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Powell-Division Transit and Development Project gathers community feedback in the Jade District and Midway; interactive mapping tool allows for virtual commenting
Every day tens of thousands of people ride TriMet bus lines 4 and 9 between Portland and Gresham to connect to Portland’s Central City, Downtown Gresham, Portland Community College’s Southeast Center and many places in between. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is collaborating with Metro, TriMet, the City of Gresham, ODOT and Multnomah County on the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project to provide faster, more reliable high capacity transit to more Portlanders, especially those living, working or going to school in East Portland.
The project team has been conducting extensive outreach, focusing on the needs and interests of East and Southeast Portland and Gresham residents as well as the many immigrant and refugee and limited English proficiency (LEP) populations in the area. In addition to focus groups and youth outreach, the City of Portland and Metro recently partnered with the Jade District and Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement to host community workshops at local businesses at East Garden restaurant on SE Division and 124th and at Fubonn on SE 82nd Ave. Successful and lively events, the Jade District workshop on February 28 included live translation services for Cantonese and Vietnamese speakers provided by community leaders Rosaline Hui and Thao Tran, respectively. A joint Powell-Division and Mixed Use Zones Project open house was also held at Cleveland High School on March 10.
Community outreach has also been supported by Metro’s new interactive map tool, which asked participants to share their preferences for alignments and station area planning. Metro received more than 1,500 comments between February 13 and March 4, 2015, which were shared with the project's Steering Committee in advance of their March 16 meeting. Representatives from the Tongan community, the Russian Speaking Network and the Latino Network all spoke at the meeting, and youth organizers shared insights they gained while canvassing businesses in the City of Gresham. The project team is looking forward to them continuing their work as they move west into the City of Portland. Additional focus groups are slated for April and May, and staff will schedule presentations and discussions with Neighborhood Associations during that time as well.
At the same meeting the Steering Committee, which includes community and government agency representatives, reached consensus on the most promising route options for the new high-capacity transit services slated for the Powell-Division corridor. The new bus rapid transit service will travel from the Central City across the Tilikum Crossing, up Powell Blvd to either 50th, 52nd or 82nd Avenues, where it will head north to Division St. It will then travel on Division to Gresham, where it will connect to Mount Hood Community College. The Steering Committee expressed strong support for 82nd Ave as the north-south crossing, but some cautioned that additional engineering, design and traffic studies need to be completed to better understand the opportunities and challenges. Further refinements to the design will take place as the team moves into project development and completes additional engineering and traffic studies.
Terminal 6 Environmental Overlay Zone Boundary and Code Amendment — briefing
An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/webdrawer.dll/webdrawer/search/rec?sm_class=uri_7223&count&rows=50.
Materials from the recent SE Quadrant Plan virtual open house that ended on March 20th
Following the February 19th open house at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, all materials from the event were posted online along with a comment form to provide feedback on staff proposals. This “virtual” open house is now closed, and the comment form removed, but you can still access the materials below. If you have comments or questions about the SE Quadrant Plan or planning process in general, please contact email Derek Dauphin or call 503-823-5869.
Now you can share the experience of the February 19 open house at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center.
Perhaps you’re a business owner in the Central Eastside Industrial District. Maybe you pass through the district on your way to and from downtown. Or just like to visit to enjoy the food, drink and creative energy of the area. Any way you experience it, there’s no denying this part of Portland is bustling with activity: new development and businesses; more bikes, cars and trucks; and increased attention and interest from near and far.
The SE Quadrant planning effort is harnessing all of that energy into a new long-range plan for the area. The plan will help ensure that this unique part of the city evolves the way Portlanders want it to.
So far we’ve heard that people want to preserve the character of the area with its historic warehouses and protect its unique role as an industrial sanctuary and business incubator. But they also recognize that as the area grows and changes, it creates pressure on the streets and transportation system to accommodate more trucks, cars and even bikes. And then there’s its relationship to the river, which provides opportunities for greater access to this beloved natural resource, recreation, and even arts and culture.
As you look at the proposals that follow, keep in mind that most of the SE Quadrant is an industrial sanctuary and has long served as an incubator for small businesses. A key goal of the new plan is to maintain this sanctuary while allowing for new industrial businesses and increased employment density.
Land for Jobs
The Central Eastside is experiencing a period of extensive growth and renewal. But without new regulatory tools, the Central City will not be able to keep up with the demand for employment land. Staff land use proposals tweak the existing zoning to allow for more dense employment in the Central Eastside, including the new station areas along the MAX Orange Line due to open in September 2015.
Staff are also preparing a new industrial disclosure statement that would inform people and businesses moving into the area about the characteristics (noise, fumes, trucks) common to the district. The disclosure would make it clear that the City of Portland would not enforce complaints against lawful activity within the district.
Proposals also call for recognizing the historic character of much of the Central Eastside, particularly along historic main streets such as Morrison Street.
Potential conflicts between different kinds of businesses and uses — particularly residential, retail and industrial areas — are addressed through urban design. These proposals seek to clarify how areas with different zoning can co-exist.
Transportation, parking, freight
Another area of concern is the already limited parking in the district. With more jobs and residents coming to the district, congestion on the streets will affect the ability of businesses to move freight. These proposals address concerns about traffic and congestion by applying a wide set of tools.
Other proposals would help reduce conflicts between trucks and other types of traveling to and through the district. By making some routes that are less important to freight more attractive for bicycles and pedestrians, trucks and bikes will be less likely to get in each other’s way.
A concept for a bicycle and pedestrian loop is proposed for the Central City. This “Green Loop” would be a key north-south route in the Central Eastside, connecting to the South Waterfront and downtown via the new Tilikum Crossing bridge. The eastside leg would include an I-84 pedestrian/bicycle bridge. What factors should be considered in picking a route, considering some initial data showing how loading and intersections could impact design?
Staff responded to concerns about the lack of open space and green infrastructure such as trees. Due to the industrial nature of the district, areas for employees and residents to gather and relax will likely be near the most intense employment or residential development. The exception would be at the waterfront where there may be new park-like areas and enhanced habitat.
The Willamette River and Riverfront
Staff presented a strategy for the Willamette River and riverfront which includes restoring and enhancing habitat, enlivening key locations with new activities and uses, and improving recreation options such as swimming and boating. This strategy is closely linked with all of the other concepts in the district; open space linkages, economic development and transportation alternatives are important components of the strategy along the riverfront.
Input from the open house, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and other Central Eastside stakeholders will help shape the Public Review Draft of the SE Quadrant Plan to be released in late April. In late May/June, the Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold public hearings on the Proposed Draft, followed by City Council hearings on the plan in summer/early fall of 2015.
Long-range plan for the west side of the Central City provides direction for economic activity and growth, access to the Willamette River and an exciting urban waterfront, habitat restoration, more housing diversity and livability
On March 5, 2015, the Portland City Council voted to adopt the West Quadrant Plan, which sets direction for 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.
“This plan welcomes change, growth and development, but also seeks to preserve character, livability and important historic and environmental resources,” said Mayor Charlie Hales at the start of the second public hearing on the West Quadrant Plan Recommended Draft. “The plan lays out a detailed and balanced roadmap and builds on the successes and key directions from the 1972 Downtown Plan and 1988 Central City Plans.”
At the first public hearing on the West Quadrant Plan on February 4, Council received oral and written communications from more than 100 people. At the March 5 hearing, about a dozen Portlanders testified on amendments to the plan, which were introduced by Mayor Hales, Commissioners Fritz and Novick, and City planners. The package included amendments for habitat restoration, Waterfront Park, the Greenway Trail, bridgehead heights, the Pearl District Waterfront and Goose Hollow Residential Overlays.
Waterfront Park, housing bonuses and Pearl District Greenway top issues
The liveliest discussions between commissioners were around updating the master plan for Waterfront Park — with Commissioner Fritz passionately advocating for resources to go to unmet park needs in East Portland — and height bonuses for affordable housing along the Pearl District Waterfront.
The vote to adopt was four to one, with Fritz the single nay vote. “We haven’t gotten to the right endpoint with the Pearl Greenway and Waterfront Park,” she explained.
Commissioner Saltzman, a strong affordable housing advocate, noted, “There’s nothing to be ashamed of about height. I see it as an opportunity for more affordable housing. We’ll be coming back in May with more information about bonuses and affordable housing, and I feel good we’ll get those bonuses in time.”
All the commissioners acknowledged the tremendous amount of work on the part of the project Stakeholder Advisory Committee, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, community members who participated in the process and testified to City Council, and City bureaus who collaborated to craft the plan.
“So much of what the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability does is act as the nexus; bringing together the best ideas of the community and other bureaus’ work,” said BPS Director Susan Anderson. “Staff have had hundreds of conversations with residents, businesses and our bureau partners to develop this plan.”
Thanking his fellow commissioners for their willingness to work through every detail of the plan, Mayor Hales acknowledged “the amazing thoughtful community testimony. Reflecting on my work here and around the country, I don’t think we understand how high caliber the work is here in Portland. … Good work is being done here.”
Other features of the plan
The West Quadrant Plan aims to improve livability, stimulate economic development, and increase connections and access in and around the Central City with the Green Loop, a 10-mile walking and biking open space path. The plan also includes actions to activate the waterfront and restore habitat in the Willamette River for fish, wildlife and people. And it ensures a more resilient Central City in response to global environmental changes and challenges.
By adopting the plan, Council approved specific policy directions for the West Quadrant. Now staff will begin writing the code to implement the plan, which will be rolled up into the Central City 2035 Plan, along with the N/NE Quadrant Plan (completed in 2012) and the SE Quadrant Plan (in progress), and submitted to City Council in early 2016 as the first amendment to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan.
Transportation Systems Plan | Economic Opportunities Analysis | Mixed Use Zone info sessions | Testimony summary | Dear Al