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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

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers from planning staff to commonly received questions about the Central City 2035 Plan.

If my property is proposed for a change, can I continue using it the way I do today?

Generally yes, as long as it’s a use that is allowed by the zone you are in today or predates the current zone (e.g., Victorian era housing in an industrial zone). If your property is re-zoned, and the new zone doesn’t allow the use, you may be allowed to continue as “non-conforming” (i.e., grandfathered) use. If you have questions, please call 503-823-4286.

What is the schedule? When will the regulations change?

The Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold hearings on July 26 and August 9. They will consider oral and written testimony, hold work sessions and make their recommendation to City Council in the fall. We expect City Council to hold public hearings and make their decision in spring 2017. New regulations won’t go into effect until the Comprehensive Plan is acknowledged by the state, which is expected to be early 2018.

Can I get my zoning, height or FAR changed to what I want?

If you want a different zone, height or FAR than what is proposed, you may testify in person or in writing to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) on the Proposed Draft or to City Council. The PSC and Council will look at the Central City as a whole when making decisions that affect the entire community. 

What other proposals could affect my property?

The Central City 2035 Plan proposes amendments to Zoning Code Chapter 33.510 among other sections of the zoning code. These amendments would change the shape and height of new buildings or additions that could be built on your property, or may otherwise affect the value of your property. Proposals include:

  • Changes to the shape and height of new development. A comprehensive overhaul of the floor area ratio (FAR) bonus and transfer system, including new regulations that prioritize affordable housing, as well as preservation and seismic upgrade of historic resources. Increased bonus height options are proposed along the south Transit Mall extension and at the bridgeheads on both sides of the river. Decreased heights are proposed within public view corridors and in historic districts.
  • More flexible employment zones. The Employment Opportunity Subarea (EOS) in the Central Eastside is being expanded to accommodate high tech, light manufacturing, software development and creative industries. Additional allowances for retail and office uses are proposed for in new and existing buildings. Allowing small retail shops in certain parks such as Governor Tom McCall Waterfront and Holladay parks is proposed.
  • Other proposed changes. A comprehensive overhaul and simplification of parking regulations are proposed. Some new buildings will be required to meet green building standards. Requirements for increased ground floor windows, sidewalks, plazas and green spaces will help create a vibrant pedestrian environment. Expanding the prohibition of new drive-through facilities across the Central City will ensure pedestrian safety and reduce carbon emissions.

Do I have to move? Is the City taking my property?

No. If you are a property owner, your ownership does not change. If you are a business, your business can remain in operation. The zoning of your property may change, but the new zoning for most affected properties is likely to remain very similar to what it is now. Also, developers cannot take property or force anybody to sell to them.

Is this project part of the Comprehensive Plan Update?

The Central City 2035 Plan will be the first update to the Comprehensive Plan. This plan updates the current Central City Plan from 1988 and includes a wide variety of proposals in six volumes. The CC2035 Plan also proposes updates to the Zoning Code for the Central City, and a work plan for public and private entities.

How has the Central City 2035 Plan been developed?

The CC2035 Plan is the culmination of over five years of work that engaged more than 8,000 Portlanders. You can learn more about the public involvement process on the Central City 2035 website and in Volume 6.

Why are you updating this Plan now?

The current Central City Plan is almost 30 years old. It was created at a time when the major concern was how to keep people from moving out of the city center. That visionary plan resulted in the streetcar, the Pearl District and South Waterfront neighborhoods. Now we face different challenges and opportunities. This is an ideal time to build on the visionary work of past Portlanders and create a more vibrant and livable Central City for the next generation to enjoy.

Who decided what changes to make?

The changes in the Central City 2035 Plan are proposed by planning staff based on the past five years of detailed work with stakeholders and community members in the northeast, west and southeast parts of the city and around specific topics. We’ve received a lot of input and guidance and have spent the last year translating that guidance into the plan and updates to the Zoning Code. We’re having more public involvement opportunities and public hearings to ensure that the new Plan reflects accurate research and analysis, best planning practices and community desires. 

I have questions/concerns about transportation.

The CC2035 Plan includes transportation strategies and portions of the Transportation System Plan, but the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability only handles the land use issues. For all other transportation and parking related questions, please call the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff, call 503-823-1700.

Will my property taxes go up or down?

Taxes change when the land use changes, improvements are made or property is sold. You can read more about assessment and taxation at the Multnomah County Assessment and Taxation website. You can also contact the Multnomah County Taxation and Assessment Customer Service line at 503-988-3326 (leave a message and they will call you back).

How do I testify?

Visit the How to Provide Feedback and Stay Informed page to learn more. 

If I provide testimony, how will my comments be considered?

All testimony will be forwarded to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) to inform their recommendations about all elements of the CC2035 Plan. Commissioners will listen and digest public comments, discuss issues amongst themselves and ask planning staff for more information on topics where there is conflicting testimony and multiple perspectives. This robust dialogue will conclude with a series of votes by the PSC prior to recommending the plan to City Council. 

What do I do if I have more questions?

Visit the How to Provide Feedback and Stay Informed page to learn more.