Re: Letter Ask City Council to Extend Housing Emergency & Delay Final Vote on S2HC
Sorry, that was the list from Portland: Neighbors welcome, which this group also supported in the previous testimony. Here’s the text of the PDX Shelter Forum’s letter:toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
March 17, 2021
Dear Mayor Wheeler and Portland City Council,
PDX Shelter Forum began in May 2020 to help develop ways to rapidly ensure safe, decent dwelling for all Portlanders. We have since hosted four public online forums, and multiple community work sessions to develop testimony; created open online guides to discuss and advocate on related legislation; grown our active web/email forum to over 330 members, and presented written and spoken testimony at numerous events.
The Shelter to Housing Continuum project (S2HC) has been a major focus of our group's work since we began, and our June forum included the first public presentation about S2HC by Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff. We are pleased to strongly endorse the proposal, with a set of recommendations detailed below.
We are aligned with the revisions/recommendations made by
though we also have made additional recommendations.
1) We support BPS’ recommendation to not remove the city’s ability to declare or extend a Housing State of Emergency. We are in an emergency now, and it could very well worsen with eviction moratoriums ending and high unemployment continuing.
Also, please waive permitting and Conditional Use fees for new shelters – this is an emergency. Like Anatole France said, sort of, “The law, in its majestic equality, charges equal fees to skyscrapers and shelters, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges..."
33.296.030.H: This new provision accommodates the temporary operation of a mass shelter or an outdoor shelter on a site in all zones of the city for up to 180 days within a calendar year. ...without the need for an emergency that is generally declared by City Council in Title 15. and is usually the mechanism to invoke G. above.
This seems to unconditionally allow Outdoor Shelters, of same 6-month tenure as discussed in proposal generally, anywhere in the city; but we don't think that is really the intent of BPS, or shouldn't be, nor is necessary.
Public hearings and testimony show there is significant complexity, and often misunderstanding, about what Open Space comprises. It includes city parks and sensitive natural areas including on waterways and in flood plains, which generally have protections from other use, and which few people seem to support the use of for shelter. However, Open Space may also include areas such as leftover space around state or Federal highways, or surplus from other transportation and development projects, which might at times be plausible shelter sites.
Observing the unclear definition and understanding of Open Space, we suggest that the best path is neither allow all, nor prohibit all potential use of OS for shelters. Rather, exclude from shelter consideration the subsets of OS that people are truly concerned about, and allow specific other sites to be considered by City Council action.
City, County, & Metro departments have unparallelled resources to support this – such as GIS and mapping tools, Metro Supportive Housing Services measure funding, the alternative shelter RFPQ program, and existing inventories of public lands. We ask that the City seek to facilitate and accelerate efforts on this, for example by publishing city-wide, lot-level mapping of sites’ eligibility for shelters under the S2HC guidelines once approved, and a publicly usable spreadsheet listing of potential sites. This list should also include public land and facilities the City and County have that could be used for shelters.
This major restriction was not in the City Council ordinance authorizing S2HC project and we repeatedly advocated to remove it. It doesn’t align with common village models, and is at odds with the 2021 Oregon housing emergency legislation HB 2006, which defines emergency-usable housing to include all types of structures. This is also consistent with California emergency shelter law, and general practice. These restrictions should be removed.
We respectfully request incorporation of these recommendations into the S2HC ordinance and implementation, and look forward to working together to support our unhoused neighbors.