Portland to allow people to live in RVs, tiny homes

Tents not allowed as Commissioner Chloe Eudaly suspends city rules

Todd Ferry of PSU's Center for Public Interest Design with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in March 2017 (Portland Tribune/Lyndsey Hewitt)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announced on Sunday that the Bureau of Development Services will allow people to live in recreational vehicles and tiny homes on private property.

Eudaly, who is in charge of BDS, said up to three vehicles (including tiny homes) will be allowed on non-residential property. One vehicle will be allowed on residential properties. The owners of the properties must approve and provide electricity and the use of sanitary facilities.

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“Housing is a basic need and a human right. We have failed to keep up with demand for affordable housing for decades,” Eudaly said in her announcement, which was first reported by Willamette Week.

Eudaly has also directed BDS to develop code language to permanently allow people to live in tiny homes on private property.

Here is the full text of Eudaly’s announcement:

“Housing is a basic need and a human right. We have failed to keep up with demand for affordable housing for decades. As the City Commissioner with responsibility for the Bureau of Development Services, which enforces local building codes, I have asked the bureau to deprioritize enforcement against tiny homes and people sleeping in RVs parked on private property effective immediately.”

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly (Portland Tribune, file photo)
Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly (Portland Tribune, file photo)

BDS staff will begin work on developing code language to permanently allow tiny homes in conformance with recently passed HB 2737 and will continue to deprioritize enforcement against sleeping RVs on private property throughout the housing emergency.

BDS staff will use the following guidelines to continue to uphold safety and health standards aimed at protecting occupants of tiny homes and RVs as well as residents and neighbors:

Parking lots of non-residential occupied structures (religious institution, place of worship, business, or public entity)

• Property owner may grant permission for up to three vehicles (vehicle, motorhome, camper trailer, etc.) for sleeping

Properties with Single Family Structures or Duplexes

• Property owner and tenant may grant permission for one vehicle for sleeping.

• Vehicles must be located in legal parking areas on the property (Zoning requirements)

General requirements for all overnight sleeping arrangements

Sanitation

• Property owner shall make available sanitary facilities.

• Options include using sanitary facilities within the structure, pumping holding tanks off-site or having vendor pump out holding tank, or permitting and installing a legal sanitary dump station on site.

• Portable toilets (with ongoing service and maintenance) are only allowed at non-residential properties.

Electrical

• Property owner shall make available electrical connections.

• Options include extension cords from an approved outlet in the home or permitting and installing a pedestal for plug in.

• No hard connections are allowed.

• Use of generators is not allowed

• Property owner shall subscribe to and pay for garbage, recycling, and composting service.

• City may enforce Title 29.50.050 if it determines that the camping activity on the property constitutes a nuisance or other threat to the public welfare.