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Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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PSC News: June 24, 2014 meeting recap and documents

Willamette River Greenway Inventory — hearing

Agenda

  • Willamette River Greenway Inventory hearing

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes, documents and audio recordings of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/webdrawer/search/rec?sm_clastext=Planning%20and%20Sustainability%20Commission&sort1=rs_dateCreated&count&rows=50.

Portland's Central Eastside: 2035

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.

City sends commercial property owners a mailer about land use and zone changes that could affect their property

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.

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Mailed to 17,000 commercial property owners citywide

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.

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Map showing proposed changes

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.

City Council Work Session on Short-Term Rental Issues Covers a Lot of Ground

Public hearing will continue on July 2 at 2 p.m.

On June 24, City Council held a work session to discuss short-term rental regulations included in the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Program (RICAP) 6 package. Commissioners listened to hours of testimony at a June 4public hearing on the proposed zoning code amendments. They continued the hearing to July 2 to hear additional viewpoints and deliberate over potential refinements to the proposed rules.

Short-term rentals, most commonly provided through websites like Airbnb and VRBO, are on the rise in Portland and around the country. Council asked the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to look at revising the zoning code to more accurately reflect community trends and needs.

During the work session, commissioners discussed a number of permitting issues with staff, such as:

  • Scope and frequency of inspections.
  • Whether nonresidents could operate a short-term rental.
  • Whether the host needed to be present while guests were at the house.

Council also contemplated what types of short-term rentals could qualify for a simpler and less costly permit, including:

  • Dedicated vacation rentals (homes where there is no long-term resident).
  • Three-bedroom facilities (as opposed to the current two-room threshold).
  • Multi-dwelling units (e.g., apartments and condominiums).

Taxing mechanisms and impacts on affordable housing were also discussed.

No decisions or changes to the proposed rules were made. Council will reconvene on Tuesday, July 2 at 2 p.m. to listen to more testimony and deliberate before making a final decision.

The remaining items in RICAP 6, including revisions to cell tower regulations, temporary activities and more, were passed unanimously at the June 4 hearing. They become effective on July 11.

“Get on Board!” the SE Quadrant Open House on July 8, 4 – 7 p.m.

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.

Train engine at the ORHC

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:

  • Planning & Sustainability
  • Transportation
  • Portland Development Commission
  • Environmental Services
  • Parks & Recreation

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

  • By car: The ORHC parking lot is at the corner of SE Grand and Caruthers, just north of the curve where one becomes the other (Grand/Caruthers), and next to the red and white building that is currently the Stacey and Witbeck light rail project office, under the MLK viaduct.
  • Additional parking: Portland Opera has offered their parking lot as auxiliary parking for the event and can be found on Caruthers directly across Water Ave from the Stacey and Witbeck office.
  • By bike or on foot: Enter the ORHC from Water Ave where new traffic lights are hung but not yet active, just north of the light rail tracks.
  • By bus: Routes 6, 10, 12, 14, 15, 19, 20, 31, 32, 33, 99 have stops within a short walk to the ORHC.
  • By streetcar: Take the CL line south all the way to the OMSI stop. Exit and walk south around the front of the streetcar, cross the tracks and head back to Water Ave. Walk south on Water Ave and cross at the not-yet-active new traffic light in front of ORHC.