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REMINDER: Public hearings on new plan for the Central City start on July 26

Portlanders invited to testify on the Central City 2035 Plan to the Planning and Sustainability Commission in person or in writing

Next Tuesday, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will hold the first of two public hearings on the Proposed Draft Central City 2035 Plan. Residents, property owners and other stakeholders will be able to share their input on this long range plan for growth and development along the Willamette River and in the city center for the next 20 years.

Planning and Sustainability Commission Public Hearing
Central City 2035 Plan
Tuesday, July 26, 5 p.m. and August 9, 4 p.m.
Portland Building
1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room C

Note: The 5 p.m. time on July 26 is a slight change from the original listing. Also, this location is different from the usual location of PSC meetings.

Learn how to testify to the PSC; read Tips for Effective Testimony.

The PSC also invites testimony on this proposal through August 9, 2016, in writing:

  • Via the Map App: Testify about specific properties or transportation proposals through the Map App.
  • By Email: Email your comments with “CC2035 Testimony” in the subject line to psc@portlandoregon.gov. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address.
  • By U.S. Mail:
    Planning and Sustainability Commission
    City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
    1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

Note: All testimony to the PSC is considered public record, and testifiers’ name, address and any other information included in the testimony will be posted on the website.

Next steps
Following the PSC hearings, the Commission will hold a series of work sessions in the fall to work through specific topics in the CC2035 Plan. Commissioners may propose amendments before forwarding  a Recommended Draft on to City Council.

Have questions?
We’re here to help! Call the Central City Helpline at 503-823-4286 or send an email to cc2035@portlandoregon.gov.

Learn more by visiting the Central City 2035 Plan website and Map App.

If you own property in the Central City and zoning changes have been proposed for it, you should have received a Notice of Proposed Land Use Regulation from the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. If you have questions about how the proposals may affect your property, please contact Central City staff. The PSC will not be able to answer your questions about this notice.

What’s changed from the Discussion Draft Central City 2035 Plan?

The Discussion Draft Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035) was the culmination of over five years of work and public involvement. Following the release of the CC2035 Discussion Draft in February, hundreds of people attended open houses and drop-in hours on both sides of the river. Project staff attended more than 40 meetings with neighborhood associations, property owners and others throughout the Central City. Additionally, community members submitted some 200 written comments and letters.

The project team considered these comments and input from other agencies and organizations to create the Proposed Draft CC2035 Plan. This blog post identifies some of the most significant changes staff have made by topic area.

Download a new handout to learn more details about each item.

Read more about the Central City 2035 Plan.

New in the Proposed Draft

LIVABILITY & THE PUBLIC REALM

  • Standards that will increase the amount of ground floor windows on buildings and will result in higher quality landscaping in front of buildings.

BONUSES & TRANSFERS

  • An incentive to create industrial space in the Central Eastside.

ENVIRONMENT

  • Building glazing standards to reduce bird strikes.
  • Smaller portion of rooftops required to be covered by ecoroofs to allow more space for other uses.
  • Administrative rule for public trail system impacts.
  • Standards to reduce the impacts of exterior lighting on wildlife.
  • Updated estimate of existing tree canopy coverage based on 2014 LiDAR data.
  • Updated tree canopy projections.

HEIGHT & VIEWS

  • Reduced building heights in parts of Goose Hollow and the Central Eastside to protect view corridors.
  • Reduced building heights in historic districts.
  • Reduced building heights on sites adjacent to parks and other open spaces.

WILLAMETTE RIVER

  • Updated Central Reach River Overlay Zone boundary.
  • Updated the definition for river-related uses to allow marine passenger terminal development.
  • Expanded provision for retail in open spaces to the Central Eastside.

HISTORIC RESOURCES & SEISMIC UPGRADES

  • Revised standard allows owners of historic resources to transfer FAR if they sign an agreement to seismically upgrade their building.

TRANSPORTATION & PARKING

  • Updated policies, targets, studies and projects for the Transportation System Plan.
  • Designates the Central City as a Multimodal Mixed-Use Area.
  • Removed previously proposed Transportation and Parking Demand Management code.
  • Updated maximum parking ratio table.
  • New uses now require a Central City Parking Review.

PROVIDE FEEDBACK AND STAY INFORMED

The Proposed Draft marks the beginning of the formal public legislative process. There are many more opportunities to be heard and have an impact. Learn more about providing feedback and staying informed.

Portland’s Central City gets a new long range land use plan to guide growth and development; enhance environment

Public invited to read and testify on the Proposed Draft of the Central City 2035 Plan; Planning and Sustainability Commission to hold public hearings

CC2035 Proposed DraftWhat do Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Pearl, PSU, Waterfront Park, Lloyd Center, South Waterfront and the Transit Mall have in common?

They’re all part of the Central City’s vibrant economic, cultural and civic life. And places and institutions like these are just some of the attractions that draw people here to Portland to live, work and play.

With the publication of the Proposed Draft of the Central City 2035 (CC2035) Plan, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is sharing the latest version of the area’s land use plan for the future. This new plan will guide growth and development along the Willamette River and in the city center for the next 20 years.

Read the Central City 2035 Proposed Draft


Why is this important?

Portland’s Central City is the center of the metropolitan region, with Oregon’s densest concentration of people and jobs. Home to 32,000 people and 130,000 jobs, the Central City is vital to Portland and the region. From the West End to the Central Eastside, 10 different neighborhoods offer residents, employees and visitors a variety of cultural, educational, employment and recreational opportunities in fewer than five square miles.

But as Portland grows, becomes more diverse and experiences the effects of climate change, the city’s center will face new and increasing challenges.

The CC2035 Plan aims to meet these challenges, while improving and building upon past plans and traditions. The Plan lays the groundwork for a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient city center, where people can collaborate, innovate and create a better future together.

21st-century strategies for the city's urban core

A Livable City Center

More and more people are calling Central City their home. With the transformation of the Pearl District into a thriving, walkable neighborhood, we know the area can be more than just a place to work, go to school or recreate. It’s also a really great place to live. Other Central City neighborhoods are poised to become similarly vibrant (think South Waterfront and Lloyd), with housing close to jobs, shops, restaurants, transit, parks and other amenities.

Powerful Tools for Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation

Today, roughly 30 percent of the housing in the city center is affordable. The Plan prioritizes affordable housing and historic preservation by refocusing the height and floor area ratio (FAR) bonus and transfer system primarily around these two initiatives. With the passage of inclusionary housing legislation in the 2016 legislature, Portland is poised to respond to the current shortage of affordable housing with comprehensive inclusionary housing programs. Through the Plan, staff will propose a powerful combination of regulations and incentives to provide enough housing for Portlanders now and into the future.

Employment Center for the Region

The Plan supports strategies and programs to facilitate economic growth in the Central City. One of the big ideas is to support the growth of an Innovation Quadrant in the southern end of the Central City, where industry in the Central Eastside Industrial District and academic researchers at OHSU, PSU and others can collaborate and thrive. New transportation infrastructure will support residents, businesses and freight operations. And a major update to industrial zoning in the Central Eastside will allow a new generation of industrial uses and small manufacturers to grow new businesses there. In addition, a bonus incentive for the Central Eastside is being proposed to increase industrial space on the ground floor of new buildings.   

A Vibrant Willamette River

New land use tools will help protect, provide access to and activate the Willamette River and its banks. The Plan applies an environmental overlay to improve habitat over time, expands the river setback, and allows some small retail structures in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The Plan also includes a bonus to allow more development FAR in exchange for riverfront open space.

Green Building Tools

With new requirements for eco-roofs, bird-safe building design and LEED registration, the Plan will create a greener, more environmentally healthy Central City. Eco-roofs can reduce heat island effects and provide onsite stormwater management. Bird-friendly building design helps avoid bird collisions with buildings in areas with extensive tree canopy and adjacent to the river. Both efforts to protect natural resources and habitat qualify as elements for LEED Gold certification.

A “Green Loop” for All

A proposed six-mile open space path a few blocks up from the river through the Central City will offer casual cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities a chance to stroll, roll, run or ride bikes through parks and neighborhood business districts. The “Green Loop” is part of a larger effort to expand the use of public rights-of-way into community spaces and improve infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. It will connect many of the city’s civic and cultural institutions and link Downtown’s iconic parks to the rest of Portland.

Modified Building Heights to Protect Scenic Views and Historic Character

The Plan establishes a building height pattern in the Central City that protects a few select public views of treasured sites like Mt Hood. It also establishes height limits and new regulations within historic districts to ensure compatibility with existing historic character. The Plan retains the basic “step down” to the Willamette River, parks and adjacent neighborhoods, but allows greater height in the Downtown retail core, along the transit mall and around bridgeheads to increase development potential and activate the waterfront. See the CC2035 Map App for site-specific information about height and FAR. 

Better Transportation Choices

Finally, the plan includes many new transportation projects that will enhance access into the Central City and make it easier to walk, bike and use transit. Future projects will address safety at intersections, develop a world-class bicycle network and improve connectivity for pedestrians. The Plan will provide transit improvements that add capacity and enhance reliability, as well as targeted improvements that address safety on freeways and freight operations in industrial areas. 

Proposed Draft incorporates months of public input and involvement

Through the Central City Concept Plan, subsequent quadrant plans and other supporting projects, a set of proposals was carefully stitched together into a Discussion Draft. Following the release of the CC2035 Discussion Draft in February, hundreds of people attended open houses and drop-in hours on both sides of the river over the course of two weeks. Project staff also attended more than 40 meetings with neighborhood associations, property owners and others throughout the Central City. Additionally, community members submitted some 200 written comments and letters by the March 31, 2016, deadline.

The project team considered these comments and input from other agencies and organizations to create the Proposed Draft CC2035 Plan.

Get involved and have your say

The release of the CC2035 Proposed Draft marks the beginning of the formal public legislative process. The public is invited to read the plan and discuss it with family, friends and neighbors ... then testify to the Planning and Sustainability Commission at public hearings in July and August. Testimony may also be submitted in writing by August 9, 2016.

Learn more about public hearings and how to testify in person and in writing.

Central City 2035 Proposed Draft to be released on June 20 for public review

Planning and Sustainability Commission to hold public hearings in July and August

Originally scheduled to be released on May 10, the Central City 2035 (CC2035) Proposed Draft will now be released on June 20, 2016. Project staff will use the extra time to consider feedback on the Discussion Draft in order to shape the Proposed Draft.

Salmon Springs in spring

On June 28, staff will present the Proposed Draft to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) at a briefing. Commissioners will then hear public testimony at two hearings: one on July 26 and the other on August 9. 

Portlanders are invited to submit testimony on the Proposed Draft to the PSC in person or in writing, prior to or at the hearings.

Planning and Sustainability Commission Public Hearings
July 26, 2016
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Portland Building, Room C

(Another PSC hearing is scheduled from 4 – 6 p.m. on this date. Please check the PSC calendar one week prior to the hearing to confirm time and other details.)

August 9, 2016
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Portland Building, Room C

Check the PSC calendar to confirm time and location prior to each hearing. Then read instructions and tips for testifying.

Next Steps
Following the hearings, the PSC will hold work sessions on September 27, November 8 and November 22 to formulate its recommendation on the CC2035 Plan. The project will then go before the Portland City Council for consideration and adoption. The CC2035 Plan will be the first amendment to Portland’s Comprehensive Plan, and the specific recommendations contained within the plan are expected to become effective in early 2018.

Portlanders get familiar with the draft Central City 2035 Plan at open houses and drop-in hours

Community members learn about bike improvements, the Green Loop, new height limits, parking, the river and more

Portlanders got a chance to talk to city planners about the future of the city’s urban core during open houses and drop-in sessions in early March, coinciding with the release of the Central City 2035 Discussion Draft.

More than 70 people attended open houses on both sides of the river, and even more had the opportunity to learn about the plan during drop-in hours over the course of two weeks. Project staff also attended more than 40 meetings with neighborhood associations, property owners, and others throughout the Central City. They shared information and answered questions about the CC2035 Plan, gathering input on the Discussion Draft. Public feedback will inform the development of a Proposed Draft, which will be the subject of a public hearing before the Planning and Sustainability Commission on June 14, 2016.

What we’ve heard so far…

At drop-ins, meetings and open houses, staff heard about a wide variety of topics. Some of these are summarized below.

  • Questions about how maximum building heights are determined and how the City is protecting important public views. Height comments also supported both taller and shorter buildings in different parts of the Central City.
  • Interest in how the plan proposes to improve parking, particularly in the Central Eastside.
  • Strong interest in the transportation elements of the plan, particularly in improving specific streets for bicycles and pedestrians.
  • Excitement about the “big ideas” such as the Green Loop concept, a small version of which was on display at the events.
  • Support for goals and policies that would result in more trees, particularly on the east side of the Willamette River.
  • Interest in learning more about sustainable building elements of the plan, such as requiring ecoroofs and more flexibility with the green building standards.

Tell us what you think! Join the conversation.

Experience the open house with our Online Open House. Review and comment on the CC2035 Discussion Draft before March 31, 2016 by: