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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

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

Work Session 1: January 27, 2015 (3 p.m.)

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 (12:30 p.m.)

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 (3 p.m.)

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 (12:30 p.m.)

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

March 13, 2015, 5 p.m. Testimony closes

Work Session 5: March 24, 2015 (p.m.)

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

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.

Preliminary Zoning Concepts for Mixed Use Zones Released

Draft concepts shared at two community workshops; document available online for review

The Mixed Use Zones Project team has released a draft Preliminary Zoning Concept, which it shared and discussed with the public at two recent workshops. The draft concepts include four new zones for discussion, with information about potential development standards. A new Centers Overlay Zone is also being considered.

With more public feedback, the zoning concepts will be refined and eventually incorporated into the Zoning Code to implement the new Comprehensive Plan.
Mixed Use Zones Project: Preliminary Zoning Concept

Read the Mixed Use Zones Project: Preliminary Zoning Concept - DRAFT

At the workshops on November 5 (downtown) and November 6 (at Jefferson High School), community members participated in small group discussions and shared their thoughts on height, transitions and massing of new development; street-level design issues; and incentives and bonuses for community benefits. 

The Mixed Use Zones Project team is incorporating this and other feedback, which will be reflected in more detailed zoning parameters at a second concept workshop planned for early 2015. After that, proposed zoning codes will be fully developed; a proposed draft is planned for public review in spring 2015. The proposed zoning code will be considered by the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission at a public hearing in mid-2015, followed by a recommendation to City Council.

The Mixed Use Zones Project is an early implementation project for the Comprehensive Plan Update. For more information, go to