Faith-based institutions will play a role in resolving the homeless crisis

News Article
City Council accepts one more amendment to the Shelter to Housing Continuum proposals.

On Wednesday, April 14, City Council held a public hearing to gather more feedback on two elements of the Shelter to Housing Continuum project.  

  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.
  2. A proposal submitted in testimony by Portland Neighbors Welcome (PNW), which allows shelters with up to 20 beds on institutional sites in single-dwelling zones. Most of the institutional sites in this context are religious organizations (churches, mosques, synagogues, etc.). Under the current code a Conditional Use Review would be required for that use.

After hearing additional testimony from several dozen people, Council closed the comment period and voted to accept the PNW amendment related to institutional sites in single-dwelling zones. They did not make any changes to the RV/tiny house-on-wheels element of the project.

This was the fourth Council meeting to address the Shelter to Housing project. On March 17, Commissioners heard testimony from dozens of community members. Concern about the possibility of temporary shelters being allowed in the Open Space zone dominated the hearing and written comments received by the Council. That hearing was followed by an initial discussion of possible amendments on March 24. Nine other amendments were moved and accepted on March 31, including an amendment to prohibit temporary outdoor shelters in the Open Space zone.

Commissioners will consider the project again on April 28 at 2 p.m. At that time, they are expected to accept a revised report and ordinances incorporating the adopted amendments, as well as findings documenting the project’s consistency with state, regional, and local land use policy. They may also take a final vote on the as-amended package at that time.

Although testimony is now closed, the public comments can be read online via the Map App (note that some comments submitted via email or on paper may not yet be in this database).

If adopted on April 28 the shelter-related elements of the code would be effective on April 30, and the group living and RV/tiny house on wheels elements would be effective August 1, 2021.