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Learn about the Comprehensive Plan Update. Find out more through news items, meeting announcements and summaries.

Comprehensive Plan Work Sessions with Planning and Sustainability Commission Begin

Commission hears from Community Involvement Committee and several City bureaus; decides on agendas for future work sessions

At its November 18 meeting, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held the first of several work sessions devoted to the Comprehensive Plan Update.

First, commissioners heard from the Comprehensive Plan Community Involvement Committee (CIC). Committee members presented a report summarizing public involvement efforts for the past six months. CIC members then shared their personal observations about how the City could engage even more community members in the development of Portland’s long-range plan for the future.

Then the PSC heard comments about the Proposed Draft from partner bureaus, including the Housing, Transportation, Emergency Management, Portland Development Commission, Development Services, Environmental Services and the City Attorney's Office.

Lastly, the PSC considered a schedule for upcoming work sessions, starting in January 2015. Members discussed agendas for four future work sessions (tentative schedule below), which will focus on the bigger, more complex issues the plan addresses, including:

  • Citywide decision-making
  • Centers and Corridors and Mixed Use Zones
  • Employment land supply and West Hayden Island
  • Transportation Systems Plan
  • Capacity in the David Douglas School system
  • Community involvement policies
  • Housing needs, affordability and compatibility
  • Residential down-designations

Staff assumes that other issues will arise during the course of these work sessions, so a fifth work session is being held open to discuss those and additional map or policy changes.

The PSC invites written comments on the Proposed Draft until March 13, 2015. Community members are encouraged to review the work session schedule below and send their comments about a particular topic to the commission at least eight days before that issue will be discussed to allow commissioners to review relevant testimony before each meeting. All work sessions will be held at 1900 SW 4th Ave., Suite 2500A.

Tentative PSC Comprehensive Plan Work Session Schedule (as of November 24, 2014)

Please refer to the PSC Calendar one week before each scheduled meeting for a complete agenda and times.

Work Session 1: January 27, 2015 (5 hours)

Topics: Centers and Corridors; Non-conforming Uses and Split-Zoning; Implementation; Consent List #1

  • Using the Plan in Decision-making (1 hour)
    • Balancing decisions
    • Showing compliance with the Guiding Principles
    • Numerical goals/targets, relationship to Portland Plan Measures of Success
    • Glossary terms
  • Centers and Corridors (2 hours)
    • Centers and corridors strategy; link to Portland Plan and the Scenarios Report
    • Urban Design Framework map
    • Mixed Use map approach
    • Relationship to zoning and Mixed Use Zone project
    • Site-specific center and corridor map questions
    • Investment strategy
    • Commercial displacement
  • Non-conforming Uses and Split-zoning (1 hour)
    • Defining the issue
    • Trade-offs of maintaining non-conforming uses and split-zoned developments
  • Consent List 1 (1 hour)
    • Staff recommendations the PSC could endorse without further discussion. Draft list released on January 13.

Work Session 2: February 10, 2015 (4 hours)

Topics: Economic Goals; West Hayden Island (WHI); Schedule/Timeline Check-In

  • Economic Elements and Goal 9 (2 hours, 30 minutes)
    • Summary of Periodic Review requirements for the 2035 Comprehensive Plan
    • Purpose and requirements of Goal 9 and consequences of not meeting Goal 9 requirements
    • EOA Briefing - Proposed approach to meet Goal 9 requirements: forecasts; job mix; role of manufacturing in the economy
    • Implications of proposed Goal 9 approach: land needs, wages and demographics
    • Industrial Land and Watershed Health (ILWH) Strategy overview
    • Economic policy refinement
    • Other employment-related map questions (non-WHI)
    • Related brownfield and transportation recommendations
  • West Hayden Island (1 hour)
    • Map approach
    • Policy approach
    • Relationship to past PSC recommendations
  • Schedule Check-in (30 minutes)
    • Discuss work session progress and schedule

Transportation System Plan (TSP) Hearing and Work Session 3: February 24, 2015 (5 hours)

Topics: Transportation - Hearing on TSP Project List; David Douglas School District; Community Involvement; Consent List 2; Discussion of Commissioners' Items of Interest for March 24

  • Public Hearing on Transportation Element and TSP Project List (2 hours)
  • David Douglas School District (1 hour)
    • Discuss options for responding to school capacity concerns
    • Implementation of proposed policy
  • Community Involvement Policies (1 hour)
    • Promoting inclusive planning
    • Role of neighborhood associations
    • Status of old neighborhood and area plans
    • Open data
  • Consent List 2 (30 minutes)
    • Staff recommendations the PSC could endorse without further discussion. Draft list released on February 10.
  • Selection of Other Items of Interest (30 minutes)
    • PSC members discuss and agree upon issues to discuss on March 24, 2015.

Work Session 4: March 10, 2015 (4 hours)

Topics: Transportation System Plan; Housing; Residential Down-designations

  • Transportation System Plan (2 hours)
    • Mode hierarchy policy
    • Multimodal system completeness approach
    • Financial plan
    • Project ranking and fiscally constrained list
    • East Portland equity considerations
    • Discussion of specific projects
  • Housing (1 hour)
    • Documenting housing needs and proposed approach to meeting housing needs
    • Opportunity mapping policy
    • Affordability, gentrification and displacement
    • Residential compatibility and density
    • Specific issues: large houses, skinny lots and demolitions
  • Residential Down-designations (1 hour)
    • Eastmoreland and Reed neighborhoods
    • Eliot neighborhood
    • Hazard-related down-designations

Work Session 5: March 24, 2015 (2 hours, 30 minutes)

Topics: Discussion of other individual maps or policy changes of interest to commissioners. Items to be nominated before February 24.

  • Candidate list: broadband, air quality, sound and light, food security, institutional zoning project relationship (subject to change)

Hearing on revised Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) Report: April 14, 2015

Hearing on revised Growth Scenario Report: April 28, 2015

Work Session/Recommendation: May 12, 2015

Charting the Path to New Zoning

How the Comprehensive Plan goals, policies and map relate to new zoning code

The proposed draft of the Comprehensive Plan is currently under review by the public and the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC). The draft Comprehensive Plan Map includes proposed land use changes for a number of properties across the city, and many people are eager to talk about the zoning details for those places — particularly in mixed-use zones and around campus institutions.

The Comprehensive Plan establishes goals and policies and maps to guide subsequent land use activities. The Comp Plan Map assigns land use designations to every property — but not zones. That’s a separate step in the process.

The map identifies what the land can generally be used for (e.g., residential, employment, open space). Should it be light industrial or manufacturing? Multi-family or single-family? Specific rules about how buildings can look or how tall they can be are developed once these general land uses are defined and mapped. The zoning code addresses the details; height, setbacks, floor-area ratio (FAR) and other design characteristics for each property.

So how can we consider new zoning code while we’re still deciding on general land uses?

Land use designations and zoning are under different parts of the State of Oregon’s Periodic Review requirement.

  • Task 4 of Periodic Review (goals, policies and land use map) is currently before the PSC. It lays out the guidelines for long- and short-term land use decisions. If you’re interested in high-level direction about issues such as sustainability, equity, public involvement and general development direction in different areas of the city, this is the process you want to focus on.
  • Task 5 (zoning code and zoning map amendments) will come before the PSC in 2015. Task 5 projects (e.g., Mixed-Use Zones Project, Institutional Zoning Project) will be the first to apply the new Comprehensive Plan to on-the-ground rules. If you’re interested in nitty-gritty issues like FAR for mixed-use development in neighborhood hubs, this is where you can focus your attention.

To complete the Comprehensive Plan process in the time allotted by the state, staff began working on goals and policies (Task 4) last year and implementation projects (Task 5) this year, while Task 4 was (and still is) underway.

This dual work stream means that some information is available on the general approach to zoning code provisions (Task 5) even as the PSC is still deliberating the policy intent and map designations as part of Task 4. Written comments on the goals, policies and land use map will be taken until March 13, 2015.

The overlapping sequence will help ensure important zoning details are available before City Council votes on the recommended policies and map in June/July 2015, the state-imposed deadline for adoption of Task 4.

Zoning code and zoning map changes to implement the new Comprehensive Plan will be subject to additional public hearings before final action by the PSC and City Council. The state-imposed deadline for completing the related Task 5 is December 2015.

What’s next?

Task 4 Timeline

Date/Time Event Address Notes
October 28
5-9 p.m.
Public Hearing PCC SE Campus, Community Hall: 2305 SE 82nd Ave  
November 4
4-8 p.m.
Public Hearing 1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500 Testimony about the initial candidate list of projects for the Transportation System Plan is encouraged.
November 18
5-8 p.m.
PSC Work Session (written comments only) 1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A This meeting is open to the public. The PSC will use this work session to identify the topics for subsequent work sessions in 2015. Check project calendar to confirm time.
January 13
12:30-3:30 p.m.

PSC Work Session (written comments only)

Topics: Introduction to Consent Lists, discussion if decision-making with the new plan

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A This meeting is open to the public. Check project calendar to confirm time.
January 27
6-9 p.m.

PSC Work Session (written comments only)

Topics: Centers & Corridors, Non-conforming Uses & Split-Zoning and Community Involvement & Implementation (4 hours)

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A This meeting is open to the public. Check project calendar to confirm time.
February 10
12:30-3:30 p.m.

PSC Work Session (written comments only)

Topics: Economic Goals, West Hayden Island and Consent List #1 (4 hours)

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A This meeting is open to the public. Check project calendar to confirm time.
February 24
6-9 p.m.

Public Hearing about the financially constrained Transportation System Plan (TSP) and its relationship to the Comprehensive Plan

Topics: Transportation, David Douglas and Consent List #2

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A Check project calendar for details and to confirm time.
March 10
12:30-3:30 p.m.

PSC Work Session on the Transportation System Plan (TSP, written comments only)

Topics: TSP, Housing and Residential Down-designations (4 hours)

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A This meeting is open to the public. Check project calendar to confirm time.
March 13
5 p.m.
Deadline for written comments    
March 24
6-9 p.m.

PSC Work Session (no testimony)

Topics: Discussion of other individual map or policy changes of interest to commissioners (Items to be nominated before Feb. 24, 2 hours 30 minutes.).

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A This meeting is open to the public. Check project calendar to confirm details.
March 30 Tentative release date for Draft Recommended Plan reflecting PSC directions    
April 14
12:30-3:30 p.m.
Public Hearing on Revised Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) 1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A This is a state-required report defining employment-related land needs and describing how the plan accommodates projected job growth through 2035.
April 28
6-9 p.m.
Public Hearing on Growth Scenario Report Addendum 1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A The 2013 Growth Scenarios Report described different potential growth patterns, and explored how those choices achieve the Portland Plan Measures of Success. This 2015 addendum will evaluate the draft plan against those same metrics. Essentially, this hearing is about determining if the plan will meet the goals we set, such as housing affordability, carbon emissions reduction, transportation mode shifts and tree canopy.   
May 12 Tentative date for final PSC Work Session and recommendation (vote) 1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A This meeting is open to the public. Notification will be sent to property owners whose property is proposed to change, and notification will be sent to everyone who submitted legal testimony. Check project calendar for details closer to the date.
June 2015 or later City Council public hearings and decision (vote)   Check project calendar for details closer to the date.

Task 5 (Implementation) Timelines

Both the Mixed Use and Institutional Campus zoning projects are currently working with advisory committees to digest background research and define the concepts that will ultimately be brought to the PSC. Both of these projects will also inform a Zoning Map Amendment Package that will advance in 2015.

Time Frame Milestone/Event Notes
November 5
6-9 p.m.
Mixed Use Zones Workshop for preliminary concept proposal
1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500
This will identify/name the palette of proposed new zones, provide some basic parameters like anticipated FAR and height limits, and list some other key parameters.
November 6
6-9 p.m.
Mixed Use Zones Workshop for preliminary concept proposal
Jefferson High School cafeteria: 5210 N Kerby Ave
This will identify/name the palette of proposed new zones, provide some basic parameters like anticipated FAR and height limits, and list some other key parameters. 
Winter 2015 Release of Mixed Use Concept Report and Institutional Campus Concept report  
Spring 2015 Release of proposed zoning code for Mixed Use and Institutional Campus zones  
April/May 2015 PSC public hearings on Institutional Campus code Check project calendar for details closer to the date.
May 2015 Release of draft zoning maps, including Institutional Campus and Mixed Use Zones Notification will be sent to property owners whose property is proposed to change, and notification will be sent to everyone who submitted legal testimony. Check project calendar for details closer to the date.
June/July 2015 PSC public hearings on Mixed Use code Check project calendar for details closer to the date.
July and/or September 2015 PSC public hearings on the proposed Zoning Maps Check project calendar for details closer to the date.
Fall 2015 City Council public hearing on the proposed Zoning Maps Check project calendar for details closer to the date.

Get to Know the Comprehensive Plan in Six Languages

Now in Spanish, Chinese, Somali, Russian and Vietnamese… a short overview of Portland’s long-range plan for a healthy, connected city

Portland is growing and becoming more diverse, which makes our community more vibrant and culturally rich. We welcome Portlanders from other places and want them to be part of the conversation about how the city will grow over the next 25 years.

So we’ve condensed the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan down to 300 words. (If you’ve seen the documents, then you’ll know that’s quite a feat!) We’ve gotten rid of the wonky talk and tried to describe the plan in a way that makes it easier for more people — including English speakers — to understand. And then we translated the text so that our Spanish, Chinese, Somali, Russian and Vietnamese communities can learn more about the plan in their native language.

In just a couple of minutes, you can now learn about how the draft plan for Portland’s future will create more bustling neighborhoods and jobs; reduce pollution; improve natural areas; maintain and improve streets, sidewalks and parks; and help us prepare for natural hazards.

So whether you were born here or on another continent, we invite you to learn more about this plan for Portland’s future growth and development. Then join the conversation about the draft plan.

Comp Plan overview: English version

Get to Know the 2035 Comprehensive Plan (English version)


Comp Plan overview: Spanish translation

Conozca el Plan Integral de 2035 (Spanish translation)


Comp Plan overview: Chinese translation

了解 2035 年综合规划 (Chinese translation)


Waxka Ogow Qorshaha Buuxa ee 2035-ka (Somali translation)Comp Plan overview: Somali translation

Comp Plan overview: Russian translation

Познакомьтесь со всесторонним планом городского развития до 2035 г. (Russian translation)


Comp Plan overview: Vietnamese translation

Tìm Hiểu Kế Hoạch Toàn Diện 2035 (Vietnamese translation)

Meet the Makers: Urban Designers Turn Movie Moguls

Get to know the creative force behind the Centers and Corridors video series

“Centers and Corridors are awesome!” That’s the mantra of Urban Designer Lora Lillard. Now a self-taught video director, Lora leads the team that is creating the video series about Portland’s Centers and Corridors growth management strategy as part of the Comprehensive Plan Update.

But how did a group of urban designers – admittedly a creative bunch – go from drawing maps, rendering streetscapes and building volumes, and discussing urban form … to making movies?

To answer that question, we have to go back to the Portland Plan, which focuses on creating Healthy Connected Neighborhoods. But what does one of those actually look like?

Meet the makers

“At the time,” reflects Urban Design Studio Lead Mark Raggett, “the economy was slowly coming out of a long slump, and places like Division and Belmont were just starting to pop. We wanted to show people the benefits of higher density places, where more people could be closer to the things that we like to do and that create a strong sense of community. We wanted to use our visualization skills in a new way to show people how exciting these places can be.”

Urban designers Courtney Ferris, Marc Asnis, Lora Lillard, Graphic Designer Leslie Wilson and Urban Design Studio Lead Mark Raggett collaborated on the Centers & Corridors videos.

People on the Street

Turns out Portland actually has a lot of good examples, which Lillard & crew began filming. At night and on the weekends, riding in their cars, on public transit or on bikes, pulling ivy in Forest Park, taking their kids to the playground, and staffing the Mixed Use Zones “walkabouts” all over the city.

“The community walks were the perfect opportunity to film people on the street,” says Lillard. “We wanted to get Portlanders in their own neighborhoods talking about what they liked about it and what they wanted to see changed.” People like Yu Te of Hollywood in Episode 1, or PCC Cascade student Eddie and Portsmouth’s Karen Ward in Episode 3. “A lot of people put their stamp on this video,” Lillard notes.

“Now we shoot video wherever we go,” says her fellow urban designer Marc Asnis. “But when we first started out, we really didn’t know what we were doing. At one of the first neighborhood walks, the camera fell off the tripod. The last video will be the out takes,” he jokes.

Graphic designer and newly minted video editor Leslie Wilson concurs. “I had to coach these guys: Rest your iPhone on a stable surface like a car or a newsstand! Otherwise the footage is so wobbly I can’t use it.”

Mastering a New Craft

The urban designers weren’t the only ones who had to come up to speed fast with new technology and communications tools. When Wilson’s supervisor asked her if she was up for learning Premiere Pro (movie editing software), “I said I’d try, and three days later I had an assignment,” she recalls.  

Many concept maps, story boards, scripts, computer-generated renderings and interviews later, the team has hit its stride. They all agree they’ve gotten better at the craft of video production – and more efficient.

“I think we’re getting a handle on our approach, and we have a huge library of footage,” says Lillard. “Video gives us a better tool to reach a broader swath of people more quickly. We wanted to find new ways to communicate dense and complex topics in a matter of minutes. So we’ve added it to our toolbox.”

15 Minutes of Fame

So for those who can’t or don’t want to take the time to read the entire 300+-page Comprehensive Plan Proposed Draft, pore over the land use map or ponder a list of infrastructure or transportation projects, “At least maybe they’ll watch a three-minute video about why Centers and Corridors are such great places,” says Lillard.

And the next time you see an intrepid planner on the street shooting video with their phone, “Come up and talk to us!” the team encourages. It just might be a shot at your 15 minutes of fame.