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Overview of the Comprehensive Plan Update

Comprehensive Plan Update: An Overview

Portland’s Comprehensive Plan is a long-range plan that helps the City prepare for and manage expected population and employment growth, as well as plan for and coordinate major public investments. Portions of the City’s current Comprehensive Plan have been amended many times since it was adopted in 1980, but it has never been updated as a whole.

Portland is now updating the entire Comprehensive Plan, as required by the State of Oregon’s Periodic Review. This document, the Overview, provides basic information about Portland’s Comprehensive Plan Update.

The Comprehensive Plan provides direction for City decision-making on land use, transportation, parks, sewer and water systems, natural resources and other topics. It is framed in broad terms and guides future implementation, such as parcel-specific zoning or the design of infrastructure projects.

Three Parts of the Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan consists of three parts: goals and policies, a set of maps and a list of capital projects.

  • The goals and policies are broad statements of the community’s long term desires, values and preferred future directions related to the physical development of the city. Goals describe the ideal future that would result if the plan was fully realized, while policies are choices made to carry out the goals.
  • The set of maps depicts the community’s desired future development pattern and how the city will accommodate growth. The maps show land use designations, which set where and at what intensity particular uses (residential, commercial, industrial and open space) are allowed. The maps also show things like the city limits, urban services boundaries and street classifications.
  • The list of capital projects describes significant public facilities needed to support future development depicted on the map and described in the goals and policies.

How the Comprehensive Plan is Used

Together, the three elements of the Comprehensive Plan guide decisions about land use and public facilities. State law requires that a comprehensive plan have sufficient and effective implementing measures. Some of these are familiar, such as the Zoning Map and the City Code. Other implementing measures include urban renewal, interagency agreements and tax abatements.

Update Process

The Comprehensive Plan Update will result in a new Comprehensive Plan for the City of Portland. The update will be informed by and help implement the Portland Plan, a strategic plan for a prosperous, equitable, educated and healthy city. It will also build on the citywide vision developed through VisionPDX.

The updated Comprehensive Plan will be developed through policy expert groups, community discussions and technical analysis, including the facts and data gathered in the Background Reports developed during the Portland Plan process. The plan project will be reviewed by the Planning and Sustainability Commission and adopted by City Council. Later phases of the project will include the development, review and adoption of key implementation measures, such as zoning and code amendments. Future refinement planning will address issues and topics that require additional study or community input.

 Comprehensive Plan Overview Handout: 

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