The City Council officially declared a "housing emergency" Wednesday, even though most members admitted they didn't know exactly what they would do in coming months to address it.

"There is obviously an emergency, but we've just started to discuss where to find the money to solve it," Commissioner Amanda Fritz said when voting to support the declaration submitted by Mayor Charlie Hales.

The vote was unanimous. Hales said it was a necessary first step to acting quickly to address the increasing numbers of homeless people and renters being forced out by no-fault evictions and renter increases.

The vote followed hours of testimony from renters who said they were being priced out of the homes and landlords who said they were only responding to increased demand from thousands of new people moving to Portland as the economy recovers.

The declaration suspends some regulations on the siting of homeless shelters and the construction of affordable housing projects, although no specific proposals were made during the hearing.

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