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Gideon Shelter Working Group Update 2023W22

The Gideon Shelter Working Group had four meetings last week, two with HAND to work on the Good Neighbor Agreement and two with representatives of Mayor Wheeler, HAND, GBBA, and CEIC.

We’ve addressed all the comments with the neighborhood groups, getting to first draft status.  We’ve gotten through the expanded services table for zone 1/Urban Alchemy Zone, zone 2, and zone 3 with the City. 

The performance bond idea for vandalism/property damage has morphed into two separate programs

  • For businesses: the existing Prosper Portland/PEMO-managed reimbursement program
  • For residences: an insurance deductible reimbursement program, capped at $5k

There are still changes on the Portland side, edited as a Microsoft Word document, which have yet to be merged into the version in our drive share. Those changes should be merged in this week.

Quoted in its entirety below is input from the city attorney, sent through Hank Smith, on my zoning analysis. I’m not sure whether this strengthens the city’s position or not, as this zoning seems to apply only during the duration of the emergency, which expires in 2025.

Thanks for the update John. We can use the time tomorrow to go over some of the suggested edits from the City, which might be useful before your meetings on Wed and Thurs.

I also appreciate your concern about zoning/permitting. I noticed you put some of my email on the website. I would recommend also including the City Attorney’s response to my questions on the issue (copied the response in below) for others who might be interested in the topic. After our previous conversations, I have spoken to the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability who assured me that they (BPS) did not see anything preventing the City’s use of this property for its intended purpose. For site development purposes, we are using one of the Bureau of Development Services most experienced employees to manage all permitting, and he has assured me that he does not foresee any critical issues coming up that will prevent the site from going forward.

I defer to these experts because it’s not my role to adjudicate these issues. But I do share your desire, as does everyone I work with, that the site safely, adequately, and legally serve the needs of Portland residents. The Emergency declarations do impact some of these calculations, and, at least in my own reading, the City Code 15.08.025 gives City Council fairly broad authorities to deal with an emergency.

One other note on the website — you mention the concern for the site about when individuals may be mandated to live at the TASS site. These sites are intended to be entered voluntarily. There are no plans to mandate someone to live at a TASS location. We hope to create a level of safety, security, and service availability that will make these sites an attractive but voluntary option to unhoused individuals who may have struggled to find help elsewhere. 

I know this is a long note, but I can tell this is important to you and other community members so I wanted to emphasize these points.

Thanks and see you tomorrow!


Note from the City Attorney:

You asked for me to describe how the zoning code treats outdoor shelters during the declared housing emergency. 

 City code section 33.296.030, Temporary Activities Allowed, allows outdoor shelters for the duration of a health and safety emergency: G. Natural disasters and emergencies. Temporary activities and structures needed as the result of a natural disaster, shelter shortage, or other health and safety emergencies are allowed for the duration of the emergency. 

Temporary activities include food, water, and equipment distribution centers, medical facilities, short term shelters, mass shelters, outdoor shelters, warming or cooling shelters, and triage stations. The City Council declared a housing emergency through Ordinance 187371, which has been extended until March 22, 2025, through Ordinance 190756, and found that the lack of shelter space for people experiencing homelessness is a health and safety emergency. In adopting Ordinance 190756 the City Council specifically found that there is an insufficient number of emergency shelters to meet the needs of the homeless population and that one of the purposes of declaring the housing emergency was to address the shelter needs and provide services to the city’s homeless population. In response, the City Council adopted Resolution 37595, which prioritized the establishment of designated camping sites that will serve as an alternative to self-sited unsanctioned encampments in the City of Portland. 

The temporary activities associated with the proposed Clinton Triangle Temporary Alternative Shelter Site (Outdoor Shelter) include sleeping facilities, restroom and laundry facilities, privacy fencing, ancillary structures for security, garbage collection, gardening, pet care, on-site staff, and covered areas for outdoor eating and providing services to shelter participants. Per PCC 33.910.030, outdoor shelters must be managed by a public agency or a non-profit agency. The proposed Outdoor Shelter will be managed by Urban Alchemy, which is a non-profit organization. Therefore, the proposal qualifies as an outdoor shelter under PCC 33.296.030.G and is a temporary activity that is needed as a result of a health and safety emergency. 

email from Hank Smith dated May 22, 2023

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