Council eases zoning for homeless shelters
A sweeping zoning code change intended to make it easier to open shelters across Portland reached the finish line Wednesday. The City Council voted unanimously to pass the Shelter to Housing Continuum project on Wednesday, April 28.
The code change relaxes the city's zoning restrictions with the aim of providing more housing and shelter options for people at risk of houselessness or those already living on the street. The code change makes it easier for providers to site shelters and legalizes cheap housing options like RVs and tiny homes on wheels.
The zoning update has been in the pipeline of the city's bureau of planning and sustainability since February 2019, when the council voted to extend the city's housing state of emergency, which relaxed zoning code restrictions for shelter providers.
Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who oversees the city's bureau of planning and sustainability, framed the proposal as a critical step to increase the city's stock of shelters.
"Although the continuum can not end at shelters, we can't forget to adequately resource the initial efforts to find permanent sustainability for our houseless neighbors," Rubio said.
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