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State says homeless camps and shelters don't belong on industrial property

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PORTLAND TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - The future of the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp is up in the air again.The state Land Use Board of Appeals has blocked the relocation of the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp from Old Town to a city-owned piece of industrial property in Southeast Portland.

The ruling issued Tuesday may also apply to the council’s decision to open a homeless shelter at Terminal 1 in Northwest Portland. It is also zoned industrial, and the LUBA ruling says homeless shelters are not allowed on industrial property.

“In our view, it cannot possibly be consistent with the purpose and policy of protecting industrial sanctuaries from residential and similar uses incompatible with those sanctuaries, to categorize as an outright permitted use a use that is functionally similar, if not functionally identical, to a use that is prohibited outright in the city’s industrial zones because of its quasi-residential character. Accordingly, we conclude that the city council’s interpretation to that effect is inconsistent with the purpose and policy underlying the prohibition on mass shelters in industrial zones, and the protection of industrial areas from quasi-residential uses such as mass shelters,” reads the ruling.

Mayor Charlie Hales, who supported both the relocation and opening of the homeless shelter, did not immediately express an opinion on the ruling.

"The City Attorneys are reviewing the decision now, and will advise council on implications and next steps," said Sara Hottman, his communications dirctor.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who supported the relocation and proposed the shelter at Terminal 1, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The council is likely to discuss the ruling at tomorrow’s weekly Wednesday meeting. One agenda item is to extend the Housing State of Emergency declared last October. It was intended to make it easier to site homeless camps and shelters, among other things.

The relocation of the R2DToo homeless camp — as it is commonly called — was challenged at LUBA by businesses in Southeast Portland that said it violated city policies to preserve industrial lands there. A similar LUBA challenge is underway by businesses in the Portland Harbor and others against the Terminal 1 homeless camp.

"In plain English, what LUBA said is, mass shelters are not compatible with industrial uses, for a lot reasons, and that's what we've been saying about Terminal 1," said Commission Nick Fish, who opposed the shelter proposal.

It is unclear what will happen next to the R2DToo homeless camp. The Portland Development Commission has bought the property where it is located at Northwest 4th and Burnside for redevelopment.

You can read the LUBA ruling here.