'Housing Emergency' Could Be Extended For Up To 3 Years
Mayor Charlie Hales will be introducing an agenda item at tomorrow’s Portland City Council meeting that could extend the city’s declared “housing emergency” for another three years. The emergency was declared for a period of one year beginning on Oct. 7, 2015, and the extension would carry it through to 2019. That means the Government Accountability and Transparency Review, created to reduce the time and expense associated with the development of affordable housing, would be sustained through 2019 as well.
The city estimates Portland is still in need of more than 20,000 affordable housing units. Homeless camps have become a serious problem and during the current housing emergency, the city has worked to provide health and sanitation services to those sleeping outdoors. Extending the housing emergency would allow the city to continue offering temporary housing and mass shelters by waiving certain zoning regulations.
The proposed three-year extension might not be what passes at tomorrow’s meeting, The Oregonian reports. The City Council only has the authority to extend the emergency in six-month increments, which the mayor is hoping to waive. Aides told The Oregonian all four city commissioners feel three years is too long, but no alternate proposal seems to have popped up thus far. Policy director Chad Stover said the three-year time frame is "not something we’re married to.”
The item is slated for discussion at 2pm at City Hall.