Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Subscribe to RSS feed

Most Recent

View More

Share your feedback on City Council's amendments to the draft 2035 Comp Plan

Public testimony accepted in writing and in person at two public hearings

Now that City Council has released its final package of amendments to the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan, Portlanders have one more chance to testify on the new Comp Plan goals, policies and land use map.

You can provide testimony online via the Map App, by email, letter or in person.

Online via the Map App: Add comments to maps of the Comprehensive Plan amendment proposals at: (Click the Land Use Layer)

Email: Send to with “Comprehensive Plan Testimony” in the subject line. Be sure to include your name and
mailing address.

Letter: Send a letter with your comments to:

Council Clerk
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 130
Portland, OR 97204

In Person: Attend a public hearing to offer oral testimony directly to the City Council.

April 14, 2016, 6 p.m.
Portland Building Auditorium, 2nd floor
1120 SW 5th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

April 20, 2016, 2 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, OR 97204

Time and date subject to change. Check the Comp Plan calendar to confirm specific dates, times and additional information.

Please include your full name and mailing address in your testimony. Without this information, the City is not able to send you notification of Council hearing dates or the Council’s final decision, and you may not be able to appeal the Council’s final decision.

Once Council adopts the Comprehensive Plan, it must got to the state for acknowledgement, likely early 2018. For more information, visit


Updates to Residential and Open Space zones ready for public review

Hearing on Proposed Draft with the Planning and Sustainability Commission on April 12

If you’ve been following the Comprehensive Plan Update, you know there are a lot of maps involved. Some maps convey background information. Some display a picture of the future. For instance, the Comprehensive Plan Map shows how and where the city will grow and change to accommodate our children, grandchildren and newcomers over the next 20 years. The City’s Zoning Map, on the other hand, has a regulatory role: It tells us how land can be used and what can be built on any given property today.

New maps out for public review

The recently released Residential and Open Space Zoning Map Update proposal is the newest set of maps available for public review. Most proposed Zoning Map changes correspond to changes on Portland’s draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan Map. These include more than 1,700 additional acres of Open Space zoning on publicly owned lands. They also synchronize with changes in residential density that have been proposed to acknowledge areas of natural hazard risk, infrastructure constraints or limitations to urban services.

Zoning Review Areas

In addition, the proposed Zoning Map update addresses areas where the existing Comprehensive Plan Map (drawn in 1980) anticipated greater residential density than the zoning currently allows. Staff evaluated each area (called Zoning Review Areas) against criteria to determine whether it is now timely and appropriate to match the zoning with the previously established Comp Plan designations. For most of the ZRAs, this would mean a change from R5 to R2.5. Criteria included factors such as infrastructure (e.g., sidewalks), proximity to transit and amenities, what’s already built, and whether individual applications for Zoning Map amendments have been approved.

Read the Residential and Open Space Zoning Update Proposed Draft

View proposed Zoning Map changes in the Map App

Testify on the Residential and Open Space Zoning Map Update at a Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) hearing on: 

Tuesday, April 12 at 12:30 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500A

Check the PSC calendar to confirm the date, time and location one week prior to the scheduled hearing.

The PSC also invites testimony on this proposal in writing through April 12, 2016, via:

  • Map App: Testify on specific proposals by location through the Map App
  • Email:
  • U.S. Mail: Planning and Sustainability Commission, c/o City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201, Attn: Res/OS testimony

How does the Proposed Draft of the Zoning Map relate to the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan Map, which is still being reviewed by City Council?

Cities in Oregon are required to base their zoning maps (which indicate which development standards are applied to a property) off of a long-term Comprehensive Plan land use map (or Comp Plan Map). The PSC approved a Recommended Draft of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan Map (with new land use designations) in August 2015, and that draft is currently being reviewed by City Council after several months of public testimony and hearings.

Next Steps

After the April 12 PSC hearing on the Residential and Open Space Zoning Update, Commissioners will make a tentative recommendation on April 26. Then all the proposed zoning update projects (Mixed Use, Institutional, Employment, and Residential and Open Space) will be combined into one zoning map (or "composite"). The PSC is scheduled to consider this composite map in Summer 2016. Please consult the PSC calendar for upcoming date(s) to provide additional testimony on the “Composite Zoning Map.”

Composite Zoning Map

If there are changes to Residential zoning to reflect City Council amendments to Comp Plan designations, these will be incorporated into the Composite Zoning Map. And there will subsequently be another chance for property owners and the general public to provide testimony to the PSC about it.

For more information, visit the project website at or call the Comprehensive Plan Helpline at 503-823-0195.

New regulations suggested for future development in Mixed Use zones; Proposed Draft ready for review

Public invited to testify at the Planning and Sustainability Commission hearing on May 10

New construction in Portland’s mixed use centers and corridors has been on the rise since the economy turned around, and pent up demand for new housing and commercial development is being met by developers and builders.

While new construction is needed to accommodate Portland’s growing population, not all development has been welcomed by Portlanders. Community members near some of Portland’s developing centers and corridors (e.g., main streets like Division and Williams) have expressed concern about the size and scale of this new construction, as well as the transition to surrounding neighborhoods. Planners have heard that:

  • Rules for building should be easier to understand.
  • New mixed use/commercial buildings should fit in better with nearby neighborhoods and contribute to strong neighborhood business districts.
  • The Zoning Code should more effectively encourage new buildings to have public benefits like affordable housing.

In response, the City of Portland is revising the city’s Commercial zones to improve regulations for new mixed use development.

Read the Mixed Use Zones Proposed Draft; then testify to the PSC in writing or in person.


The Mixed Use Zones Proposed Draft reduces the number of zones applied to centers and corridors outside Portland’s Central City to four (instead of the current nine): three new Commercial/Mixed Use zones (CM1, CM2, CM3) that vary by the scale of development allowed, and one medium-scale Commercial Employment (CE) zone with a commercial and employment emphasis that is typically applied outside designated centers.

The new zones update development and design standards in a variety of ways to meet the goals of the City’s new Comprehensive Plan, respond to different development contexts, and address the needs and desires of a variety of community stakeholders. The new standards create incentives for new development that provide public benefits, such as affordable housing, and address other aspects of design.

Portlanders are invited to attend a public hearing, where the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will hear oral testimony on the Proposed Draft.

Planning and Sustainability Commission Public Hearing

Mixed Use Zone Proposed Draft
Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 12:30 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500A

Check the PSC Calendar one week prior to the scheduled hearing to confirm the date, time and location. Learn how to testify to the PSC; read Tips for Effective Testimony. A continued hearing is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday May 17, 2016, at 5 p.m. — location to be announced. 

The PSC also invites testimony on this proposal through May 10, 2016, in writing:

  • Via the Map App: Testify on specific proposals by location through the Map App.
  • By Email: 
    Email your comments with “Mixed Use Zones Testimony” in the Subject line to Be sure to include your full name and mailing address.
  • By U.S. Mail: 
    Attn: Mixed Use Zones testimony
    Planning and Sustainability Commission
    City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
    1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

How were these proposed new rules developed?

The Proposed Draft was developed over the past two years with feedback from the public, including a project advisory committee, as well as technical advisors. Early on, project staff hosted several neighborhood walks to learn what community members think about new development in their neighborhoods, and what could be improved from neighbors’ perspectives. Staff also talked to architects, developers, housing advocates and business people to understand their perspectives and needs.

The project process included multiple committee meetings with public comment opportunity, public workshops, open houses and information sessions, and meetings with other community-based groups. A Discussion Draft was released in fall 2015, and staff received hundreds of comments on the proposed code and map amendments. Open houses, information sessions and advisory committee meetings were advertised and open to the public. Background reports, concept reports, committee meeting notes, and other information was posted on the project website.

Next Steps

Following the public hearings in May, the PSC will hold work sessions in June and July to formulate its recommendation to City Council (remember to check the PSC calendar one week prior to the meeting to confirm). The project will then go before the Portland City Council for adoption.

City Council-proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments available for review

Commissioners to hold public hearings on final amendments to the draft 2035 Comp Plan on April 14 and 20

In July 2015 the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) recommended a new 2035 Comprehensive Plan to City Council. This is the most significant update of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan since the original plan was adopted in 1980.

The PSC made its recommendation after considering a 2014 staff proposal, and more than 4,000 public comments over the course of a year. That staff recommendation was based on an earlier 2013 working draft, produced in collaboration with eight advisory committees in 2012 and 2013.

After receiving the PSC recommendation, City Council held five public hearings ― on November 19, December 3 and December 10, 2015, and January 7 and 13, 2016. Council received more than 2,500 comments via email, letters, verbal testimony and an online Map App.

In February 2016, each Commissioner submitted potential amendments they wanted to discuss.

Amendment Report and Map App

The policy language and map amendments that are under consideration by City Council are now available for public review. They can be viewed in the Amendment Report prepared by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), and in the Map App – Land Use Layer. There also are a number of minor technical amendments, which are identified in the report.

The amendments in this report have not yet been adopted by Council.

Amending the final Comprehensive Plan requires a vote by City Council following public hearings. The Mayor or other Commissioner must make a motion to introduce the amendment — after considering public testimony. Then another Commissioner must second that motion, and the amendment must receive at least three votes (a majority of the five-member City Council).

Public Hearings on City Council-sponsored Amendments to the draft 2035 Comp Plan

April 14, 2016, 6 p.m.
Portland Building Auditorium (2nd floor)
1120 SW 5th Avenue
Portland, OR 97204

April 20, 2016, 2 p.m.
Council Chambers
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, OR 97204

Time and date subject to change. Check our Comp Plan calendar for specific dates and additional information.  

Amendment “Themes”

Council-proposed amendments cover a wide variety of topics. A few notable themes include:

Middle Housing
The PSC-recommended Plan included policy support for more housing choices to accommodate greater diversity of family sizes, incomes and ages, as well as the changing needs of households over time. The Recommended Plan also directs most new housing growth to the Central City and to other mixed use centers and corridors.

Commissioners Novick and Saltzman have introduced amendments that take this a step further, putting greater emphasis on the “middle” scale of housing. This “missing middle” concept, coined by urban planner Daniel Parolek, includes multi-unit or clustered residential buildings that provide relatively smaller, less expensive units (think the older two-story courtyard apartment buildings in Buckman and Irvington, or fourplexes). This type of housing also creates a transition between the scale of four- and five-story mixed use apartment buildings (e.g., Division and Williams) and surrounding single-family areas. Increasing this type of housing will help bridge the gap between apartment living and entering the housing market; for example, it may help families who have outgrown apartments or millennials to buy their first home. See Chapter 5: Housing of the draft 2035 Comp Plan and pages 52-53 of the Scenarios Report

Through these amendments, City Council could direct BPS to consider future zoning changes within a quarter mile of designated centers, where appropriate, and within the close-in neighborhoods around the Central City. However, these potential changes would not occur for several more years, after additional public discussion to refine the idea.

Commissioner Novick wrote about this concept in a recent blog post called “Bringing affordability back to Portland’s neighborhoods”

The Portland Tribune also focused on the topic

Historic preservation
Mayor Charlie Hales introduced amendments to strengthen historic preservation policies. These amendments follow a recent decision to reinvigorate the BPS historic preservation program to better protect Portland’s historic resources. This policy could lead to new incentives and stronger regulations. See Chapter 4: Design and Development

Public Involvement
Commissioner Fritz offered a variety of amendments to clarify and strengthen public involvement policies as well as affirm the ongoing role of Neighborhood Associations. See Chapter 2: Community Involvement

Age-friendly City
Commissioner Fish has asked for additional policy to reinforce Portland’s goals to become a more age-friendly city. These amendments are in the Public Facilities and Transportation chapters of the plan. See Chapters 8 and 9, respectively

Employment land
Several Commissioners have offered amendments to better balance the need for employment land with other goals in the Comp Plan. These include amendments that adjust the amount of land zoned for employment at the Riverside and Broadmoor golf courses, as well as adjustments to the balance of Mixed Use and Employment zoning in Parkrose. See the Land Use Map

Next Steps & Public Hearings

City Council has scheduled public hearings on April 14 and 20 to hear public testimony about these potential amendments. Commissioners are tentatively scheduled to vote on these amendments on April 28. These dates are subject to change. Check the BPS website for specific dates and additional information.

What is the Comprehensive Plan?

Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan guides how and where land is developed as well as where infrastructure projects are built to prepare for and respond to population and job growth. All cities and counties in Oregon are required to have a Comprehensive Plan. Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan addresses future development and describes how and when community members will be involved in land use decisions. It helps coordinate policies and actions across City bureaus as well as with regional and state agencies.

The Comprehensive Plan includes five elements that work together:

  • Vision and Guiding Principles  
  • Goals and Policies
  • Comprehensive Plan Map
  • List of Significant Projects
  • Transportation policies, classifications and street plans

Resources about air quality in Portland offer community members more information about what they’re breathing

Policies in draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan address air quality

Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan addresses air quality in policy Chapter 7: Environment and Watershed Health.

That’s the future. If you want to find out more about what’s happening right now in the air around you and how people are reacting to recent reports of harmful toxins in residential neighborhoods, the links below offer information and resources.

Maps and other documents from public agencies

Other resources