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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


Updated Growth Scenarios Report shows draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan helps Portland make significant progress toward a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient city

Through extensive transportation and land use modeling, the report shows how the new land use plan will increase Portlanders’ access to complete neighborhoods, transit and parks while reducing per capita vehicle miles traveled.

In the next 20 years, Portland will be home to approximately 123,000 more households and 142,000 new jobs.

Portland’s existing zoning and Proposed Comprehensive Plan provide more than enough room to accommodate future residential growth. This means we can choose the best places to focus or prioritize new housing. The recently released Growth Scenarios Report evaluates several patterns — or scenarios — against a set of criteria for new residential development.

The Scenarios Report evaluates both the expected distribution of future growth throughout Portland and the benefits from infrastructure investments identified in the Citywide Systems Plan (CSP) and Transportation System Plan (TSP).

The Growth Scenarios Report shows that Portland’s long-range plan for growth, coupled with transportation and infrastructure investments, makes significant progress toward the Portland Plan’s aspirational goals for 2035.

Read the revised Growth Scenarios Report.

By focusing growth in vibrant centers and along bustling corridors, the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan helps us reduce carbon emissions, gets people closer to jobs, provides more affordable housing, and creates demand for stores and restaurants. It also makes better use of our existing infrastructure like streets, transit systems, parks and pipes.

Impact Analysis

As a supporting document for Portland’s Comprehensive Plan Update, the Growth Scenarios Report serves as an impact analysis of future development in Portland through the year 2035. Many of the criteria for the analysis come from the Portland Plan Measures of Success adopted in 2012.

Through extensive transportation and land use modeling, the report tells us how the Proposed Comprehensive Plan will perform against measurements for transit and active transportation, complete neighborhoods, access to parks and family-wage jobs, and carbon emissions.

Specifically, the report shows that the Proposed Comprehensive Plan:

  • Increases households in complete neighborhoods by 10 percent (to 73 percent) by 2035.
  • Reduces transportation-related carbon emissions by 60 percent from 2010 to 2035.
  • Cuts per capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 27 percent by 2035. It also reduces the share of commuter trips in single-occupant vehicles as well as carbon emissions.
  • Increases the share of commute trips made by transit, bicycling, walking and carpools from 39 percent in 2010 to 65 percent by 2035.
  • Increases the amount of households with frequent transit access by 15 percent.
  • Increases by 16 percent Portlanders’ access to low-stress bicycle networks, particularly in East and North Portland.
  • Increases the number of households with convenient access to family-wage jobs.

Portland can accommodate future household growth and do it in ways that help meet our goals. But providing enough affordable housing, especially for the lowest income households, will continue to be a significant challenge.

The City needs to pursue a coordinated growth and investment strategy to meet its objectives. The growth strategy supports development in high-performing centers and corridors that already have relatively complete infrastructure systems. The investment strategy fills gaps in historically underserved areas to reduce disparities and increase equity.

Against a high bar, the Growth Scenarios Report demonstrates that the land use and investment decisions in the Proposed Comprehensive Plan gets Portland 75 to 80 percent toward our 2035 goals.

Public hearing at Planning and Sustainability Commission

The public is invited to submit testimony to the Planning and Sustainability Commission on the Growth Scenarios Report in writing or in person at a public hearing on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Please check the PSC calendar one week prior to the hearing to confirm details.