City of Portland Emergency Shelter Approval Process

Learn more about the City of Portland’s Emergency Shelter Approval Process.
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House Bill 2006 (2021)

A law adopted by the Oregon Legislature in 2021 (HB 2006) requires the City to approve an application for an emergency shelter regardless of state or local land use laws as long as the application complies with the approval criteria in the new state law.


In June 2020, the Oregon Legislature adopted HB 4212 to remove land use barriers that might otherwise prevent emergency shelters from locating on certain sites. HB 4212 was followed by the passage of HB 2006 in May 2021 continuing to allow local governments and certain non-profit organizations to develop emergency shelters in available buildings and/or on open sites without the need for any land use approvals (such as an application for a zone change or a conditional use permit) for the underlying property. HB 4051 was adopted in 2022 which changed the repeal date of the bills’ allowance from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023.

What is considered an emergency shelter?

The state law requires the City to approve an emergency shelter for operation on any property if the emergency shelter:

  • Includes sleeping and restroom facilities 
  • Complies with applicable building codes 
  • Is located within an urban growth boundary or in a rural residential zone 
  • Will not result in a new building that is sited within an area designated under a statewide land use planning goal relating to natural disasters and hazards (e.g., flood plains or mapped environmental health hazards) unless the development complies with regulations directly related to the hazard 
  • Has adequate transportation access to commercial and medical services
  • Will not pose any unreasonable risk to public health or safety

Who must operate an emergency shelter?

The emergency shelter must be operated by:

  • A local government, or
  • An organization with at least two years’ experience operating an emergency shelter using best practices that is:
    • A housing authority
    • A religious corporation, 
    • A public benefit corporation whose charitable purpose includes the support of homeless individuals and that has been recognized as exempt from income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code on or before January 1, 2017, or 
    • A nonprofit corporation partnering with any of those entities.

Does the City have to approve all emergency shelter applications?

The state law requires the City to approve an application for an emergency shelter as long as the application complies with the approval criteria in the state law.

For how long is this special emergency shelter process available?

All emergency shelter applications must be submitted to the City by June 30, 2023, unless the deadline is amended by the Legislature. The City cannot approve emergency shelter applications received after June 30, 2023.

What is the process for reviewing an emergency shelter application?

An emergency shelter application is not a land use decision and the process for consideration of an emergency shelter application is significantly different than a land use application process. Unlike the process for a land use application, state law does not require mailed notice, a public hearing or solicitation of public comment on an emergency shelter application. The law also does not require the City to make a decision on an emergency shelter application within a particular period of time. When an emergency shelter application is submitted, information and the decision on the application will be posted on this website. A decision on an emergency shelter application may be appealed within 60 days of the decision using the writ of review process. Emergency shelter decisions may not be appealed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

Approved Applications

  • Arbor Lodge - 1952 N Lombard (22-148551 CO and 22-163962 CO)
  • 120 SE Market - (22-123842 CO)
  • Beacon Village - 621 NE 76th (21-066294 CO)
  • Willamette Center - 5120 SE Milwaukie Ave (20-195224 IQ)
  • Wy'east - 1415 SE 122nd (20-195225 IQ)
  • Bybee Lakes Hope Center – 14355 N Bybee Lake Ct (20-160262 CO and 20-153505 CO)
  • St. Johns Village - 8005 N Richmond Ave (20-201358 CO)