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Creating more jobs in the Central Eastside

charretteTake a walk, a ride or a drive around Portland’s Central Eastside, and you can feel the creativity and growth in this unique district. New brew pubs and distilleries are opening up next to old manufacturing facilities. Design and computer-based businesses are setting up shop in old warehouses next to long-time industrial service providers. And more cyclists and pedestrians are enjoying the district’s access to downtown, the river and the amenities on lower Division Street connecting the district with the neighborhood.

Characterized by reasonable rents, distinctive architectural character and proximity to downtown, I-5 and the Willamette, the Central Eastside has seen an 8-percent job growth rate over the past decade, outpacing the rest of the city.

Most commonly identified by OMSI’s big red letters — which can’t be missed, whether you’re near the building, across the river at Waterfront Park or atop Big Pink — this unique part of the Central City is home to one of the country’s few remaining inner city industrial sanctuaries. As this dynamic area evolves, the city is planning for its future with the Southeast Quadrant Plan, part of the Central City 2035 planning process.

Two-day Charrette features new Map App for the SE Quadrant 

During a two-day planning charrette in early June, the Southeast Quadrant Stakeholder Advisory Committee and members of the public gathered at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Together they worked through a broad range of topics related to the future of the Central Eastside. Staff and experts were on hand to facilitate small table discussions about how to preserve land for jobs and harmonize transportation types, as well as improving access to green space and the river.

At the charrette, staff unveiled a new interactive map application (map app) featuring map layers of the area with data about building height and age, employment density, traffic signals, bike routes, vegetation and even sewer pipes. With iPads and laptops, participants were able to use the Map App during their conversations about land use issues in the district. The map is a work in progress, and data and layers will be added and updated throughout the project. Visit: http://www.portlandbps.com/gis/seQuad/

Participants expressed broad agreement on the following topics:

  • Maintain the uses and character of the part of the district referred to as the “Industrial Heartland.” Develop new tools that enhance its function of providing industrial manufacturing space.
  • Expand the Employment Opportunity Subarea, which allows a broader range of business types, to all blocks east of 3rd and to the Southern Triangle between the OMSI and Clinton Station Areas. The new MAX Clinton Station area should be a mixed-use area that connects with the surrounding residential areas.
  • The OMSI Station Area should support and respond to the development happening across the River at the South Waterfront, Zidell Property and the new OHSU Schnitzer Campus.
  • Expand river activities near OMSI and further south to include swimming, river transit and habitat restoration for endangered species and education opportunities.
  • Increase open space and green infrastructure throughout the district to support growing resident population and employees. Innovative tools that are appropriate to the character and industrial functions of the Central Eastside are needed.

 

More analysis and discussion is needed in the following areas:

  • The potential for new residential and retail uses in the Clinton Triangle study area north of Clinton, which is currently zoned for general employment.
  • Consider residential development uses at the OMSI Station.
  • Consider north-south bicycle activity along 7th Ave and/or move it to the Grand/MLK couplet to encourage a multi-modal, mixed-use urban core for the district.
  • Discuss whether the area north of Couch St should include some form of Employmen t Opportunity Subarea, to allow for more industrial office users in this area.

 

Staff will use this information to develop draft land use concepts that detail the City’s goals for the district and strategies to meet them.

July 8 Open House 

A public open house on July 8 at the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum from 4 p.m. — 7 p.m. will give the public a chance to learn about and provide input on the emerging concepts for the quadrant. For more information, please visit: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/493153