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Plus, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly has yet to draw a challenger and LCDC afforms Metro's UGB expansion

PMG FILE PHOTO - Mayor Ted WheelerMayor Ted Wheeler said last week that he supports a measure on the November 2020 general election ballot to provide more homeless services.

No one is actually working on such a measure at this time and several other measures already are in the works — including a transportation funding measure from Metro to finance congestion, and safety projects in the region, including a share of the Southwest Corridor MAX project. But, during a news conference after the most recent homeless count was released Thursday, Aug. 1, Wheeler told Willamette Week the No. 1 issue in Portland now is homelessness.

Wheeler told the Tribune editorial board the same thing earlier this summer.

The federally mandated Point in Time count said that overall homelessness in Multnomah County fell 4% since 2017, the last time it was taken. But the count also found that people living without safe shelter had increased 22%, primarily because the number of chronically homeless is up.

The count is not scientific and is based on a one-night survey by social service providers and volunteers. But it is the only such count taken on a regular basis and frequently is cited by elected officials, social service providers and the news media.

Will anyone run against Eudaly?

The biggest question about next year's City Council races right now is whether anyone will run against first-term Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

No one has stepped forward to challenge Eudaly in the May 2020 primary election. That's surprising, since she squabbled with liberal activists shortly after taking office and has since angered some neighborhood advocates by supporting changes to the civil engagement process that would eliminate references to neighborhood associations, neighborhood coalition offices and neighborhood business districts.

In contrast, Mayor Ted Wheeler already has drawn three opponents. And two candidates, so far, have announced for the council seat that will be vacated when Commissioner Amanda Fritz retires at the end of her current term. There is still a long time to go, however. The filing deadline for city offices is not until May 10 of next year.

Agency affirms boundary expansion

The Land Conservation and Development Commission has unanimously affirmed Metro's expansion of the urban growth boundary by 2,100 acres to support up to 9,200 new homes.

The expansion had been challenged by two advocacy organizations, 1000 Friends of Oregon and Housing Land Advocates, for not guaranteeing enough units affordable to low-income groups, among other grounds.

The commission considered the challenges on Friday, July 26. The hearing included presentation by the four cities that requested the expansions: Beaverton, Hillsboro, King City and Wilsonville.

The commission agreed with the analysis by the Department of Land Conservation and Development that Metro did not have to prove the expansions complied with federal fair housing laws. But the commission also agreed that Metro is requiring the cities to include affordable housing in the developments, and that the commission could enforce the requirement, if necessary.

The commission's approval can be appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

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