New zoning code proposals aim to provide more housing and shelter for people experiencing houselessness.

 

New zoning code proposals aim to provide more housing and shelter for people experiencing houselessness. The S2HC Proposed Draft is available for public review. Submit testimony via the Map App until Monday, December 21, at 5 p.m.

 

The Lents Neighborhood Association has invited a representative with the Shelter to Housing Continuum Project to our Lents Neighborhood Association general membership meeting on January 26, 2021, starting 7 p.m..to give an update and answer your questions, and they have accepted our invite, so keep an eye out for the agenda and Zoom link to join the meeting when it gets closer to the event date.

 

Laurelwood Center

The Laurelwood Center is a low-barrier shelter for 120 adults that offers safety off the street and connections to housing and services to help support people experiencing homelessness regain stability, connect to essential support services, and access stable and permanent housing options.

According to the project website, BPS, Housing Bureau, and Joint City-County Office of Homeless Services are partnering to retool City codes to better address the homelessness crisis. The project will further fair housing, expand shelter and housing options, and improve city code to aid shelter and housing providers.

According to the map, this will impact Lents.Code changes being considered could:

  • Promote more flexible household living arrangements.
  • Remove barriers to the production or retention of single-room-occupancy (SRO) housing, group living arrangements, or small apartments with shared kitchens.
  • Allow and regulate tent camping facilities and clusters of sleeping pods or “tiny homes” in certain zones.
  • Increase allowances for “institutional” uses in residential zones (churches, synagogues, and mosques, for example) to provide shelter and services.
  • Modify current rules for temporary activities needed to respond to natural disasters and emergencies.
  • Adjust the siting regulations for temporary housing and shelters.
  • Adjust the siting of day storage and hygiene facilities serving the houseless.
  • Modify Design Review guidelines and other procedures for permitting affordable housing.

The S2HC Proposed Draft is available for public review. Submit testimony via the Map App by 5 p.m. today, Monday, December 21.

 

Answers to questions you might have about this:

Q: Why didn’t the neighborhood association notify us until now if the deadline to submit testimony is today?

A: Our goal is always to inform and involve the public in a timely manner in any decision-making processes that affect them and that we might know of. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive any notifications about this until late last night/today. As soon as we learned about today’s deadline, we called the city and asked questions and are now sharing with you what we’ve learned.

Q: Is this the only opportunity to submit public testimony?

A: No. There will be more opportunities to submit feedback on this, including directly to City Council, before our City Council votes on it, which would be in late February or early March 2021. This was just one phase of collecting public input and it will inform the work sessions that the Planning and Sustainability Commission has planned for January 2021. However, the Planning and Sustainability Commission aren’t the ones making the decisions on the implementation of the project; they will simply make a recommendation to Council, and Council will be the ones voting on it.

Q: What efforts has the City made to notify the public that this is happening and that changes to city code are being considered?

A: First, here is a timeline of the project steps so far, from information we gathered from the project website(s):

  • 2019: Project scoping and research
  • Spring 2020: Code development
  • Summer 2020: Discussion Draft and Stakeholder Discussion
  • Fall 2020: Proposed Draft and Planning and Sustainability Commission hearings
  • October 2020 — Discussion Draft comments were received through October 30, 2020
    November 25, 2020 — Proposed Draft released for public testimony
  • December 8, 2020 Planning and Sustainability Commission Meeting (Public Hearing)
  • December 15, 2020 Planning and Sustainability Commission Meeting (Public Hearing)
  • December 21, 2020: Written testimony accepted until 5:00 PM. Submit via the Map App
  • January 12, 2021 — First Planning and Sustainability Commission work session
    January 26, 2021 — Second Planning and Sustainability Commission work session and possible recommendation
    March 2021 — Portland City Council hearing

According to our conversation with a city representative earlier today, there is a standard legislative notification procedure for getting the word out to the public on matters like this, and that involves sending notices out to neighborhood associations and district coalitions. About 500 notifications were sent out via mail flyers. Additionally, the project websitehas been up since August 2020, there is an option for folks tosign up for e-mail notifications.  The project leadership has given a presentation to SE Uplift about this; however, Lents is not a part of SE Uplift.

From what we can tell, our neighborhood association has not received a notification about this. We looked into it and think that this could have happened for several reasons. The District Coalition Office where we receive our mail has been closed since  early Spring 2020 due to COVID-19. Additionally, e-mail notifications from the City might not reach us if there is a miscommunication in how the Office of Community and Civic Life collects our contact info and/or provides it to agencies such as BPS. This has been an ongoing issue between all those involved. We want to be a part of the solution and we are actively working to do our part to help improve this system.

Q: Aside from today, what other opportunities will there be for the public, such as the Lents community, to provide input on this topic and learn more?

A: See the timeline above. There are two expected dates in January 2021 when the Planning and Sustainability Commission will make recommendations to City Council. City Council will then conduct public hearings on this sometime in late February or early March — keep an eye out on the City Council agenda for specific dates.

Additionally, we have invited the project staff of Shelter to Housing Continuum Project to our Lents Neighborhood Association general membership meeting on January 26, 2021, starting 7 p.m..to give an update and answer your questions, and they have accepted our invite, so keep an eye out for the agenda and Zoom link to join the meeting when it gets closer to the event date.

To stay up to date with the latest on this project, please sign up for e-mail notifications and you will be notified directly. 

Additional FAQ answers here.

 

Disclaimer:

 We are a board of community volunteers. We are not authorities on the subject matter. We have compiled the information in this email to the best of our ability in an effort to reach more community members directly and make them aware of what is going on so that they have a chance to be involved, if they wish. We’ve also posted this on our website and on our Facebook page. If we have published anything incorrectly, we will update it as we become aware of it. However, we wanted to get this info out to you as soon as possible, given the tight deadline. For the most accurate and most up-to-date info on this project, please check the project website directly or sign up for updates.