Portland’s City Council took the first step Wednesday toward extending a housing emergency for a second year.
Mayor Charlie Hales said the emergency declaration is necessary due to the rapidly rising cost of housing in Portland. He’d first called for a three-year extension of the emergency declaration, but the rest of the council would only agree to a year.
Hales and Multnomah County Chair Deb Kafoury tried to highlight what they’ve done to ease the homeless crisis. By the end of this year, Portland will have close to 500 new shelter beds available. And the city is asking voters in November for more than $250 million to build new affordable housing.
But most of the people who came to testify Wednesday excoriated the council for not doing more.
They called for rent freezes and an end to no-cause evictions. And they criticized the mayor for ordering homeless people off the Springwater Corridor, where hundreds have camped this summer.
The council will vote on the housing emergency next week.