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Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Fax: 503-823-7800

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. These zones should be revised 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.

Overall, the project will:

  • Include a public participation process and an advisory group.
  • Complete a best practices report that considers the zoning tools and approaches other cities have used to create successful, walkable urban centers.
  • Evaluate current development and design regulations and development outcomes in existing mixed use/commercial zones to determine what is working well and what needs improvement.
  • 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 block patterns in East Portland).
  • 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  the Gateway Regional Center; town centers such as St Johns,Hollywood, Lents and Hillsdale; more than 30 MAX transit station areas; and Main streets, commercial corridors and nodes citywide.

Project Process and Milestones

  • Execution of Metro CET Grant (December 2013)
  • Appoint/convene Project Advisory Committee (February 2014)
  • Research — Mixed Use Zone Assessment (July 2014)
  • Concept Development (November 2014)
  • Code Development — Draft Code (March 2015)
  • Proposed Code Amendments — Public Hearings (June 2015)

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