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The City of Portland, Oregon

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

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

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.