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Enough Land for Jobs in Portland? Revised Economic Opportunities Analysis says "Yes"!

Planning and Sustainability Commission to hold public hearing on new EOA on April 14

Portland’s Comprehensive Plan ensures the City has enough land for housing and jobs based on projections for population growth and business development. Through the Centers and Corridors growth management strategy, the City can accommodate the need for more housing.

But it’s the Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) that helps us determine how much land we need for future employment and then posits ways to meet that goal.

The good news is that the recently revised EOA shows that the policies, infrastructure investments and land use map changes in the Comprehensive Plan Proposed Draft will support Portland’s economic growth into the middle of the 21st century.

Portland has room to accommodate 142,000 new jobs on 3,000 acres of employment land by 2035. This is in addition to the city’s existing 370,000 jobs.

Meeting Goal 9

Under Statewide Planning Goal 9, Oregon cities must provide enough employment sites of suitable sizes, types and locations to accommodate forecast job growth for the next 20 years. The 2035 Comprehensive Plan will support job growth by creating:

  • An additional 450 acres of development capacity in existing industrial areas through land use changes, public infrastructure investments and brownfield redevelopment.
  • An additional 375 acres of development capacity for major campus institutions, the Central Eastside and Lower Albina industrial districts, and town centers throughout the city.
  • Capacity to expand marine terminals, rail yards and airport facilities.

Industrial Lands and Watershed Health Strategies

Industrial lands are sites that typically allow light and heavy manufacturing, warehousing, marine cargo and other industrial uses. These sites play a key role in supporting and growing middle-skill, family-wage jobs, which generally do not require an advanced degree. They help provide opportunity and income self-sufficiency to the 30 percent of Portland students who do not graduate from high school, as well as the 30 – 40 percent of high school graduates who do not go on to college. This, in turn, helps the City reach it equitable prosperity goals and support a balanced economy.

The proposed Comprehensive Plan accommodates 31,600 new jobs, 22 million square feet of new building area, and 1,700 acres of land development in our industrial districts by 2035.

But much of the industrially zoned land in Portland is located in or near environmentally sensitive areas along the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. The proposed plan includes a balanced strategy of goals, policies, infrastructure investments and map changes to both promote economic prosperity and improve watershed health through:

  • Retention and protection of prime industrial land.
  • Intensification of land use and reinvestment in freight infrastructure.
  • Brownfield redevelopment.
  • Private golf course conversion to allow for industrial land and open space.

Maximizing the use of industrial land reduces the pressure to create more sites in environmentally sensitive areas, particularly in the Portland Harbor.

Other Job Growth Capacity Strategies

Other areas of the city are also targeted for job growth, including:

  • Central City Industrial – The SE Quadrant Plan will designate additional capacity in the Central Eastside Industrial District, primarily by expanding industrial office development and limiting retail sales and services. 90 more acres and 10,000 new jobs
  • Campus Institutions – Hospitals, colleges and universities are projected to have the highest job growth over the next 20 years. The new Comprehensive Plan designates these campus institutions as employment districts rather than conditional uses in residential areas to help them expand without encroaching on nearby neighborhoods. 370 more acres and 23,000 new jobs
  • Central City Commercial and Neighborhood Commercial areas have more than enough capacity to accommodate the forecast job growth. 840 more acres and 69,000 new jobs

Read the entire revised EOA.

Public Hearing on the EOA

Portlanders are invited to comment on the revised EOA to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC), which will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 (please check the PSC calendar to confirm details).  Written comments are also welcome by April 14, either by mail or in writing. See Tips for Testifying for more information.

After the hearing, the PSC will vote to recommend the EOA, which will move onto to City Council for adoption with other parts of the new Comprehensive Plan.

PSC News: February 10, 2015 Meeting Recap and Documents

Comprehensive Plan Update — work session


  • Comprehensive Plan — work session: Economic Development; Environmental goals

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at

Have Your Say about Future Transportation Projects and Programs in Portland

See the Transportation System Plan updated project list, then testify at a public hearing on February 24

Along with the Comprehensive Plan, the City of Portland is updating the Transportation System Plan (TSP), a long-range plan to guide transportation investments in our community through 2035. The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will hold a public hearing on the TSP on February 24 at 5 p.m. But there are many other ways you can learn more and provide comments on the proposed plan (keep reading!).

Public Hearing: Transportation System Plan
Planning and Sustainability Commission
Tuesday, February 24, 5 – 9 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Ave., 2500A

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has published its recommended project list for the next 25 years. The list includes sidewalks, bridges and road improvements to enhance freight, bike and pedestrian access to neighborhoods and employment centers. This is PBOT’s draft recommendation based on months of public input on transportation system goals, policies and projects. The list shows major capital improvements that could be built in the coming years. It also shows citywide programs like Safe Routes to School, which includes clusters of small projects like filling in sidewalk gaps.

But this is not the end of the process.

Given the need to enhance Portland’s transportation system and the shortage of funds, PBOT needs to hear which projects and programs are most important to community members. Portlanders can show the projects they think should be:

  • Prioritized by adding them to the “constrained” funding list, which shows the projects we can afford to fund within a realistic revenue forecast.
  • Lower priority or shifted to the “unconstrained” list, which includes lower priority projects that may not be funded without substantial new revenue.

View the TSP Major Projects + Citywide Programs Recommendation List. This includes project lists separated by Neighborhood Coalition.

Projects are also viewable on the interactive online Map App, a convenient way to see and comment on all the proposed projects. Be sure to click on the Transportation tab at the top of the page.

Or visit the TSP Online Open House, where you can view information boards and current handouts about the project.

You can learn even more at the TSP web site and view the PBOT staff report to the PSC, which includes an overview of the proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan Map as well as the project lists.

The PSC is accepting written comments (via the Map App, letter or email) on the Comprehensive Plan goals, policies and map changes until March 13. Read the tips for testifying on the TSP.

The public is also invited to testify on the TSP in person at the public hearing with the PSC on February 24, starting at 5 p.m.


City Council Holds Public Hearing on Recommended Draft of the West Quadrant Plan

Commissioners hear testimony from nearly 60 Portlanders; support affordable housing goals and actions

The West Quadrant Plan was the focus of a public hearing at City Council on Feb. 4, 2015. Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff presented the big ideas in the recommended plan, including creating a healthy and vibrant 21st-century urban waterfront, developing a signature 10-mile walking and biking parkway (or Green Loop), encouraging a mix of uses in the quadrant and constructing a model low-carbon Central City.  

Close to 60 community members testified on the Recommended Draft for more than four hours, with much of the testimony focusing on height and density limits in the West End and Goose Hollow.

But affordable housing took center stage when Commissioner Dan Saltzman co-sponsored the resolution to adopt the plan, along with Mayor Charlie Hales. Commissioner Nick Fish also spoke passionately about the need to keep Portland from becoming like San Francisco and other high-cost cities through regulations and programs that would support affordable and workforce housing on the west side of the Central City.

The West Quadrant Plan calls for a mix of housing types and establishes an affordable housing target for 2035. It also addresses the environmental health of the Willamette River and proposes actions to protect historic resources.

In regards to building height, the plan leaves existing limits in much of the quadrant alone. It does, however, propose transfer of development rights for historic buildings in Old Town/Chinatown as well as bonuses that could create incentives for affordable housing, building setbacks for plazas and public space, and other civic amenities.

At one point during the hearing, Commissioner Steve Novick asked staff about the relationship between building height and carbon emissions. BPS Director Susan Anderson pointed out that higher buildings can help create more compact, transit-accessible and amenity-rich communities, which help us reach our climate action goals.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is conducting a study to determine the costs and benefits of bonuses to both the City and developers as well as the financial viability of different types of bonuses. BPS is also working on an updated Scenic Resources Inventory in the city center, which will identify view sheds and corridors worth preserving. Until this work is done, however, no final decisions on height limits or bonuses will be made.

Next Steps

The West Quadrant Plan will be back on the Council agenda in a few weeks. Please check Council agendas to confirm the following:

  • Friday, February 20 (5 p.m.)
    City Council proposed amendments will be posted on the Council website.
  • Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 2 p.m., time certain 
    City Council Hearing

After Council votes to adopt the plan by resolution, planners will then begin to consolidate all of the quadrant plans (West, N/NE and SE quadrants) and draft new Zoning Code provisions for a complete Central City 2035 (CC2035) plan. This combined plan and ordinance will then be the subject of hearings before the Planning and Sustainablity Commission and City Council in 2016. Once adopted, CC2035 will become an amendment to the newly adopted Comprehensive Plan.

The West Quadrant Plan is a long-range plan for Central City districts west of the Willamette River, including Downtown, the West End, Goose Hollow, the Pearl, Old Town/Chinatown, South Waterfront and South Downtown/University. For more information, please visit

Learn About the RICAP 7 Draft Code Amendment Package at Open House on Tuesday Evening, February 10

Community event features draft updates to design review exemptions and processes, neighborhood contact requirements, shed roof heights, floor area use clarification and more

The City of Portland continually updates and improves building and land use regulations through regulatory improvement code amendment packages (RICAP). The latest package (RICAP 7) includes 45 items for regulatory improvement consideration, including refinements to design review exemptions and review processes for changes to approved designs, neighborhood contact requirements, shed roof heights, floor area use and more.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Code Development Team will hold an open house on Feb. 10, 2015, 5 ― 7 p.m., to present information and answer questions about the RICAP 7 Discussion DraftThe open house will be in the Development Services Building, 1900 SW 4th Ave, Room 7A (7th floor).

Open House

RICAP 7 Discussion Draft
Tuesday, February 10, 5 ― 7 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Ave., Rm 7A (7th floor)

Read the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Project (RICAP) 7 Discussion Draft

Portlanders are invited to share their feedback on the Discussion Draft with staff at the open house. Comments on the 45 items can also be submitted by mail to 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201, Attn: RICAP 7; FAX: 503-823-7800; or email

Next Steps
The comment period for the Discussion Draft ends at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Staff will then incorporate those comments into a Proposed Draft, which will be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) at a public hearing in the spring. The PSC will consider public testimony and then forward a recommendation to City Council for consideration and additional public review before final adoption.

For more information about RICAP 7 and the Discussion Draft, please visit

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is committed to providing equal access to information and hearings. If you need special accommodation, interpretation or translation, please call 503-823-7700, the TTY at 503-823-6868 or the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900 within 48 hours prior to the event.