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Proposal for New Multnomah County Health Department Headquarters in Old Town/Chinatown Subject of Public Hearing on April 28

Portlanders invited to review and testify on proposed height increase that would allow the County to consolidate Health Department administrative services in one building

Map showing Old Town/Chinatown site of proposed Multnomah County Health BuildingThe Multnomah County Health Department serves the county’s 748,000 residents, providing essential public health services, including direct medical and dental services, environmental health services, public health investigation and reporting, and chronic and communicable disease prevention. However, the County’s Health Department administrative facilities in downtown Portland are under-sized and functionally obsolete, and department functions are spread across multiple buildings throughout the county.

So the County is proposing to construct a new headquarters facility for its Health Department on a half-block site in Old Town/Chinatown. The new building would concentrate most of the County’s health-related administrative departments and include some direct-service functions.

Extra height required

The site selected for the proposed facility is the eastern portion of Block U, located on NW 6th Ave, between NW Hoyt and NW Irving streets, within the River District of the Central City (see map). The new building would require an estimated 120,000 to 150,000 square feet and would stand between 105 and 150 feet in height. While the density entitlement (with bonuses) for the site is sufficient for the proposed building, the height allowance (75 feet) is not.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is proposing to raise the height on Block U to a maximum of 150 feet to accommodate this proposal. This would be done by increasing the base height from 75 to 105 feet and making the site eligible for an additional 45 feet of bonus height. This could be earned through the use of floor area ratio (FAR) bonuses in exchange for providing various public benefits. The public is invited to testify on the proposed height increase at a public hearing with the Planning and Sustainability Commission.

Public Hearing on Multnomah County Health Department Building

Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission
Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 3 p.m.*
1900 SW 4th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Room 2500A

* Please check the PSC calendar or call (503) 823-7700 one week prior to hearing for scheduled time of this agenda item

Instructions on submitting testimony:https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/383906.

Download the proposal (including graphics and ESEE analysis update): https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/524773 

Next Steps

A City Council public hearing to consider the recommendations of the Planning and Sustainability Commission on this proposal is anticipated in early June 2015. For more information, visit the project website or contact Nicholas Starin at nicholas.starin@portlandoregon.gov or by phone at (503) 823-5837.

 

Portland City Council Adopts West Quadrant Plan

Long-range plan for the west side of the Central City provides direction for economic activity and growth, access to the Willamette River and an exciting urban waterfront, habitat restoration, more housing diversity and livability

On March 5, 2015, the Portland City Council voted to adopt the West Quadrant Plan, which sets direction for 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. 


“This plan welcomes change, growth and development, but also seeks to preserve character, livability and important historic and environmental resources,” said Mayor Charlie Hales at the start of the second public hearing on the West Quadrant Plan Recommended Draft. “The plan lays out a detailed and balanced roadmap and builds on the successes and key directions from the 1972 Downtown Plan and 1988 Central City Plans.”


Commissioners discuss proposed amendments to the West Quadrant PlanAt the first public hearing on the West Quadrant Plan on February 4, Council received oral and written communications from more than 100 people. At the March 5 hearing, about a dozen Portlanders testified on amendments to the plan, which were introduced by Mayor Hales, Commissioners Fritz and Novick, and City planners. The package included amendments for habitat restoration, Waterfront Park, the Greenway Trail, bridgehead heights, the Pearl District Waterfront and Goose Hollow Residential Overlays.

Waterfront Park, housing bonuses and Pearl District Greenway top issues

The liveliest discussions between commissioners were around updating the master plan for Waterfront Park — with Commissioner Fritz passionately advocating for resources to go to unmet park needs in East Portland — and height bonuses for affordable housing along the Pearl District Waterfront.

The vote to adopt was four to one, with Fritz the single nay vote. “We haven’t gotten to the right endpoint with the Pearl Greenway and Waterfront Park,” she explained.

Commissioner Saltzman, a strong affordable housing advocate, noted, “There’s nothing to be ashamed of about height. I see it as an opportunity for more affordable housing. We’ll be coming back in May with more information about bonuses and affordable housing, and I feel good we’ll get those bonuses in time.”

All the commissioners acknowledged the tremendous amount of work on the part of the project Stakeholder Advisory Committee, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, community members who participated in the process and testified to City Council, and City bureaus who collaborated to craft the plan.


“So much of what the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability does is act as the nexus; bringing together the best ideas of the community and other bureaus’ work,” said BPS Director Susan Anderson. “Staff have had hundreds of conversations with residents, businesses and our bureau partners to develop this plan.”


Thanking his fellow commissioners for their willingness to work through every detail of the plan, Mayor Hales acknowledged “the amazing thoughtful community testimony. Reflecting on my work here and around the country, I don’t think we understand how high caliber the work is here in Portland. … Good work is being done here.”

Other features of the plan

The West Quadrant Plan aims to improve livability, stimulate economic development, and increase connections and access in and around the Central City with the Green Loop, a 10-mile walking and biking open space path. The plan also includes actions to activate the waterfront and restore habitat in the Willamette River for fish, wildlife and people. And it ensures a more resilient Central City in response to global environmental changes and challenges.

Next steps

By adopting the plan, Council approved specific policy directions for the West Quadrant. Now staff will begin writing the code to implement the plan, which will be rolled up into the Central City 2035 Plan, along with the N/NE Quadrant Plan (completed in 2012) and the SE Quadrant Plan (in progress), and submitted to City Council in 2016 as the first amendment to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. 

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.

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.