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BPS E-News: More commercial activity and safer streets in store for Cully

On Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted the Cully Commercial Corridor and Local Street Plan Recommended Draft. The new plan addresses community needs for more neighborhood-serving commercial development and to improve the safety and accessibility of Cully’s neighborhood streets.
The new plan includes select zoning changes along Cully Boulevard and Killingsworth Street area to allow more commercial, residential and mixed-use development, as well as employment uses in the area. It also includes a local street plan for the Cully neighborhood to increase street connectivity, develop new designs and options for improving local streets, while prioritizing routes to important Cully community destinations.
At the City Council hearing, Mayor Sam Adams acknowledged that the neighborhood — one of the most diverse in the city — faces many challenges (poverty, zoning inconsistent with desired uses, and unpaved streets).

"The Cully plan sets the framework for realizing Cully's aspirations as a complete neighborhood that reflects its unique character and diversity," he said. "We all have more work to do to ensure that the Cully community of today — particularly communities of color — reaps benefits tomorrow and is not involuntarily displaced. Education, local economic development, stable housing and improved transportation are all critical to Cully community success."

Implementing the Portland Plan

The plan includes a section on equity that will help with understanding gentrification and displacement and how it relates to the Cully neighborhood. It suggests follow-up work to monitor the situation over time and develop strategies with community organizations to minimize the negative impacts of change that will happen in Cully.

This effort will be a pilot project for the Portland Plan, helping to implement Action 97 - "Mitigate negative social impacts [of development]." City Commissioners requested that staff begin by collecting key data to monitor indicators of gentrification and displacement this fall, and update this information annually to share with community partners. City staff will also convene a committee in the next 60 days to discuss ideas for land use and zoning tools that can advance community goals and minimize the negative effects of gentrification and displacement.

According to Chief Planner Joe Zehnder, “If we can help strengthen Cully businesses and residents … that gives them staying power in the face of potential neighborhood change.”

Compared to other similar neighborhoods in Portland, Cully has a leg up against displacement because it has a higher number of homeowners. Senior Planner Debbie Bischoff said the engaged community and nonprofits will also help mitigate the negative effects of gentrification, through programs such as basic education, job training and business development.

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson summarized the success of the project by saying, “Local Cully residents and business owners worked with the City to design the Cully Plan. The result is a focus on a future Cully with more jobs for local families, housing that is closer to neighborhood services, and sidewalks and streets that make it easier and safer to get around.”
For more information about the overall project and the main street component, contact Debbie Bischoff, senior planner, at or 503-823-6946. For information about the local street plan work, contact Denver Igarta, transportation planner, at or 503-823-1088.