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City Commissioners, Bureau Staff Propose Amendments to the Recommended Draft West Quadrant Plan

Public invited to testify on the amendments at March 5, 2015, City Council Hearing

Amendments to the Recommended Draft of the West Quadrant Plan that were proposed by Mayor Hales, Commissioners Fritz and Novick, and city planners will be the focus of a second hearing on March 5, 2015, at 2 p.m., time certain.

The public is welcome to testify on any amendments included in the list. Please reference the Amendment # (far left column) in testimony.

Public Hearing on Proposed Amendments, West Quadrant Plan

Testimony Welcome
March 5, 2015, 2 p.m.
Portland City Council
Council Chambers (City Hall, 2nd Floor)
1221 SW 4th Ave

How to Give Testimony

You can share your feedback on the plan with City Council in several ways. Note that written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing and must include your name and address.

  1. Testify in person at the hearing. 
  2. Submit written testimony
    Attn: Council Clerk
    1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 140
    Portland, OR 97204 
  3. FAX or Email comments to 503-823-4571 or Karla.Moore-Love@portlandoregon.gov.

Download Council Documents

West Quadrant Plan City Council Hearing on Proposed Amendments Moved to March 5, 2015

Hearing moved to allow additional time for consideration of testimony

The City Council Hearing originally scheduled for February 25 has been moved to Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 2 p.m., time certain.  A great deal of testimony and amendment proposals were received and more time is needed to carefully consider the feedback.

A list of the proposed amendments will be posted to the City Council’s website on Friday, February 27, 2015 and testimony specific to those potential amendments will be taken at the hearing.

The West Quadrant Plan is a long-range plan for Central City districts west of the Willamette River, including Downtown, the West End, Goose Hollow, the Pearl, Old Town/Chinatown, South Waterfront and South Downtown/University. For more information, please visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/cc2035/westquad.

City Council Holds Public Hearing on Recommended Draft of the West Quadrant Plan

Commissioners hear testimony from nearly 60 Portlanders; support affordable housing goals and actions

The West Quadrant Plan was the focus of a public hearing at City Council on Feb. 4, 2015. Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff presented the big ideas in the recommended plan, including creating a healthy and vibrant 21st-century urban waterfront, developing a signature 10-mile walking and biking parkway (or Green Loop), encouraging a mix of uses in the quadrant and constructing a model low-carbon Central City.  

Close to 60 community members testified on the Recommended Draft for more than four hours, with much of the testimony focusing on height and density limits in the West End and Goose Hollow.

But affordable housing took center stage when Commissioner Dan Saltzman co-sponsored the resolution to adopt the plan, along with Mayor Charlie Hales. Commissioner Nick Fish also spoke passionately about the need to keep Portland from becoming like San Francisco and other high-cost cities through regulations and programs that would support affordable and workforce housing on the west side of the Central City.

The West Quadrant Plan calls for a mix of housing types and establishes an affordable housing target for 2035. It also addresses the environmental health of the Willamette River and proposes actions to protect historic resources.

In regards to building height, the plan leaves existing limits in much of the quadrant alone. It does, however, propose transfer of development rights for historic buildings in Old Town/Chinatown as well as bonuses that could create incentives for affordable housing, building setbacks for plazas and public space, and other civic amenities.

At one point during the hearing, Commissioner Steve Novick asked staff about the relationship between building height and carbon emissions. BPS Director Susan Anderson pointed out that higher buildings can help create more compact, transit-accessible and amenity-rich communities, which help us reach our climate action goals.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is conducting a study to determine the costs and benefits of bonuses to both the City and developers as well as the financial viability of different types of bonuses. BPS is also working on an updated Scenic Resources Inventory in the city center, which will identify view sheds and corridors worth preserving. Until this work is done, however, no final decisions on height limits or bonuses will be made.

Next Steps

The West Quadrant Plan will be back on the Council agenda in a few weeks. Please check Council agendas to confirm the following:

  • Friday, February 20 (5 p.m.)
    City Council proposed amendments will be posted on the Council website.
     
  • Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 2 p.m., time certain 
    City Council Hearing

After Council votes to adopt the plan by resolution, planners will then begin to consolidate all of the quadrant plans (West, N/NE and SE quadrants) and draft new Zoning Code provisions for a complete Central City 2035 (CC2035) plan. This combined plan and ordinance will then be the subject of hearings before the Planning and Sustainablity Commission and City Council in 2016. Once adopted, CC2035 will become an amendment to the newly adopted Comprehensive Plan.

The West Quadrant Plan is a long-range plan for Central City districts west of the Willamette River, including Downtown, the West End, Goose Hollow, the Pearl, Old Town/Chinatown, South Waterfront and South Downtown/University. For more information, please visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/cc2035/westquad.

Recommended Draft West Quadrant Plan Goes Before City Council

Planning and Sustainability Commission unanimously recommends plan for future of the area to City Council; public hearing scheduled for Feb. 4, 2015

The future of the Central City’s west side is one step closer to being realized. A new long-range plan to make the area a model of sustainable living, increase business development and employment opportunities, and create greater housing choices for more Portlanders is headed to City Council.

Cover of the Recommended Draft West Quadrant PlanOn Dec. 9, 2014, after holding a public hearing and two work sessions, the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission voted unanimously to recommend that City Council adopt a revised West Quadrant Plan. During briefings and work sessions from September through early December, commissioners worked with Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff to revise several sections of the draft, including policies, actions and/or targets related to affordable housing, environmental protection, livability and the Willamette River.

On Feb. 4, 2015, the City Council will hold a public hearing on a non-binding resolution to adopt the West Quadrant Plan. The content of the adopted plan will be integrated with other elements into a comprehensive Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035), which will be the subject of public hearings before both the Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council in 2016.

The public is invited to testify on the Recommended Draft Plan at the City Council hearing.

Public Hearing, West Quadrant Plan – Testimony Welcome
February 4, 2014, 2 p.m.
Portland City Council
Council Chambers (City Hall, 2nd Floor)
1221 SW 4th Avenue

How to Give Testimony
You can share your feedback on the plan with City Council in several ways:

  1. Testify in person at the hearing (see details above)
     
  2. Submit written testimony
    Attn: Council Clerk
    1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 140
    Portland, OR 97204
     
  3. FAX or Email comments to 503-823-4571 or Karla.Moore-Love@portlandoregon.gov. Written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing and must include your name and address.

Download Council Documents

We have heard that some people are having challenges accessing the document at the above link. If the link is not working on your computer, try downloading it here.

The West Quadrant Plan is a long-range plan for Central City districts west of the Willamette River, including Downtown, the West End, Goose Hollow, Pearl, Old Town/Chinatown, South Waterfront and South Downtown/University. This plan will be integrated with the N/NE Quadrant and SE Quadrant plans to become  a comprehensive long-range plan for Portland’s city center, which will be adopted as an amendment to the city’s new Comprehensive Plan.

Planning and Sustainability Commission Recommends West Quadrant Plan to City Council

Affordable housing, Morrison bridgehead, building heights and river restoration discussed

Portland’s Central City offers something for everyone: a wide range of jobs, diverse housing types for different income levels, educational institutions, entertainment and dining options, and retail and recreational experiences. And the area is poised to become a true 21st century global model for low-carbon, sustainable urban development.

The Central City’s west side — or West Quadrant — has the region’s highest concentration of jobs; more than 87,000 in 2010 and 30,000 more expected by 2035. Its seven distinctive districts — from Goose Hollow to Chinatown — are becoming increasingly mixed use, providing residents more choices in new housing options and adding to the district’s vitality. So the goal of the 20-year West Quadrant Plan is to continue the area’s successful evolution as the region’s business, cultural and recreational hub while accommodating a large share of population and job growth within a compact and sustainable urban center. The plan emphasizes continuing economic activity and employment opportunities, increasing access to the river, creating a more exciting urban waterfront, and expanding housing diversity and livability.

Work sessions lead to a PSC recommendation

The West Quadrant Plan reached a big milestone recently when the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) recommended it to the City Council for adoption after a second work session on the Proposed Draft. Staff presented commissioners with more information regarding affordable housing in the Central City, bridgehead heights along the riverfront, building height, and habitat enhancement and restoration along the riverfront. Work session materials, including the presentation, can be found in the Documents Section of the project website.

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff offered a working definition for “affordable housing.” Then they explained priorities for housing affordability in the West Quadrant, including supporting greater racial, ethnic and economic diversity as well as housing options; meeting the needs of the lowest income populations; and closing the minority homeownership gap. Staff also provided specific housing targets.

Aerial view of the Morrison bridgeheadThe project team shared potential impacts from increased bridgehead heights along the waterfront, including shadows and wind in Tom McCall Park as well as increased building heights in other West Quadrant districts.

Commissioner Mike Houck raised the issue of increasing habitat restoration in the Willamette River. Staff explained that existing habitat is constrained along the Central Reach because of the seawall on the west side and a railroad and I-5 on the east, so there are few additional restoration sites available. But they agreed that the West Quad Plan should call for at least two to three shallow water restoration areas to conserve and restore fish and wildlife populations.

The PSC requested that BPS explore the potential effects of wind on pedestrians caused by building height along the waterfront as well as housing development bonuses tied to additional building height for both commercial and residential uses.

After reviewing the proposed changes to the plan and discussing the above topics in depth, the commissioners voted unanimously to recommend the West Quadrant Plan to City Council for adoption.

Portland City Council will consider the proposed West Quadrant Plan in January 2015 and adopt the plan by resolution. After that, planners will begin to consolidate all of the quadrant plans and draft new zoning code provisions into a complete Central City 2035 plan. This consolidated plan and ordinance will then be the subject of hearings before the PSC and City Council. Once adopted, CC2035 will become part of the Comprehensive Plan.