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Planning and Sustainability Commission votes to recommend Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan to City Council

Responding to big picture issues identified in the Portland Plan and community input, a plan for the next 20 years of growth and development in Portland is on its way to adoption

Last night, Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) voted to recommend a new Comprehensive Plan to City Council. The draft 2035 Plan provides a framework to guide the city's growth and development over the next 20 years (through 2035). It includes a land use map, policy document and a list of needed public facilities (infrastructure investments). 

The Plan addresses a broad range of topics, including economic development, housing, environmental protection, transportation, infrastructure investments and community involvement. Accompanying public facility plans identify needed transportation improvements (such as sidewalks, bikeways and new transit lines) as well as improvements to parks and public buildings; and water, stormwater and sewer systems.

Vote by vote, commissioners praise the Plan and the public

As the vote was called, each of the 11 commissioners shared his or her thoughts about the Plan and the process of creating it. 

PSC Chair Andre Baugh thanked the people of Portland. “You’ve probably spent more time on this plan than we have, telling us what you want. We hope we put that in the plan,” he said. Chair Baugh then acknowledged his fellow commissioners. “You shared, you listened, allowing the community to understand that we heard them. This plan will endure for 20 years. It’s more than a land use plan. It’s about values.” 

Public process leads to a better plan

The PSC received more than 4,000 public comments on the plan. They held five public hearings and more than a dozen work sessions over the course of 12 months. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will incorporate a list of amendments requested by the Commission in June and July, and publish a complete Recommended Draft by late August. The City Council will take up the Commission's recommendation this fall, holding its own work sessions and public hearings before adopting the new plan. 

Plan ensures a healthy connected city

Physician and former Multnomah County Health Department Officer Gary Oxman spoke about how the Plan “supports a healthy community where people can really thrive in a very complete sense, enjoying physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.”

“I think it’s a great plan,” said longtime commissioner Don Hanson. “It has so much content, so much depth.” 

Another PSC veteran, land use attorney Michelle Rudd, said, “I deal with reviewing plans every day, so I appreciate all the substance in this plan. It has multiple objectives and broad strategies to get us to success.” 

“When I first became involved in land use planning 35 years ago,” recalled Mike Houck, one of Portland’s most committed environmentalists, “I was told, ‘There’s no place for nature in the city.’ We’ve come to realize that human health and economic success require environmental health. With this new plan, we’re creating a resilient city and ecosystem.” 

Said Vice-chair Howard Shapiro, “Each of you contributed immensely to delivering this very elegant document. It’s a wonderful template for the city. But we need a good epilogue that says why we’re doing this. I think it’s about a sense of the common good … building bridges for the common good.”

The newest member of the Commission, Teresa St Martin, echoed that sentiment, “I’m impressed by the Commissioners, the stakeholders and by the excellent work of staff. So many hearts and minds have contributed to a healthy connected city.” 

Community Involvement Committee report

Prior to voting, Commissioners heard from the Comprehensive Plan Update Community Involvement Committee, the oversight body for public engagement. Representatives spoke about the legacy of their work on the advisory body, which began with the Portland Plan six years ago. They shared community engagement highlights over the course of the entire project, including the policy expert groups (PEGs),  the interactive Map App, the Comp Plan helpline, neighborhood walks, open houses, tabling at events, “office hours,” advertising, mailings, e-newletters, videos, social media channels, and special efforts to reach under-represented and underserved populations, including Portlanders who speak a foreign language. 

The entire meeting was streamed live on the BPS YouTube channel and, along with the meeting minutes and documents, is available for review

Background

Under state law all Oregon cities must have comprehensive plans showing how 20 years of job and housing growth can be accommodated. And these plans must be updated periodically (state Periodic Review). Portland's first Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 1980. Part of the plan was updated in the 1990s, but this is the first complete overhaul of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan. 

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Discussion Draft released for Employment Zoning Project

Public invited to comment to staff, who will consider feedback as they develop the Proposed Draft to increase land for jobs in Portland

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has released the Discussion Draft of the Employment Zoning Project. This early implementation project for the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan will implement new policies to achieve more efficient use of industrial land and mixed employment areas as well as map changes to expand these areas. Proposed changes also address the City’s prosperity and equity goals.

The number of people and jobs in Portland is expected to grow significantly over the next 20 years. The City of Portland is expected to accommodate approximately 141,000 new jobs between 2010 and 2035 — a 26-percent share of regional job growth.

The draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan proposes a range of strategies to meet forecast demand in Industrial and Mixed Employment areas (not Commercial areas), where 31,000 new jobs are projected. Most of these strategies will be implemented gradually. New brownfield redevelopment tools and investments that encourage industrial land intensification will be developed along with strategies to improve watershed health in what are largely the same places.

Read the Employment Land Project Discussion Draft. 

The Discussion Draft is a roughly 80-percent draft of the project proposals. Staff will gather public comments on this draft to inform the development of the Proposed Draft, which will be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission in September for their consideration and vote.

Please submit comments or questions on the Discussion Draft by Friday, August 28, 2015 to:

Email: steve.kountz@portlandoregon.gov or

Write: City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Attn: Steve Kountz, 1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

Planning and Sustainability Commission moves the Comprehensive Plan closer to the finish line

Commissioners vote on dozens of amendments to the Proposed Draft and; final vote — on goals and policies — at July 28 meeting

At their July 14 meeting, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) voted on a number of items for the Comprehensive Plan Update:

The Commission will tie up their work on this phase of the Comprehensive Plan Update on Tuesday, July 28, after hearing from members of the project Community Involvement Committee about public engagement efforts. Once they make their final vote on the Goals and Policies document, as amended, the PSC will be ready to forward their Recommended Draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan to City Council. 

Following their recommendation to City Council, the commissioners will turn their attention to the final phase of the Comprehensive Plan Update: early implementation. During the fall and winter, the PSC will hold public hearings on draft plans for employment land, campus institutions and mixed use zones and other implementation projects.

City Council will be holding several work sessions on the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan in the fall, followed by public hearings later in the year. Check the CPU Calendar for more dates and details.

Comprehensive Plan Update Early Implementation discussion drafts coming this summer and fall

Projects address employment land, institutional campuses and mixed use zones; includes consolidated zoning map

Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan will manage growth and development in the city for the next 20 years. That’s a pretty abstract concept. But down to earth, the plan includes some “early implementation” projects that will update the zoning code — or the rules — that regulate the size, allowable uses, location and scale of new buildings and development.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is focusing particularly on future development in mixed use zones, in and around campus institutions (e.g., hospitals and college campuses) and of employment land, including industrial areas. Project staff will be releasing discussion drafts for each project starting in July and running through September.

Discussion drafts allow planners to share their initial thinking with the community and consider the feedback as they develop their proposed drafts, which are presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission for formal review and public hearings.

Early implementation projects will address the zoning code and map in different ways:

The Employment Zoning Project is implementing new directions for industrial and employment land uses. Project outcomes will include code changes to industrial and general employment zones and zoning map changes for new mixed employment areas. These land use changes address prosperity and equity objectives and 20-year land needs for job growth, while protecting neighborhood livability and watershed health.   

The Campus Institution Zoning Update Project increases the amount of development capacity for Portland’s dispersed college and hospital campuses. This will help these institutions accommodate projected demand for space and facilities over the next 20 years. The project also addresses surrounding neighborhoods and seeks to protect them from potential negative impacts of such development.

The Mixed Use Zones Project is proposing new zones for mixed use areas to address issues of scale, size, mass and location of new development in mixed use areas as well as create incentives for developers to build more affordable housing. In addition to reducing the number of zones for commercial development in these areas, the project will address community concerns about appropriate transitions between commercial main streets and hubs to surrounding single-dwelling neighborhoods.

Early Implementation Project Timeline

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability releases discussion drafts (comments to BPS staff):

  • Employment Land (Zoning Code and Map) – July 2015
  • Campus Institutions (Zoning Code) – July 2015
  • Mixed Use Zones (Zoning Code and Map) – September 2015
  • Residential and Open Space (Zoning Map) – September 2015

PSC holds public hearings and accepts written testimony on proposed drafts and recommendations: September 2015 – March 2016
City Council holds public hearings: May – June 2016
City Council adopts new Comprehensive Plan: Summer 2016
Oregon Department of Land Conservation & Development reviews adopted plan: 2016
Effective date: 2017

Early Implementation (Task 5)

Time

Event/Milestone

Opportunities for providing feedback

If yes, to whom?

Summer 2015

Release of Discussion Drafts for Employment Land, Campus Institutions and Mixed Use Zones

Yes – The public may give feedback to staff, who will consider it when developing the Proposed Draft

Project staff

Summer 2015

Release of Discussion Draft of Residential and Open Space Zoning Map

Yes – The public may give feedback to staff, who will consider it when developing the Proposed Draft

Project staff

Fall 2015

PSC Public Hearings and Recommendations on Institutional Campus

Yes – Testimony may be submitted in writing and given orally at public hearings

Planning and Sustainability Commission

Fall 2015

PSC Public Hearings and Recommendations on Employment Land

Yes – Testimony may be submitted in writing and given orally at public hearings

Planning and Sustainability Commission

Fall 2015

PSC Public Hearings and Recommendations on Mixed Use Zones

Yes – Testimony may be submitted in writing and given orally at public hearings

Planning and Sustainability Commission

Winter 2016

PSC Public Hearings on the Proposed Zoning Maps

Yes – Testimony may be submitted in writing and given orally at public hearings

Planning and Sustainability Commission

All hearings are open to the public. Please check the Planning and Sustainability Commission calendar for schedule updates at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/35452.