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Comprehensive Plan inching its way toward City Council

Planning and Sustainability Commission scheduled to vote to recommend the new plan on July 14

On June 23, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will hold its final work session to discuss the draft recommended plan. This draft is based on public testimony from six public hearings and more than 4,000 comments submitted via email and letters, and through the Map App. The Commission is tentatively scheduled to recommend the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan to City Council for consideration on July 14.

A final Recommended Draft (including goals, policies and land use map) will be published and sent to City Council in mid-August. Council will then hold a series of work sessions around topics such as employment land, housing, centers and corridors, mixed use zones and the Transportation System Plan. Starting in November, Portlanders will have a chance to testify in person at several public hearings on the Recommended Draft. Council will be accepting written comments from the time the final Recommended Draft is published in mid-August until the public hearings close.

Early Implementation: Zoning Code Updates

In the meantime, the early implementation projects (zoning code updates) for the Comprehensive Plan Update are moving forward. Discussion drafts for employment land, campus institutions, mixed use zones and other zoning updates will be released starting in July and extending into September. Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff will accept comments on these drafts and use them when developing the project proposed drafts for the PSC.

Portlanders are invited to chat with city planners about how these new rules will affect their neighborhood during Neighborhood Office Hours throughout the city. Times and locations are posted on the Comprehensive Plan Update calendar.


The 2035 Comprehensive Plan
(Land use map, policies, project list)

  • PSC vote to recommend the plan to City Council: July 2015
  • Transmittal of PSC’s Recommended Draft to City Council: Mid-August 2015
  • City Council holds work sessions: September – October 2015
  • City Council holds public hearings: November – December 2015
  • Council adopts the plan (goals, policies and land use map): January 2016
  • Oregon Department of Land Conservation & Development reviews adopted plan: 2016
  • Effective date: 2017

Early Implementation Projects
(Zoning code and zoning map updates)

  • Bureau of Planning and Sustainability releases Discussion Drafts (comments to BPS staff):

Employment zoning – July 2015

Campus institutions – July 2015

Mixed use zones – August 2015

Other zoning – 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

Sign up to receive updates

While the draft Comprehensive Plan keeps moving forward, there is still a ways to go before the new plan goes into effect in the summer of 2017. So stay tuned and look for opportunities to engage in the process. Sign up to receive updates on the Comprehensive Plan Update.

Draft Recommended Comprehensive Plan Available for Planning and Sustainability Commission Review

PSC will discuss the draft at its two June meetings before forwarding a recommendation to City Council this summer

The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) is in the final stretch of preparing their Comprehensive Plan recommendation to City Council. The Draft Recommended Plan will be discussed at two meetings in June (June 9 and June 23 work sessions). This revised draft, prepared by BPS staff, incorporates changes based on public input and direction from the PSC over the past six months. Between July 21, 2014 and May 26, 2015, the PSC held six public hearings, received over 4,000 comments from the public, and had nine work sessions to shape their recommendation. 

The PSC will be reviewing this new draft to ensure it is consistent with their earlier work session recommendations and direction to staff. Commissioners may also discuss further amendments to this draft before taking a final vote, which is expected in July. A final Recommended Plan will be transmitted to City Council in mid-summer, at which time the public may provide input and comments to Council about the Recommended Plan. City Council will then schedule public hearings on the Recommended Plan during the fall and will invite the public to comment at hearings. 

After months of public hearings and work sessions, the Planning and Sustainability Commission will vote on the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan

Commissioners tentatively scheduled to vote on July 14; final Recommended Draft sent to City Council in August

There’s a light at the end of the Comprehensive Plan tunnel! Since last fall, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) has held six public hearings and nine work sessions for the Proposed Draft of the Comprehensive Plan. In June, commissioners will wrap up loose ends and hold a public hearing on the revised Growth Scenarios Report — sort of an impact analysis of the plan.

On July 14, the PSC is tentatively scheduled to vote to recommend the draft Comprehensive Plan to City Council. Their Recommended Draft will be transmitted to Council in August, signaling the opening of another public comment period.

Planning and Sustainability Commission next steps

The following PSC meetings will be held at 1900 SW 4th Ave Suite 2500A. Consult the PSC Calendar one week prior to each meeting to confirm times and details.

Tuesday, June 9, 12:30­ – 4:30 p.m.: Work session
Tuesday, June 23, 5 – 8 p.m.: Growth Scenarios Report hearing; work session
Tuesday, July 14, 5 – 9 p.m.: Work session; recommendation (vote, tentative)

Once the PSC votes, staff will publish their Recommended Draft (including the goals, policies and land use map) and forward to City Council sometime in August. Portlanders will then be invited to testify to City Council in writing or in person about the Comprehensive Plan Recommended Draft. Public hearings with Council will begin in the fall. Stay tuned for more information and exact dates moving forward.

Neighborhood office hours offer a chance to chat one-on-one with a planner

Portland’s Comprehensive Plan will establish new rules that affect the size, shape, height and location of shops, apartments, houses and places of employment.

You can learn more about how proposed new rules may affect you and your neighborhood. Throughout the summer, the City’s District Liaisons and other planners will be available to answer questions about the Comprehensive Plan Update; Mixed Use Zones, Campus Institutions and Employment Land projects; as well as other code development projects focusing on residential infill, accessory structures and more.

Planners will be holding neighborhood office hours around the city. Look for a meeting time near you and come with your questions and ideas.  

N Portland
Saturday, July 11, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Peninsula Park Community Center
700 N Rosa Parks Way

E Portland
Saturday, June 13, 12 – 3 p.m.
Midland Library
805 SE 122nd Ave

Thursday, July 9, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
East Portland Community Center
740 SE 106th Ave

SE Portland
Thursday, July 9, 4 – 7 p.m.
Mt Scott Community Center
5530 SE 72nd Ave

SW Portland
Tuesday, June 16, 4 – 7 p.m.
SWNI at Multnomah Arts Center
7688 SW Capitol Hwy

Wednesday, July 22, 3 – 6 p.m.
Capitol Hill Library
10723 SW Capitol Hwy

Visit the Comprehensive Plans Update calendar to confirm details and find more times and locations for Neighborhood Office Hours in your district as they become available.

New Zoning Concepts for Mixed Use Areas Available for Review

Draft zoning concepts focus on new development standards, floor area ratios, design overlays, affordable housing and commercial space bonuses, and enhanced notification requirements

Over the next 20 years, Portland is expected to grow by 123,000 additional households and 142,000 new jobs. Most of this growth will occur in neighborhood hubs and main streets like Hollywood, St Johns, SE Division and NW 23rd, which are home to a mix apartment buildings, ground-floor retail and single family homes. These mixed use centers and corridors will serve as the anchors of convenient, walkable neighborhoods. 

But new development is not always welcomed by the community. In response, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability launched the Mixed Use Zones Project to address Portlanders’ concerns about the height, size, scale and design of new development in mixed use zones.

The Mixed Use Zones Project (MUZ) proposes key changes to the City’s commercial and employment zones to make mixed use areas more attractive and responsive to residents and businesses, while still accommodating expected growth. The largest overhaul of Portland’s zoning code in 15 years, this project proposal includes:

  • A simpler array of zones. Reduces the number of commercial or employment zones from nine to four to accommodate small scale (2-3 story), medium scale (4-5 story) and large scale (5+ story) development. 
  • New standards to address building bulk. Controls building mass through new floor area ratios (FAR) that include all uses, including residential development (FAR is the proportion of building area to lot size). Current commercial zones do not have floor area limits for residential development.
  • Compatibility and transitions. Includes new development and design standards to reduce the apparent mass of new buildings, provide better transitions to adjacent buildings, and improve the relationship between buildings and streets. These include required step-downs and setbacks from abutting residential properties as well as requirements for larger building walls to be broken up into smaller segments.
  • Incentives for public benefits. Adds performance bonuses to allow additional FAR, and in some cases height, in exchange for public benefits, such as: 
    1. Affordable housing
    2. Green features (e.g., green roofs and landscaped areas)
    3. Publicly accessible plazas
    4. Historic preservation
    5. Affordable commercial space
  • Ground floor uses on main streets. Encourages ground floor activity, including ground floor windows and active commercial uses in key places.
  • Better design. Expands the Design overlay zone to several new areas within the major centers identified in the Comprehensive Plan. These centers are expected to grow substantially over time, and additional design tools will help create high quality, pedestrian-supportive places.  
  • Public notice. Proposes enhanced neighborhood notification or contact requirements for development in mixed use zones. This would include neighborhood and business associations at a minimum.
  • Parking. The project is moving forward in tandem with an update to on-street parking management tools that could be applied in high growth centers and corridors. For more information click here.

Review the Draft Concept Report

A Mixed Use Zones Draft Code Concept Report has been shared with the project stakeholder advisory committee and is available for public review. The draft comprises several documents, including the entire report, an appendix and a shorter summary for easier reading.

Read the Mixed Use Zones Code Concepts Report here.

Next steps

The MUZ update is an early implementation project for the new Comprehensive Plan. The zoning regulations will be voted on by both the Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council.

The concept draft is available now and will be followed by a discussion draft this summer. Public comments on both the concept draft and discussion draft will be accepted until late summer or early fall. A proposed draft will be released in the fall, and the Planning and Sustainability Commission will subsequently hold a public hearing. Eventually, the MUZ project will join other code update projects making their way to City Council for consideration and adoption with other tasks to implement the Comprehensive Plan.

For more information, visit the Mxied Use Zones Project website at