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A look towards what the future may hold
“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
— Niels Bohr
What will the Central Eastside look like in the year 2035? Will it continue to be a home to industrial services, warehousing and distribution companies? Will the district still contain businesses started three generations ago? Will it include manufacturers making products commonplace in our lives today as well as products we cannot yet imagine?
Answering these questions is difficult. Imagine predicting 35 years ago — when Oregon’s economy was dominated by resource industries and the car culture shaped our urban form — that within three decades our economy would be shaped by the silicon chip and entrepreneurs, and employees who prefer to commute to work by foot, bike and streetcar.
Although we can’t predict the future, we can chart a course to the future we hope to realize. This journey will require some bold decisions and diligence to implement new strategies that take us where we collectively want to go. It will also require patience and the ability to creatively respond to the inevitable threats, opportunities and mid-course corrections that will deliver us to our desired destination.
Relationship to Central City 2035
The SE Quadrant Plan is an element of the broader Central City 2035 (CC2035) project to update the 1988 Central City Plan. The CC2035 Concept Plan, adopted in 2012, includes goals, policies and an urban design direction that provide high level guidance for the entire Central City. The Concept Plan established a framework from which the more detailed quadrant plans are being developed.
The SE Quadrant Plan will focus on building the next generation of industrial/employment sanctuaries, with higher employment densities to enhance and strengthen the Central Eastside’s role as a major employment center in the Central City. The planning effort will follow through on the CC2035 concept of southern “bookends” to the Central City, which could provide a new employment and education hub at OMSI and South Waterfront across the river.
The Concept Plan also articulates a vision for a Green Loop around the entire Central City, circling both sides of the river and providing people of all ages and abilities a way of walking, biking, strolling or rolling on a continuous, safe route. A community amenity such as this would further enhance the Central Eastside as a destination point for recreation, cultural attractions, restaurants, tourism and other amenities that enliven an area and create a sense of place.
You can help shape the future of the Central Eastside
Share your thoughts and input at the SE Quadrant Open House on July 8, where staff will present concepts that have emerged through the planning process so far.
Tuesday, July 8, 4 p.m – 7 p.m.
Oregon Rail Heritage Center
2250 SE Water Avenue
This is the final installment of a blog series aimed at exploring the past, present, and future of the Central Eastside.
Helpline staff can answer community questions about mixed-use areas
On Tuesday, July 1 more than 17,000 commercial property owners will start receiving a mailer with information about proposed land use and zoning changes that could affect their property.
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has set up a helpline to answer recipients’ questions about proposed land use and zone changes to specific properties, as well as the Comprehensive Plan Update and the Mixed-Use Zones Project. The helpline will go live on July 21, but staff will be answering the call center number and checking voicemail messages beginning July 1.
Growing in centers and corridors
The City of Portland is updating its Comprehensive Plan — a state-mandated blueprint for future growth and development. The new plan will help the city accommodate an expected 122,000 households and 135,000 jobs.
Where and how to locate these new households and businesses is a key question. The Comprehensive Plan directs growth and new development to a series of “centers” and “corridors” throughout the city. Designating places as centers and corridors will also guide future public investments in infrastructure and services to better support these places as they grow and change. This will help create more complete and well-served neighborhoods. It also helps preserve the character of lower density, single-family neighborhoods.
Centers and corridors already exist throughout the city, including well known places such as the Hollywood District and St Johns (proposed as “urban centers”), Kenton and Multnomah Village (as “neighborhood centers”); Sandy and Barbur Boulevards (as “civic corridors”); and Division and Alberta streets (as “neighborhood corridors”). However, some other places may take on a more prominent role and be newly classified as a “center” with this plan; for instance, the Killingsworth/Alberta/Interstate area, which already has many services and a MAX station nearby.
Proposed land use and zone changes
Portland is relabeling its Commercial and Central Employment land use designations (on the Comprehensive Plan Map) to include “mixed use” so they more accurately reflect that these areas allow multiple uses, including residential, commercial and some employment uses. “Mixed use” refers to a healthy blend of shops, restaurants, housing and other services that are a convenient and walkable distance from each other.
The city is also in the process of developing new and revised mixed-use zones (on the Zoning Map and in the Zoning Code) to apply in the mixed use areas. The new mixed-use zones will revise or replace many of the city’s current Commercial zones and the Central Employment zone applied outside of the Central City.
Most activities will still be allowed
Most current activities in these “new” mixed-use zones will continue to be allowed as they have in the past. The new regulations would primarily affect new development or significant changes to existing buildings. The revised zones will address issues like the size, bulk and design of new buildings and their relationship to adjacent buildings, among other things.
Developing a new set of zones will be completed in mid-2015. The new zones could be considered by the Planning and Sustainability Commission around that time. Then City Council would consider them for adoption along with other elements of the Comprehensive Plan Update.
For more information about the Mixed Use Zones project, please visit: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/mixeduse.
To learn more about the Comprehensive Plan Update, go to: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/pdxcompplan.
To speak with a customer service specialist about the Mixed-Use Zones flyer, please call: 503-823-0195.
At the Oregon Rail Heritage Center learn about the Central Eastside and the big ideas coming out of the planning process so far and share ideas about the future of the area.
Nickel Plate Road is one of four engines on display at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center
If you haven’t been to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center yet, now’s your chance!
On Tuesday, July 8 from 4 – 7 p.m., you can visit the museum for free and learn about the history of the Central Eastside and the thriving business ecosystem there – all in the presence of historic locomotives, railroad equipment and artifacts.
You can also learn about the big ideas coming out of the Southeast Quadrant planning process and the recent charrette event.
Staff from the following partner bureaus will on hand to answer questions and provide explanations:
Project staff will share input from the open house with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee as they help develop draft land use concepts. These concepts will illustrate the City’s goals for the district and identify the strategies needed to meet them.
Southeast Quadrant Open House
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 4 – 7 p.m.
Oregon Rail Heritage Center
2250 SE Water Ave (see access details below)
Topics: Existing conditions, businesses in the district, and big ideas about land use, transportation, river and open space from the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and public charrette
Snacks and refreshments will be provided.
We thank the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation for providing the venue. They will have docents available to explain the history of the train engines and give free tours.
Details for Accessing the Oregon Rail Heritage Center
In 1988, the Central Eastside was adopted as an official district of the Central City with new policy direction to “Preserve the Central Eastside as an industrial sanctuary . . . .” Consequently, various zoning tools were adopted to promote industrial uses throughout the district, with the exception of main street and mixed-use corridors, such as Martin Luther King Blvd, Grand Ave and Burnside.
Are these policies still working in the Central Eastside? For the most part, yes. The district is home to more than 17,000 jobs, most in traditional industrial sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, and industrial services.
However, the Central Eastside has become increasingly attractive to other uses, such as Portland’s growing knowledge and design businesses, due to its older industrial buildings that are well-suited to rehab, gritty urban character and the close-in, central location.
Increasingly brokers, land owners and businesses looking for space in the district seek more zoning flexibility and the ability to locate non-industrial uses within the industrial portions of the district.
Returning to the assumptions that led to the creation of Portland’s industrial sanctuary policy and the Central Eastside, the questions remain:
This is the thirteenth installment of a blog series aimed at exploring the past, present, and future of the Central Eastside. To learn more about the industrial sanctuary policies in the Central Eastside and the planning efforts for the district, read the Central Eastside Reader and visit the SE Quadrant Plan calendar to learn about future events.
Users can find information about the new station areas, building height and age, employment density, traffic signals, bike routes, vegetation and even sewer pipes
Map of building age with historic landmarks and districts from the Map App
At the Southeast Quadrant charrette in early June, the project team unveiled a new interactive map application (map app). The online tool allowed attendees to look at data for the Central Eastside, including walksheds, parcels, historic resources, public property, water mains, parks, trails, bike routes, the urban renewal area and much more. With iPads and laptops, participants were able to use the Map App during their conversations about land use issues in the district.
Now the SEQ Map App is online for anyone to explore and use. It’s a work in progress; data and layers will be added and updated throughout the project.
Note the list of map layers in the top left corner and the legend in the lower left side.
You can create endless map combinations. You can also use the Map App to answer questions. Here are a few suggestions: