Parks and their parking lots off table for new homeless shelters
The City Council voted on a number of measures related to homelessness in Portland — including amending the city's proposed Shelter to Housing Continuum Project to explicitly prohibit outdoor shelters in natural areas, parks or park parking lots — on Wednesday, March 31.
The council's housing emergency declaration was also extended for another year.
The council voted to amend and approve the Shelter to Housing Continuum Project, which is intended to expand shelter and housing options throughout the city by changing zoning codes to allow for more managed homeless camps, among other things. This would allow organizations and nonprofits to provide hygiene services, trash collection and wrap-around social services.
Outside of a state of emergency, temporarily shelters in natural areas, like parks, would be prohibited, according to the amended proposal. In addition, outdoor shelters at park parking lots would also be prohibited.
The council also updated city health and sanitation codes to facilitate needed amenities at new shelters, such as water and property maintenance.
An amendment was also passed to identify surplus city owned land suitable for creating a transitional shelter, except for plots of land that are not used for a developed park, has existing natural resource value and does not have a natural hazard risk.
The council also voted to extend the city's state of housing emergency until April 4, 2022. The housing emergency declaration was originally made back in 2015 under then-mayor Charlie Hales.
The next items to be brought before the council will include allowing allow shelters without conditional use up to 20 beds on institutional sites in single dwelling zones and addressing recreational vehicles and tiny houses on wheels. That hearing is scheduled for April 14 at 2 p.m.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.
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