelters and short-term housing

Code amendments would lower some barriers for the siting of shelters, number of beds allowed

On November 2, City Council held a hearing on the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s recommended Zoning Code update for mass shelters and short term housing. Commissioners also considered a staff memo of amendments responding to suggestions from Commissioner Saltzman’s office. 

Several people testified in support of the proposal. At the conclusion of the hearing, the City Council agreed to include the additional amendments in the overall package.

Council will hold a second reading and vote on the code update as amended on November 9, 2016. If approved, the regulations will become effective 30 days after the vote.

Zoning Code updates to increase shelter availability for people experiencing homelessness moves through Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC)

With PSC recommendation, code update project goes to City Council for public hearing on November 2

After hearing public testimony on the Mass Shelters and Housing Zoning Code Update on September 13, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held a work session on September 27 to discuss the proposal and make their recommendation to City Council.

The PSC recommendations provide more flexibility for the siting of mass shelters in zones where they are already allowed, including increasing the number of beds and reducing separation requirements between buildings. The new code also reduces parking requirements for some mass shelters and short-term housing.

The PSC recommended not to move forward with any permanent amendments affecting the process of design or historic review of affordable housing projects. This was based on a lack of case studies to determine the effectiveness of the current temporary measure as well as due to testimony received at the hearing. 

Read the Mass Shelters and Housing Zoning Code Update Recommended Draft.

City Council will hold a public hearing on November 2 to consider the PSC recommendation.

Portland City Council Hearing
Mass Shelters and Housing Zoning Code Update
November 2, 2016, 2:20 p.m.
City Hall Council Chambers 
1221 SW 4th Avenue

The public is also invited to testify in writing via:

Email: CCTestimony@portlandoregon.gov

U.S. Mail: Send to 1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 130, Portland, Oregon 97204

Written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing and must include your name and address. 

View the City Council hearing notice. 

Background

In 2015, more than 4,300 Portlanders were placed in emergency shelters, and nearly 1,900 more were unable to find housing, even temporary housing. The code updates in this project respond to City Council’s direction to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to “simplify regulations, remove regulatory obstacles and expedite processes for land use reviews and permits for affordable housing projects, mass shelters and short-term housing” (Resolution #37196, passed on March 9, 2016).

Planning and Sustainability Commission considers amendments to the Zoning Code for mass shelters

Commissioners made suggestions at the conclusion of public hearing on the proposal to increase the number beds and locations for temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness

Staff with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) presented the Mass Shelters and Housing Zoning Code Update Proposed Draft at a public hearing with the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) on September 14.

Read the minutes of and watch the video of the hearing.

At the conclusion of the hearing, commissioners deferred making a decision until September 27 and asked staff to consider some changes to the BPS proposal.

Staff have released a memo with their response to these suggestions in anticipation of the September 27 work session. The PSC will determine whether to accept the amendments within the memo prior to making their recommendation to City Council.

City Council will hold a public hearing and consider testimony on the PSC Recommended Draft in early November. 

For more information, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/71246, or call Phil Nameny, project manager, phil.nameny@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-7709.

Zoning Code update for mass shelters proposed to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness

Portlanders invited to learn more about the draft code update at an open house on August 31 and testify on the proposal at a public hearing on September 13

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has released the Mass Shelters and Housing Zoning Code Update Proposed Draft. The draft responds to City Council direction to reduce some regulatory and process barriers for the siting of mass shelters, short-term housing and affordable housing.

Mass shelters are structures that provide communal sleeping areas within a larger room. Short-term housing structures provide one or more individual sleeping rooms (similar to a dorm room) on a short-term basis. Neither one is allowed in industrial zones, including Terminal 1.

Homelessness on the rise
In 2015, more than 4,300 people in Portland were placed in emergency shelters. Another 1,887 people — a third of which were newly homeless — couldn’t find housing, even in emergency shelters.

The proposed code amendments provide more flexibility for the siting of mass shelters in zones where they are already allowed. The new regulations would increase the number of allowed beds and reduce separation requirements for these mass shelters. The code also reduces parking requirements for some shelters and short-term housing that are part of an existing institution such as church or other community service use. In areas where shelters or short term housing are subject to a conditional use review, the amendments provide some additional options for the type of review and criteria that must be met.

Read the Mass Shelter and Housing Zoning Code Update Proposed Draft

Learn more …

There are several upcoming events to find out more about the project:

Citywide Land Use Meeting
Monday, August 22, 7 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Ave., Room 2500B

BPS Open House
Wednesday, August 31, 5–7 p.m.
First Baptist Church, 909 SW 11th Ave. 

… then testify to the Planning and Sustainability Commission

PSC Hearing on Mass Shelters Code Update
Tuesday September 13, 12:30 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Ave., Room 2500A

Please check the PSC calendar prior to the hearing to confirm date, time and agenda.

Read the Notice of the PSC Hearing.

For more information about the project, please visit the project website or contact Phil Nameny at phil.nameny@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-7709.