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City Council Amends Shelter to Housing Recommendations

News Article
Temporary homeless shelters will not be allowed in parks or adjacent parking lots.

On Wednesday, March 31, City Council considered and voted on several amendments to the Shelter to Housing Continuum Recommendation. This was the third Council meeting to address the project proposals. On March 17, Commissioners heard testimony from dozens of community members. That hearing was followed by an initial discussion of possible amendments on March 24. Concern about the possibility of temporary shelters being allowed in the Open Space zone dominated the hearing and written comments received by the Council.  

On March 31, City Council accepted the following amendments: 

  • Prohibit temporary outdoor shelters in the Open Space zone (which includes most public parks). 
  • Prohibit temporary outdoor shelters in natural area overlays in all zones. 
  • A new directive calling for City agencies to examine surplus City property for suitability for transitional shelter accommodations and affordable housing. 
  • Rewording of Outdoor Shelter definition for clarity. 
  • Reduce site size standard for outdoor shelters to 3,000 sq ft. 
  • Drop the 17.44 Right-of-way encroachment code element. 
  • Clarify allowed building mass (FAR) for congregate structures in single-dwelling zones. 
  • Clarify outdoor area requirements for congregate structures. 
  • Clarify short-term rental occupancy due to removal of household definition. 

Two topics were carried forward to an additional public hearing scheduled for April 14 at 2 p.m. Council invited additional testimony on: 

  1. The RV/tiny house-on-wheels element of the project. As recommended, new regulations would allow residential homeowners to host one occupied RV or tiny house on wheels on their property, if they install a campground-style utility hookup (Item 3.1 on page 12). Council was concerned that this element of the project had not received enough public attention in the initial hearing.
  2. A proposal to allow shelters with up to 20 beds on institutional sites in single-dwelling zones (Item 2.2 on page 6). Under the current code a Conditional Use Review would be required for that use. Most of the institutional sites in this context are religious organizations (churches, mosques, synagogues, etc.). This was a proposal submitted in testimony by the Portland Neighbors Welcome organization.  

To testify at the City Council hearing on Items 2.2 and 3.1, please register by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13. Written testimony about these topics can be submitted via the Map App until Wednesday, April 14 at 5 p.m.