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Portland’s New Comprehensive Plan to be Considered by City Council

Portlanders can now review the Recommended Draft and testify to City Council in writing, via the Map App or at a public hearing

Last month Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) voted to recommend a new Comprehensive Plan to City Council. With the release of the PSC’s Recommended Draft on August 24, 2015, Portlanders are invited to review the draft and submit their testimony to City Council.

At the request of the PSC, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) incorporated a list of amendments to improve the Plan’s ability to address economic prosperity, human and environmental health, equity and resiliency. The PSC’s amendments are now reflected in an updated land use map, goals and policies document, and a list of significant projects.

Portland's new Comprehensive Plan will help the City prepare for expected population and job growth. The Recommended Draft includes elements that address housing, transportation, environmental protection, economic development, infrastructure improvements and community involvement.

See the Comprehensive Plan Recommended Draft

Interactive Map App

The Recommended Draft also includes a revised Map App, which allows community members to click on or search for a specific property to view any recommended land use changes. Most of the city will keep the same land use designation (residential, employment, open space, etc.); only 14 percent of the area of the city will be subject to change if City Council adopts the Recommended Draft. Visit the Map App at

The bureau has set up a helpline to answer questions about the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Community members may call 503-823-0195, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Staff will be on hand to answer questions; interpretation services are also available for those whose first language is not English.

Additionally, the City’s District Liaisons will be holding drop-in hours throughout the city this fall to answer questions. Check the Comprehensive Plan calendar for dates, times and locations.

How to Comment

The public is invited to comment on the Recommended Draft directly to City Council via the following methods:


Map App:

U.S. Mail: 

Comprehensive Plan Testimony c/o Council Clerk
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 130
Portland, OR 972014

In person:   

November 19, 2015, 2 p.m.
Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Council Chambers

Public involvement timeline

With the publication of the PSC’s Recommended Draft and launch of the Map App, City Council’s official record opens. To give Council and the public time to review and understand the recommendations in the draft 2035 Plan, Commissioners will hold their own work sessions with staff on key topics from September through November.  

The first public hearing at City Council will be on November 19, with other hearings to be scheduled soon after. Council will then hold additional work sessions to consider amendments to the Recommended Draft. A City Council vote to adopt Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan is anticipated in February 2016. Once the Plan has been adopted, it then goes to the State Land Conservation and Development Commission for acknowledgement.

  • September – December 2015: City Council staff work sessions
  • November 19, 2015: City Council hearing @ 2 p.m.
  • November – December 2015: Additional City Council hearings
  • January 2016: Additional work sessions to consider amendments
  • February 2016: Anticipated City Council vote to adopt the 2035 Comprehensive Plan

Early implementation projects

There are several Early Implementation projects for the new Comprehensive Plan currently underway, including zoning code updates for employment land, campus institutions and mixed use areas. Portlanders will have additional opportunities to weigh in on drafts of these projects as they come before the PSC. Check the Comprehensive Plan Update website for news about those projects at

Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update heads to Planning and Sustainability Commission for Hearing

Proposed Draft revises rules for garages, home offices, greenhouses, accessory dwelling units and other accessory structures

BPS staff have released the Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update Proposed Draft in preparation for the upcoming Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) public hearing on September 22,2015.

The Accessory Structures Zoning Code Update is revising the City's Zoning Code regulations, focusing on detached accessory structures associated with residential development. This includes structures such as garages, storage sheds, home offices, greenhouses and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as well as decks, trellises and mechanical equipment.

The project aims to streamline the regulations by emphasizing form (setbacks, height and bulk) over function (how the accessory structure is used) while continuing to address impacts on neighboring properties. Specifically, the proposed amendments:

  • Expand the exemption that allows small one-story garages in side and rear setbacks to other detached accessory structures.
  • Set a uniform building height maximum of 20 feet for all detached accessory structures.
  • Require all detached covered accessory structures more than 15 feet high to meet revised compatibility standards for exterior finish materials, roof pitch, trim, windows and eaves.
  • Provide additional flexibility for mechanical equipment installations related to single-dwelling development.
  • Reformat regulations to improve clarity.

The Proposed Draft updates the public Discussion Draft, which was released in June. The Proposed Draft includes staff consideration of the comments received during the outreach period. The Proposed Draft is the staff recommendation for PSC consideration and recommendation at their hearing. The public is invited to attend and/or submit testimony on the proposal.

PSC Hearing Details

Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission - Public Hearing
Tuesday September 22, 2015, 5p.m. **
1900 SW 4th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Room 2500A
** Please check the PSC calendar approximately one week before the hearing for a more specific time and additional details.

View the PSC agenda:

View the Proposed Draft:

Detailed instructions for submitting testimony:


Putting a stop to food waste is a piece of cake!

Complement the effectiveness of your composting efforts by reducing the amount of food that goes to waste.

Family at grocery store

The average family throws away 25 percent of the food they buy, wasting about $1,600 a year.

Here are three easy steps to keep money in your wallet and out of the compost bin:

Make a list!

  • Plan your meals for the week, check what you already have in stock, then make a shopping list (and stick to it). While shopping, choose bulk ingredients and loose fruits and veggies to get the exact amount you need.  

Keep fruits and veggies fresh.

  • Produce often goes bad before we eat it. Freeze fruits you can’t eat in time and use them later to make delicious pies and smoothies.  And wilting veggies are great for making soup you can freeze for future meals.

 First in, first out.

  • Out of sight, out of mind leads to food waste. Move older ingredients and leftovers to the front of your pantry and fridge to use up first. Find new recipes and creative ways to use leftovers and other ingredients to make meals.

Visit for more tips and resources, including useful mobile apps and informative websites. Tell us about the meals you make with leftover ingredients:

From BPS Director Susan Anderson: 2015 Climate Action Plan to guide City of Portland for next five years

Portland City Council adopts new aggressive 2015 Climate Action Plan.

Thanks to a unanimous City Council vote in June, we have a new Climate Action Plan to guide the carbon reduction efforts of the City of Portland, our local businesses and community partners for the next five years. This plan provides an integrated response to the intertwined challenges of climate change, social equity, economic volatility, degraded natural systems, and the rising cost of living for all Portland residents and businesses.

The 2015 Climate Action Plan updates Portland's roadmap for the community to achieve an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, with an interim goal of a 40 percent reduction by 2030.  In 1993, Portland became the first city in the United States to adopt a local plan to reduce carbon pollution.  Over the years, the goals of the plan have become reality with sustained efforts by businesses, public agencies and individuals producing results.

Since 1990, total local carbon emissions have declined by 14 percent, while total U.S. emissions have increased by six percent!  During this same time, our population grew by more than 160,000 people, and we added more than 75,000 more jobs — clearly we are doing more with less and moving in the right direction. Read “Portland: A City of Firsts on Climate Action.” 

The 2015 Climate Action Plan features many ambitious new strategies and actions to reduce Portland's carbon footprint.  I want to tell you about two new elements that make the plan unique:

Advancing equity. The 2015 Climate Action Plan was developed with careful thought to how all Portlanders can access the benefits of carbon reduction efforts.  This plan will result in many benefits, such as a stronger economy, new jobs, lower energy bills, transportation improvements and a cleaner environment.  Efforts should ensure that all residents, and especially those from under-served and under-represented communities, share in the economic, environmental and health benefits related to reducing carbon pollution.

Exploring consumer choice.  The new Climate Action Plan includes an inventory of the carbon emissions associated with the goods and services we buy that are produced elsewhere, outside of Multnomah County.  This is called a consumption-based inventory. It considers the full lifecycle of goods and services from production to transportation, to wholesale and retail sales, to use and disposal.

This new look at where emissions come from is important.  It turns out that the "stuff" that we buy from other states and from around the world — like televisions, clothes, cars and food — has a major impact on global carbon emissions.  This insight can help each of us make better informed choices and provides us with a wide range of opportunities to reduce carbon pollution internationally by carefully considering our purchasing choices here at home.

Cities around the world look to Portland for our leadership and best practices. Mayor Hales talked recently with OPB's Think Out Loud program about his visit to the Vatican for Pope Francis' historic summit on climate change and modern slavery — the first time the Vatican has gathered local leaders, in order to mobilize grassroots climate action. 

"Cities are the place where innovation happens," Mayor Hales said. "This network of cities is really beginning to have an impact on the global discussion about climate change."

As we look back on our original Climate Action Plan from the early 90's, we can see that it has resulted in significant energy and dollar savings, better air quality, a healthier environment, new jobs and less carbon pollution.  However, we have a long way to go to get to an 80 percent reduction.  As the magnitude of climate change has become more clear and immediate, so too has the need for an even more ambitious response.

Climate change is an issue that is integrated into every aspect of our work and daily lives.  The challenge will not be met by government programs in isolation. Every family, every business and institution must do their part.  The 2015 Climate Action Plan provides us with a roadmap that will result in a healthier, more equitable, resilient, prosperous and affordable community.

Understanding your carbon footprint and taking action

Visit our Climate Action Now infographic to understand the most important actions that will reduce your carbon footprint. 

Return to for regular tips that cover the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home.


Susan Anderson, Director

City of Portland

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability