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The City of Portland, Oregon

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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My Portland Plan: Portland is Growing More Diverse

The makeup of Portland's population has been changing over the past 30 years.

Portland is often characterized as a “white” city, and it’s true. The largest segment of the city’s population is white. But since 1980, the demographic makeup of the city has increasingly become more diverse. In 1980, the white population was more than 80 percent of the city’s total population; by 2010 it was a little over 70 percent of the population.

Graph showing Portland's population growth for different races since 1980 

Over the last 30 years, Portland’s population has grown from roughly 370,000 to 584,000. And with that growth has come diversity, which is not too different from the national trend.

The most notable increases have occurred among Hispanics and Asians. In 1980 they each made up less than 3 percent of the population. In 2010, Hispanics were more than 10 percent of the population — an eight-fold increase overall — and Asians 7 percent, nearly a four-fold increase.

Increases in the Black population over the last 30 years have been much less dramatic. While they have grown in absolute numbers, the increase has been comparably small; just under 8,000 people in 30 years. Blacks in 2010 make up 6 percent of the population, down from 7.1 percent in 1980.

The Native American and Alaskan Native population and Other race groups have also contributed to Portland’s growing diversity. Changes in reporting (“some other race” was introduced in 2000) contributed to the large increase between 1990 and 2000. Combined, the NA-AN and Other race groups account for about 5 percent of the city’s population in 2010. But the proportions may be actually slightly higher. According to members of the Native American communities, Native Americans may be undercounted in the Census. According to “The Native American Community” profile that is part of the Communities of Color reports, a community-verified population count — explorations into the actual numbers — suggests the community may be undercounted by nearly 50 percent in Multnomah County.

In absolute numbers, the white population has had the largest amount of growth, an increase of over 100,000. But their proportion of total population has decreased as all other groups have grown proportionally.

So Portland is arguably becoming a more diverse city. While still not as diverse as other places in the country, the city is on a trajectory to become much more culturally, racially and ethnically diverse. It just may take some time —perhaps a generation or two.

New Plan for the Future of Central City Heads to City Council

Public invited to comment on the CC2035 Concept Plan at public hearing on October 24


October 17, 2012


Eden Dabbs

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


Joe Zehnder

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


PORTLAND,Ore. – Portland's Central City is the region's business, cultural, retail, recreational and education hub – a true civic center for jobs, high-density housing, transit and other services. The Central City 2035 planning project is intended to help preserve the city’s existing assets while creating a livable, sustainable city center.

The CC2035 Concept Plan is the first step to update the 1988 Central City Plan, establishing a 25-year blueprint that strengthens the city center as the regional hub for residents, workers, shoppers and visitors.

The Planning and Sustainability Commission recommended draft of the Central City 2035 Concept Plan will be presented to City Council at a public hearing on October 24.

City Council Hearing:

  • CC2035 Concept Plan – PSC Recommended Draft
  • Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 at 2 p.m.
  • City Council Chambers
  • City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Avenue
  • Public testimony welcome

CC2035 Concept Plan

The result of two years of stakeholder involvement and public outreach, the Concept Plan outlines policies and directions that provide high-level guidance for the city center’s growth and development. It emphasizes the important role the city center plays for the region and is intended to guide development of four detailed quadrant plans within the Central City (N/NE, SE, NW and SW). The quadrant plans will focus on issues unique to their individual geographic areas and recommend district-specific policies to address those issues.

The Concept Plan has two primary parts:

  • A Policy Framework that sets the desired goals to achieve and directions to pursue; and
  • An Urban Design Direction that uses a set of diagrams to illustrate where and how the Central City will grow and change, highlighting key places and connections. This will help guide future decision-making and prioritize public investments.  

The CC2035 Concept Plan is available on the project website at or contact project staff via email at

The Council agenda is available after 4 p.m. each Friday for the following week's Council meetings. There will be opportunity for public testimony and comment. Information about the City Council and how to speak to the Council can be found online.

The City of Portland is committed to providing equal access to information and hearings. If you need special accommodation, please call 503-823-7700, the City’s TTY at 503-823-6868, or the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.

About Central City 2035

Central City 2035 (CC2035) will update the plan and policies for downtown and central areas of Portland, Oregon. CC2035 will address challenges and opportunities in the Central City to ensure this unique economic, transportation, cultural and educational hub will be a vibrant resource for all Portlanders over the next 25 years.

About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS)

Through partnerships and collaboration, BPS develops innovative and practical solutions to create and enhance a prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable city. The bureau provides: Citywide strategic and comprehensive land use planning; neighborhood, district, economic, historic and environmental research, planning and urban design; policy and services to advance energy efficiency, green building, waste reduction, composting and recycling, solar and renewable energy use, and local sustainable food production; as well as actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. For more information, visit