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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

Housing Emergency and Bureau of Transportation permit requirements for new homeless shelter space

On October 7, 2015, City Council adopted a Housing Emergency. The Council’s declaration indicated that the duration of the emergency would be for one year unless extended for longer or terminated sooner as prescribed by City Code. The Housing Emergency declaration cites increasing and high rents, an increase in the number of people who are newly homeless, and an inadequate number of emergency shelters to accommodate the number of people experiencing homelessness. The declaration is intended to address the shelter needs of the homeless on a short-term basis to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

It has come to my attention that Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) sidewalk improvement and other requirements can be a barrier to the development of new and expanded emergency shelter space. Given the City’s Housing Emergency and as Commissioner in charge of PBOT, I am directing staff at PBOT to exercise discretionary authority to consider granting waivers for requirements triggered by improvements that will expand homeless emergency shelter space in Portland. This direction applies only to sidewalk improvement and other requirements triggered by projects primarily intended to expand homeless emergency shelter space. It should not be interpreted as a reason for PBOT to consider waivers of requirements triggered by a development that doesn’t immediately and directly expand homeless emergency shelter space.