Policy Agenda

Housing and Homelessness

Everyone deserves a place to call home

The continued prosperity of our region depends on an ample supply of affordable housing.  Unfortunately, new home construction in the Portland metro area has lagged chronically behind population growth, creating severe housing shortages and significant cost-of-living increases.

A record number of Portlanders are homeless and in need of outreach, mental health, addiction, transitional shelter, and housing services. The Chamber advocates for city, regional, and state-funded investments in short-and long-term solutions for bringing to an end this humanitarian crisis.

Bottom line: Leaders must adopt policies and practices that encourage, incentivize, and support housing development initiatives.

Housing and Homelessness Policy Priorities

1. Jumpstart housing development of all types throughout the region

  • Advance policies to increase density zoning in the Portland region, specifically near transit centers and fixed-rail transit.
  • Review new regulations through a housing lens to fully understand their impacts on the production of new housing.
  • Review and update permitting fees and reform the design-review process to align with other jurisdictions, remove unnecessary requirements and ensure these processes are not a barrier to development.
  • Streamline the City of Portland permitting process for increased transparency and efficiency.
  • Audit System Development Charges to ensure that individual assessments are clearly used in mitigating the impact caused by a project.
  • Improve zoning requirements, including reforms to inclusionary zoning that facilitate development of larger and new mixed-income housing projects.

2. Adopt policies focused on reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness and improve livability throughout the region.

  • Support a comprehensive approach to ensure everyone has a safe and warm place to sleep, especially supportive housing providing mental health and addiction services.
  • Support the Here Together Coalition policy framework for reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness and helping those at risk of becoming homeless.
  • Increase funding for Portland Street Response and other formalized street outreach programs to effectively and efficiently help people in crisis access the services they need.
  • Boost shelter bed quantity across the region and help those in need gain access.
  • Continue funding the City of Portland’s camp cleanup program.
  • Evaluate rental regulations that may force landlords to leave the market, further restricting available and affordable rental units in Portland.

Housing and Land Use Committee

Open to all Chamber members, this committee reviews public policy proposals related to a broad range of local and regional land use and development issues.

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