Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Planning & 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, or call Phil Nameny, project manager, 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 or 503-823-7709. 

Neighborhood information sessions for shelter code update

Staff will provide a summary of possible code changes prior to the release of the Proposed Draft

Staff from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability are providing an overview of potential zoning code amendments that will change how some shelters and housing projects will be reviewed. These changes are to address the City Council's resolution directing us 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.' Although some of these overviews have already taken place, several more are scheduled. You can check with the corresponding neighborhood or district coalition offices, or with project staff for details. Staff anticipates that a Proposed Draft of code changes will be available the week of August 8.

July 11 @ 6 p.m. – East Portland Action Plan Housing Subcommittee, 1017 NE 117th Ave. 

July 18 @ 7 p.m. Southeast Uplift Coalition Transportation and Land Use Subcommittee, 3534 SE Main St. 

July 27 @ 7 p.m.  Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods Transportation and Land Use Subcommittee, 4815 NE 7th Ave. 

July 28 @ 7 p.m.  North Portland Neighborhood Services Coalition Transportation and Land Use Subcommittee, 8105 N Brandon St.

Sep 8 @ 7 p.m.  Central Northeast Neighborhood Coalition Transportation and Land Use Subcommittee 4415 NE 87th Ave.