Housing remains top issue in Portland, outgoing mayor says in final state of the city address
In her final state of the city address on Monday, outgoing Portland Mayor Kate Snyder said housing and homelessness remain the top issues facing the state's largest city.
"Some people say we have no new housing being built in Portland. What's happening? We're behind the eight-ball. Why aren't we contributing to the housing crisis?" Snyder said. "Other people will say there's non-stop construction in the city of Portland. When will it end? Well, it both feels true lots of times. We want more housing, we want it faster, and we're constantly being stopped at construction sites."
Snyder says more than 1,000 housing units are currently under construction in Portland, with about 20% of them designated as affordable housing. And yet she acknowledged that Portland still lacks permanent, transitional and emergency housing.
And Snyder says homelessness has reached a fever pitch, even as the city has opened a new shelter for unhoused residents and two temporary sites for asylum seekers this year.
"People have concerns about safety, crime, housing availability, housing costs, homelessness and the impacts that people with significant needs living outdoors in tents, the cost of living in Portland, including property taxes," Snyder said.
The Portland City Council narrowly defeated a measure on Monday night to declare a temporary state of emergency and add 50 beds to the Homeless Services Center.
Snyder has served one term as mayor and is not seeking re-election. Five candidates are running to replace her this November.