A proposed moratorium that would have banned new shelters in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood fell one vote short of the support it needed to be considered Monday night and will have to come back to the Portland City Council in two weeks for a hearing and vote.

In order for the council to enact the ban as an emergency order, it would have taken seven affirmative councilor votes to hold a public hearing and then a final vote at Monday night’s council meeting.

The emergency measure failed to move ahead on the council’s 6-3 vote. After the vote, Mayor Kate Snyder adjourned what most expected to be a long and contentious public hearing, saying the shelter moratorium will be brought back to the council for a hearing and final vote on June 7.

Councilors Andrew Zarro, April Fournier, and Pious Ali voted in the minority. Zarro and Fournier are the newest members of the council. They gave no reasons for why the way they voted. But, their opposition overrode the recommendation made by members of the council’s Health and Human Services Committee. Tae Chong, Belinda Ray and Mark Dion each urged their colleagues to consider passing the ban as an emergency order. At a May 11 meeting, those councilors voted 3-0 in support of passing the moratorium as an emergency order. Ray, who represents Bayside, said the council should not delay its decision beyond Monday.

At its May 11 meeting, committee members “discussed the inequitable distribution of emergency shelter beds and social services in the neighborhood and that a moratorium would provide breathing room for this heavily impacted community while shelter licensing is finalized,” the committee wrote in documents provided to the council.

The proposal would establish a 180-day ban on new emergency shelters in the Bayside neighborhood, which has long been home to a cluster of social services used by people throughout the state and region struggling with homelessness and other issues.

Chong, who serves as chairman of the committee, said the moratorium is not meant to block any specific shelter proposal but to give city officials additional time to finalize a new annual licensing program for all emergency shelter operators.

“This would only affect Bayside and no other area of the city,” Chong said Monday.

However, the head of the nonprofit social services agency Preble Street says the proposal is directed at the organization, which is in the process of setting up a new shelter in addition to others it already operates. The moratorium comes four months after the city approved Preble Street’s new 40-bed shelter at 5 Portland St. The shelter, which is currently under development and is expected to open this summer, replaces its resource center, which included a day shelter. Its progress will not be affected by any ban or moratorium the city passes.

Mark Swann, executive director of Preble Street, said the nonprofit contemplated relocating and expanding some services in Bayside two years ago, but those plans are now up in the air. The original plan would have consolidated teen services, by adding the teen shelter at 38 Preble St. to the Teen Center on Cumberland Avenue, and then converting the former teen shelter into a small shelter for women.

“While it is true that we had put a plan together to open a new women’s shelter there, we are now not at all sure that is the best use of that space at this time,” Swann said. “In any event, with all (that’s) going on right now, it is definitely not something we would be pursuing within the next year.”

Preble Street also is working on opening a healing center for victims of human trafficking at 55 Portland St., but that facility will consist of caseworker offices, group rooms and the like and will not have any overnight uses.

With the support of some neighborhood residents, city officials have been trying to break up the cluster of social services in Bayside, which is undergoing rapid redevelopment.

Officials argue that having so many people accessing services in one area presents a risk to clients, who become easy targets for traffickers and other bad actors.

That strategy was one of the reasons the city is working to create a new 200-bed homeless services center away from Bayside on Riverside Street near the Westbrook city line. That plan is being fought by neighbors in that part of the city, however.

The council resolution that faced a vote Monday highlights concerns over the concentration of social services in the neighborhood. It notes that Bayside currently has more than 500 emergency shelter beds and accounts for 20 percent of police calls and 10 percent of EMS calls, despite having only 5 percent of the city’s population and 1 percent of the land area.

“The city of Portland’s homeless population has higher rates than the general public of individuals with lower socioeconomic status, individuals who are racial minorities, and individuals who suffer from substance use disorder and other mental health disorders, leading to a concentration of vulnerable individuals in the Bayside neighborhood,” the resolution states.

“The current city of Portland Code of Ordinances is inadequate to protect the Bayside neighborhood from the further concentration of emergency shelters in that neighborhood, potentially creating further serious harm from emergency shelter development in that area,” it continues. “The current city of Portland Code of Ordinances is also inadequate to prevent the potential overburdening of police, fire, and other city services from concentrating additional homeless shelter services in the Bayside neighborhood

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