|Early development at Dignity Village, Portland|
The law emphasizes the use of yurts as the form of housing for this type of use, but does not
require that it be a yurt. It notes that any other type of housing is subject to the regulations and codes for recreation parks and organizational camps. While this was not really enforced in Portland, the city of Eugene is requiring that the development at Opportunity Village meets these guidelines. Campground "sites" must be separated by at least 10 feet and structures must be permitted (though we have negotiated a streamlined permitting process that reduces the cost and hassle).
ORS 446.265 puts Oregon in a unique situation to more readily accommodate the transitional village model. Eugene will be the second city it Oregon to make use of this relatively unknown law with Opportunity Village expecting to open at the end of August. With many cities throughout the state continuing to experience budget cuts to social services while grappling with persistent homeless issues, the law may continue to see more use.
I'm curious about the origin of this law and how it came to be. Do other states have similar laws to support a transitional village? One I know of is California State Law SB2, which permits the siting emergency shelters, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing by right in certain zones. The law requires that cities zone for emergency needs, and if someone comes forward and shows those needs aren’t met, then citizens have a right to set up an emergency site. Anyway, here is ORS 446.265 in its entirety:
(1) A municipality may approve the establishment of a campground inside an urban growth boundary to be used for providing transitional housing accommodations. The accommodations may consist of separate facilities, in the form of yurts, for use as living units by one or more individuals or by families. The person establishing the accommodations may provide access to water, toilet, shower, laundry, cooking, telephone or other services either through separate or shared facilities. The accommodations shall provide parking facilities and walkways.
(2) Transitional housing accommodations described under subsection (1) of this section shall be limited to persons who lack permanent shelter and cannot be placed in other low income housing. A municipality may limit the maximum amount of time that an individual or a family may use the accommodations.
(3) Campgrounds providing transitional housing accommodations described under this section may be operated by private persons or nonprofit organizations. The shared facilities of the campgrounds are subject to regulation under the recreation park specialty code described under ORS 446.310 to 446.350. The transitional housing accommodations are not subject to ORS chapter 90.
(4) To the extent deemed relevant by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, the construction and installation of yurts on campgrounds used for providing transitional housing accommodations established under this section is subject to the manufactured structures specialty code described in ORS 446.155. Transitional housing accommodations not appurtenant to a yurt are subject to regulation as provided under subsection (3) of this section.
(5) Campgrounds established for providing transitional housing accommodations shall not be allowed on more than two parcels in a municipality. In approving the use of parcels for a campground, the municipality shall give preference to locations that have access to grocery stores and public transit services.
(6) As used in this section, “yurt” means a round, domed tent of canvas or other weather resistant material, having a rigid framework, wooden floor, one or more windows or skylights and that may have plumbing, electrical service or heat. [1999 c.758 §6]