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The Central City 2035 Plan Discussion Draft is released, revealing a fresh vision for the heart of the city just in time for Valentine’s Day

This new long-range plan for Portland’s urban core includes goals, policies, maps and code to ensure a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient Central City for all.

At the heart of the city and the region, Portland’s Central City is home to more than 32,000 people and 123,000 jobs in less than five square miles. From the West End and Lloyd to South Downtown and the Central Eastside, its 10 different neighborhoods offer residents, employees and visitors a variety of cultural, educational, employment and recreational opportunities.

But as Portland grows, becomes more diverse and experiences the effects of climate change, the city’s center will face new and increasing challenges.

The Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035) aims to meet those challenges, while improving and building upon past plans and traditions. The Plan lays the groundwork for a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient Central City, where people can collaborate, innovate and create a better future together.


Review the CC2035 Discussion Draft

Key Elements of the Plan

A place to call home…

More and more people are calling Central City their home. With the transformation of the Pearl District into a thriving, walkable neighborhood, we know the Central City can be more than just a place to work, go to school or recreate. It’s actually a really great place to live. Other Central City neighborhoods are poised to become similarly vibrant (think South Waterfront and the Lloyd District), with housing close to jobs, shops, restaurants, transit, parks and other amenities.

Today, roughly 30 percent of the housing in the city center is affordable. The new plan aims to maintain this percentage with a bonus system to spur the construction of more affordable housing.

Employment Center for the Region

The Plan supports economic development strategies and programs to facilitate economic growth in the Central City. It builds on the connection — created by Tilikum Crossing — between the emerging industries in the Central Eastside with OHSU and PSU and encourages a range of businesses to locate in the area, particularly technology and research/development firms.

What was initially allowed as an interim use on underutilized surface parking lots, food carts have become small business stepping stones and a part of Portland's vibrant culture. The plan recognizes the value of food carts to the economy and calls for developing a strategy to accommodate them in other ways, as surface parking lots transform into mixed use buildings with retail, office and residential units. New transportation infrastructure will support residents, businesses and freight operations. And new land use tools will help expand commerce on and along the Willamette River.

New Bonus and Transfer System

The City’s priorities for affordable housing and historic preservation get a boost with the Plan, which capitalizes on more floor area (FAR) and height — but protects iconic views of Mt. Hood and other treasured sites with firm height limits. The Plan creates a new affordable housing fund and bonus that creates fees to be spent on creating more units for people of all ages and incomes.

Green Loop

For casual cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, a proposed six-mile open space path around the Central City (outside the Greenway Trail) will offer people a chance to stroll, run or ride bikes through parks and neighborhood business districts. The “Green Loop” is part of a larger effort to repurpose public rights-of-way into community spaces. It will connect many of the city’s civic and cultural institutions and link Downtown’s iconic park sequences to the rest of Portland.

21st-century Central Eastside

The 2035 Plan also lays the groundwork for the Innovation Quadrant in the southern end of the Central City, where industry in the Central Eastside Industrial District and academic researchers at OHSU, PSU and others can collaborate and thrive. The Plan can spur new job opportunities for workers with a variety of different interests, skills and education levels and improves access to growing high tech, light manufacturing and software jobs. This will be achieved largely through increased job densities with more flexible employment zones in the Central Eastside.

Height and Views

Finally, the Plan retains the successful building height pattern from 1970 but allows taller buildings along the Transit Mall (SW 5th and 6th streets). It will protect public view corridors of treasured sites like Mt. Hood from viewpoints at Tilikum Crossing and other key vantage points. It establishes height limits and new regulations within historic districts to ensure compatibility with existing historic character. And it retains the basic “step down” to the Willamette River, parks and adjacent neighborhoods, but allows greater height around bridgeheads to increase development potential and activate the waterfront. See the CC2035 MapApp for site-specific information about height and FAR. 

Willamette River and the Environment

New land use tools will help protect, provide access to and activate the Willamette River and its banks. The Plan includes a bonus to allow more development height in exchange for riverfront open space, applies an environmental overlay, expands the river setback, and allows some small retail structures in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. 

Learn more. Join the conversation.

To learn more about the draft Plan, Portlanders are invited to view it online, attend an open house on either the east or west side of the Willamette River … and more.

Attend an open house:

  City of Portland Bldg 1900 SW 4th Ave Olympic Mills Bldg107 SE Washington St
Ongoing lobby displays; staff available daily 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Feb 22 – 26 Feb 29 – March 4
Open houses with breakout sessions to dig into complex topics Feb 24, 4 – 7 p.m. March 2, 4 – 7 p.m.

Community meetings: Staff will be visiting neighborhood associations, business and trade associations, and other groups during February and March. View the project calendar to see details for scheduled meetings.

Request a meeting or presentation: We will do our best to attend meetings upon request. Email us at to request a presentation.

Comment on the CC2035 Discussion Draft
Your feedback is welcome from February 9 – March 31, 2016.

Subsequent drafts of the plan and public hearings

Staff will consider comments on the Discussion Draft as they develop a Proposed Draft for the Planning and Sustainability Commission, which will hold public hearings in June. The PSC will vote to recommend a draft to City Council, and more hearings will be heard in front of that body in the fall.

Questions? Contact the Central City Team: 503-823-4286, 

Motivate change in your community — become a Master Recycler

Apply now for the upcoming spring course, taking place in Clackamas County

Inspire and make a difference while connecting with others who care about our natural resources just like you. Join over 1450 Master Recyclers from Canby to East Portland, Gresham to Sandy and everywhere in between.

master recyclersMaster Recyclers are a volunteer corps who motivate neighbors and coworkers to take action on sustainable consumption, toxics reduction, composting and recycling..

Learn from the Experts
Join 30 fellow recycling enthusiasts in an eight-week course, learning from innovative leaders about topics such as:

  • Sustainable consumption
  • Fixing and reusing items
  • The sharing community
  • Toxics reduction
  • Green building
  • Recycling and compost processing
  • The global markets in which recyclables are bought and sold

During the course you will also tour recycling centers, compost facilities and hazardous and municipal waste sites, to see firsthand how these systems work.

  • WHAT: Clackamas County 8-week spring course and 30-hour volunteer program.
  • WHEN: Eight consecutive Wednesdays 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. starting on March 30, and two Saturdays 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. on April 9 and May 7.
  • WHERE: Hosted by Clackamas County, 150 Beavercreek Rd., Oregon City.
  • COST: $50.00 - Partial and full scholarships are available.
  • Application deadline is March 1st at noon.

Learn more or apply by visiting

This program is brought to you by Metro, the City of PortlandClackamas CountyWashington County, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Recycling Advocates.

Residential Infill Project advisory committee addresses scale of new houses and remodels, narrow lots, and alternative housing options during two-part charrette

At a follow-up open house, community members learned more about the project, asked questions and shared concerns.


Charrette Work Session and Public Open House  

On Thursday, January 21, the Residential Infill Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) discussed issues related to the scale of houses, as well as policy questions about where development of narrow lots is currently allowed and where it should be allowed in the future.

The “charrette” format was based on a collaborative approach to problem-solving, incorporating diverse and authentic dialog from a wide spectrum of project stakeholders. Committee members worked in small groups with Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff, along with experts in architectural and urban design, to develop ideas for possible future changes to City code. The charrette concluded at a subsequent SAC meeting on Tuesday, February 2 with an in-depth discussion of alternative housing options.

The public open house following the all-day charrette was attended by more than 30 residents, who learned about the project’s three primary topics (scale of houses, narrow lot development and alternative housing options), the work of the advisory committee, and ongoing opportunities for the general public to be involved in this important process.

Thanks to everyone who attended, shared their interests and concerns, and completed feedback forms. Summaries of the charrette discussions will be available after the SAC has had an opportunity to review them at their next meeting on March 1, 2016.

For more information about the Residential Infill Project visit our website at or contact Julia Gisler at 503-823-7624 or

Mixed Use Zones Project Proposed Draft to be released in March

Public hearing with Planning and Sustainability Commission tentatively scheduled for May 10, 2016.

The anticipated Proposed Draft for the Mixed Use Zones Project – originally scheduled for publication on February 1 – is now being published in March 2016.

City Council is currently working on amendments to the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan goals, policies and land use map through the end of March, after which they will hold public hearings in April and vote to adopt this portion of the new Comp Plan. To help Council and the public maintain focus on this work, the Mixed Use Zones (MUZ) Project schedule has been extended.

Once the MUZ Proposed Draft is released, Portlanders will have roughly two months to review the draft before a public hearing with the Planning and Sustainability Commission, tentatively scheduled for May 10, 2016. Testimony will be accepted in person at a public hearing, and via the Map App, letter or email.


Last September the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) released a Discussion Draft of the Mixed Use Zones Project. This Early Implementation Project of the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan is developing new regulations for development in centers and corridors outside the Central City. The project addresses issues arising with new mixed use buildings, such as mass, design and context, transitions and step-downs, and ground floor uses.

Last fall, project staff presented and discussed the Mixed Use Zones Project with Portlanders at six information sessions and an open house in October 2015. Comments on the discussion draft were accepted via the Map App, letter and email until November 16, 2015. Comments received went directly to project staff for consideration when drafting the Proposed Draft.

For more information, visit the project website at