Refinements to the Shelter to Housing Continuum project heads to Planning and Sustainability Commission

News Article
Commissioners will hear testimony on proposals to streamline the process of creating shelters for people experiencing houselessness; address code barriers and unanticipated technical issues.

On Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 12:30 p.m., the Planning and Sustainability Commission will hear a briefing about new code amendments to refine the original Shelter to Housing Continuum (S2HC) project, which City Council adopted in 2021 to address the crisis of houseless Portlanders. After the briefing, Portlanders will testify on the proposed code amendments.

The original S2HC code changes were intended to make it easier to site homeless shelters in Portland. The project also created a new community service use in the code called “outdoor shelters,” which allows shelters like the St Johns Village or Kenton’s Women’s Village outright without first needing City Council approval.

But as the City launched the Safe Rest Villages initiative and the Joint City-County Office of Homeless Services continued to operate existing facilities and open others, several implementation issues arose as shelter operators sought to permit new outdoor shelters.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has developed several proposed code refinements that address these code barriers and unanticipated technical issues through the supplemental Shelter to Housing Continuum – Part 2 (S2HC2) project.

The S2HC2 Proposed Draft is now available for public review and comment. 

What's in the Proposed Draft?

The Proposed Draft includes code changes that clarify the new outdoor shelter use added to the Zoning Code with the original S2HC, including:

  • Outdoor Shelter Standards: These amendments clarify the development standards that outdoor shelters must meet and clear up a technical issue regarding the size of industrially zoned sites that can be used for outdoor shelters.
  • Temporary Activities Rules: For shelters allowed using the Temporary Activities chapter of the Zoning Code, these amendments clarify that new permanent structures or alterations are not allowed with a temporary activity, and outdoor shelters can temporarily occupy a parking area on a site.
  • Conditional Uses: The amendments clarify when a conditional use land use review is triggered for changes on sites with an existing conditional use.

Portlanders can testify  

Community members can testify on the proposed changes in person/virtually at the public hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 12:30 p.m. or in writing via the Map App.

The PSC will meet again on November 8 to discuss potential amendments to the proposals, then likely vote on any amendments and the recommended package to City Council on November 22.