Mayor Wheeler, Commissioner Ryan announce proposals to fast-track construction of affordable housing and move homeless Portlanders closer to services

News Article

“I need the governor-elect to ask the outgoing governor to immediately declare a statewide emergency declaration. No government agency in Oregon has more experience putting together temporary outdoor emergency shelter camps than the State. With the state's help, we can get Portland’s designated sanctioned camping areas up before winter,” -Mayor Ted Wheeler

Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Ryan announced on Friday, October 21 2022 that they are co-sponsoring five resolutions that will be introduced at City Council on October 26.

Watch the City Council Livestream on Wednesday, October 26, 2022: Wednesday regular, 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Click here to sign up for public testimony. Members of the public must sign up in advance to testify before Council in-person or virtually using the above link or by calling 311.

The resolutions:

1. Establish key actions to increase affordable housing construction

Reduce the 5-year average waiting lists to get into affordable housing by catalyzing the construction of 20,000 units of housing by 2033. Key actions include identifying and land-banking up to 400 publicly owned sites that are shovel-ready for development, speeding permitting of nonprofit and private multifamily housing developments, and requesting assistance from the Oregon Governor and State Legislature to increase statewide funding and expand local options to fund affordable housing.

2. Assess options to increase coordination and enhance unhoused access to paid non-standard work

Work with partners to assess and explore a system to better structure gig and itinerant work (non-standard work) so that the needs of workers are prioritized, and more people can successfully participate in, benefit from, and advance in the labor market.

3. Connect mental health and substance abuse recovery services to unhoused individuals

Change City’s outdoor camping protocols to better connect homeless individuals with available sanitary, mental health, and substance abuse recovery services and banning self-sited encampments with designated alternative locations (e.g., emergency shelter, Safe Rest Villages, designated sanctioned campsites).

4. Create a diversion program for individuals experiencing homelessness

Request assistance from stakeholders, including the Multnomah County District Attorney (“MCDA”) and other experts providing community-based homeless, mental health and substance abuse recovery services, to create a services diversion program by offering people cited for low level offenses more opportunities to address pending legal issues and related collateral consequences outside of the criminal legal system.

5. Set City budget priorities to implement affordable housing, connect homeless individuals with sanitary, mental health and substance abuse recovery services and request assistance from County, Metro, State, and Federal partners.

Read Mayor Wheeler's full prepared remarks below.