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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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About the Project

The Mixed Use Zones Project will develop new mixed use planning and zoning designations to help implement the Centers and Corridors concepts that emerged with the Portland Plan’s Healthy Connected City strategy. Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan proposes to focus commercial activity and a majority of new household growth in mixed use “centers and corridors” that will serve as the anchors of convenient, walkable neighborhoods.

The project will focus on revising the City’s Commercial and Central Employment (EX) zones that are applied outside of the Central City. These zones — in which mixed use development is allowed — were created in the early 1990s, when auto-oriented and lower intensity commercial uses were more common. The Mixed Use Zones Project will revise these zones to address issues that arise with newer intensive mixed use forms, such as building mass and/or bulk, design and context, transitions and step-downs, and ground floor uses.

The project will:

  • Include opportunities for public participation and an advisory group.
  • Evaluate Portland’s current development and design regulations and development outcomes in existing mixed use/commercial zones to determine what is working well and what needs improvement.
  • Consider best practices and new approaches to zoning by researching the tools and incentives other cities have used to create successful, walkable urban centers.
  • Develop a framework for new mixed use zones that better responds to the hierarchy of centers anticipated in the new Comprehensive Plan, as well as different geographic contexts throughout Portland (e.g., southwest hills, small block patterns in close-in eastside neighborhoods, or the larger lot and block patterns in eastern neighborhoods).
  • Analyze development feasibility and review the zoning approaches with the public.
  • Write and revise zoning regulations to implement the mixed use zones framework.

Project Area
The new mixed use zoning regulations are expected to be applied to commercially zoned property outside of the Central City. This includes main streets, commercial corridors and commercial nodes citywide, and places like the Gateway Regional Center; town centers such as St Johns, Hollywood, Lents and Hillsdale; and several MAX transit station areas.

Project Process and Milestones

  • Execution of Metro CET Grant (December 2013)
  • Appoint and convene Project Advisory Committee (February 2014)
  • Phase 1: Assessment and Research (April - September 2014)
  • Phase 2: Zoning Concepts Development (July 2014 - January 2015)
  • Phase 3:  Zoning Code Development — Draft Code (January - April 2015)
  • Proposed Code Amendments — Planning and Sustainability Commission Public Hearings (June 2015 or beyond)