|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: