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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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City selects the Toole Design Group

Toole presented as the most qualified proposer for Off-road Cycling Master Plan consultant services

To support the development of the Portland Off-road Cycling Master Plan, the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability released a Request for Proposals for a consultant team to provide system planning, technical analysis and community engagement services. In particular, the City sought proposals from firms with experience in planning sustainable off-road cycling trails and facilities and in facilitating effective and transparent community involvement processes that emphasize resolving conflicts and building shared understanding, visions and approaches for the use of public lands.

After receiving and evaluating multiple strong proposals, the City intends to negotiate and award the contract to the Toole Design Group. They were the highest scoring proposer and were deemed the most qualified proposer for the project. The contract will require City Council’s review and approval before work begins.

Draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan makes headlines

As City Council work sessions kick off, BPS staff present overviews of the growth management strategy, infrastructure investments and housing elements.

Last month, City Council kicked off a series of work sessions on the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Local media outlets were there, including all three major television networks as well as print reporters. Mayor Charlie Hales kicked off the first Council work session on September 29, saying, “This is some of the most important work we’ll do. It’s critical work at a critical time because we’re experiencing all this growth and change.”

KGW’s Rachel Rafanelli reiterated that message later in the day. Standing in front of an apartment building under construction in the Pearl, she said, “There are signs of growth everywhere, and it isn’t slowing down … [The new plan] outlines the city’s vision and goals for growth, focusing on affordable housing, transportation and livability.” She noted that the plan guides growth in Centers and Corridors … growing up, not out. And that the City would cut down on traffic by encouraging public transportation, walking and biking.

In his introductory remarks to City Council, Planning and Sustainability Commission Chair André Baugh talked about how the draft 2035 Plan also provides an adequate supply of employment land, protects the environment and creates better transit options for more Portlanders to get to work.

“This translates into savings in household spending and a reduction in carbon emissions,” Baugh pointed out. “And it ties into the housing affordability issue. We all know we’re out of balance in terms of housing supply and demand for new units. This new Comp Plan is not a silver bullet, but it’s a significant tool to ensure an adequate supply of housing for all income levels.”

The first of five work sessions provided an introduction to the Comprehensive Plan Update, including an overview of the growth management strategy (the “up, not out” mentioned above) and a briefing on the infrastructure investments recommended in the plan. A second work session on October 8 focused on housing.

Housing and Affordability

At the Housing work session on October 8, Chief Planner Joe Zehnder began by recognizing that Portland has a housing affordability issue now because we’ve been successful at building a walkable urban city that people want to live in. As more people move here, demand exceeds supply and prices go up.

The draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan includes a two-pronged strategy to address housing affordability: 1) increase housing supply for all income levels; and 2) increase the supply of permanently affordable housing.

Additional work sessions were held on October 29 (Economic and Environment elements), November 3 (Transportation element) and November 10 (Land Use Map). You can watch videos of each work session on the City Council website

Council will hold three public hearings before the end of the year (check City Council agendas for updates and details):

  1. Thursday, November 19, 2 – 6 p.m.*
    City Hall Council Chambers
    1221 SW 4th Ave
  2. Thursday, December 3 2015, 6 – 9 p.m.
    Mittleman Jewish Community Center
    6651 SW Capitol Hwy
  3. Thursday, December 10, 6 – 9 p.m.
    Parkrose High School
    12003 NE Shaver St

*2 – 3 p.m.
Testimony heard on the Economic Opportunities Analysis, Growth Scenarios Report and other supporting documents
 3 – 6 p.m.
Testimony heard on the Recommended Draft Comprehensive Plan Goals, Policies and Land Use Map

Starting in January, Commissioners will resume their consideration of the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan, holding additional work sessions and potentially more hearings.

More Comp Plan Coverage in the Media

In an interview with KATU’s Steve Dunn on October 4, Mayor Hales acknowledged, “Growth is scary, and we just want to press the pause button because it feels like we’re in the rapids. … But we need to plan for what we want. Like 82nd Ave. Is that really what we want there, surface parking lots and car dealers? Is it the highest and best use of that land? What can we do to make places like Montavilla and Lents better?”

The City’s new Comprehensive Plan was also featured on OPB radio’s Think Out Loud, along with a podcast titled One Portland Growth Document to Rule Them All. Principal Planner Eric Engstrom represented the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, telling host Dave Miller, “The plan today really isn’t full of a bunch of new ideas; it’s a continuation of the old one. A lot of things in the city today — like the bus mall, Waterfront Park, the streetcar system, the Pearl and South Waterfront, and the retention of the Central Eastside Industrial District — those ideas were all part of the 1980 Plan and have come to fruition.”

There are new areas of focus in the 2035 Plan, however. Like equity, affordable housing, investments in infrastructure in underserved areas, and providing for middle-wage jobs.

Street Roots endorsed the new Plan on October 8, noting the importance of the 11 policies that address gentrification and displacement.

And OPB’s Amelia Templeton helped explain how the Plan would help create more jobs in a story called “Portland Growth Plan Proposes More Middle Wage Jobs.” By helping landowners redevelop brownfields, providing more land for small manufacturers, and creating better bus routes to connect people living in East Portland with jobs along the Columbia Corridor, the Plan will support job creation and retention.

“Can the City shape growth? Or will the city just grow up willy-nilly?” asked KATU’s Kerry Tomlinson in her September 29 “Problem Solvers” feature. She referred Portlanders to the Comp Plan Map App, and encouraged people to go online and check their property. Tomlinson’s suggestion prompted more than 5,000 visits to the site that day. Since launching on September 21, the Map App has had almost 27,000 hits, and more than 203 comments have been submitted to City Council via the interactive tool.

Finally, the Tribune published an op-ed by Sam Chase, Alisa Pyszka and Skip Newberry called “Portland future not tied to other models.” In it, the writers argue that density is essential to keeping housing affordable in the region and not becoming completely out of reach for all but a few (ala San Francisco and Seattle).

And that seems to be the crux of it for many Portlanders: keeping housing affordable while preserving our great single-family neighborhoods. By focusing growth in centers and corridors with new multi-family development, we can preserve Portland’s unique neighborhoods, keep housing prices from skyrocketing, provide more housing choices and offer more Portlanders the chance to enjoy the complete walkable places that make this city so attractive. The Plan also delivers better transit options to more people and stimulates job growth, especially for middle-wage jobs. It incorporates nature in the city, protects the environment and ensures a healthier and more complete East Portland. Finally, it puts us on path to resilience in the face of climate change. 

Stay tuned for more, as the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan makes its way through the Council work sessions and hearings. Up next: the Economic and Environment elements on Thursday, October 29 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.


Toss your leaves and pumpkins in the green Portland Composts! roll cart

Have a big mound of fallen leaves? Ready to get rid of rotting jack-o-lanterns? We’ve got you covered!

pumpkins in a wheelbarrowAfter celebrating autumn holidays, remember to compost pumpkins and gourds in the green roll cart too. This is the time of year to include seasonal food scraps like apple and pear cores and leftover or half-eaten candy (without wrappers). Pruned items, yard debris and fallen tree fruit also go in the green Portland Composts! roll cart

Yard debris includes weeds, leaves, vines, grass, flowers, plant clippings and small branches (less than 4 inches thick and 36 inches long). Large branches that may come down during storms or stumps that are too big for your curbside container can be collected by your garbage and recycling company with advance notice (and extra fees) or taken to a recycling depot.

Watch the weight! Don’t forget there are roll cart weight limits, especially with heavy pumpkins and wet leaves. The 60-gallon green composting roll carts have a 135-pound limit.

From early November to mid-December, removing leaves from our streets is critical because letting them stay on the street can clog storm drains, flood intersections and make streets slippery. Some Portland residents have street tree Leaf Day Pickup based on where they live.

Aren’t sure you’re in a Leaf Day Pickup area?
Find out here or call 503-865-LEAF (5323).

Have a question for our Curbside Hotline Operator?
Submit your question online or call 503-823-7202.

From BPS Director Susan Anderson: What if every city recycled like Portland?

A response to The New York Times' "The Reign of Recycling" opinion piece by John Tierney.

You may have seen a recent opinion piece in the Sunday New York Times entitled, “The Reign of Recycling.” The author, John Tierney, suggests that the cost of recycling is too high and not worth the environmental benefits. While it’s true that global prices for scrap paper currently are very low, and recycling isn’t the financial slam-dunk that it was a few years ago – it still makes great economic sense!

Here in Portland, it still costs much less to collect and recycle paper, metal, other recyclables, food scraps and yard waste than it does to truck them to the landfill and pay to bury them in the ground. And that’s just the financial calculation – it doesn’t include the environmental benefits.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that current levels of recycling in the U.S. offset emissions equal to the carbon pollution from 39 million cars. (That’s about 15 percent of the total cars on the road.)

But what if every city in the U.S. recycled as much as Portland does?

The average city in the U.S. recycles about 34 percent of its waste, but here in Portland, we recycle more than twice that amount. So if everyone recycled the Portland Way, we’d cut carbon emissions equal to the pollution from nearly 80 million cars.

And just what is the Portland Way?

Well, by 2030 we plan to:

  • Recover/recycle at least 90 percent of all waste generated.
  • Reduce food scraps sent to landfills by 90 percent.
  • Help reduce the carbon and energy-intensity of products used in business supply chains.
  • Reduce emissions by helping residents consume smarter – (e.g. products that are more durable and use less energy).

The New York Times was right when it said that recycling is just one part of taking action on climate change, but those actions do add up. And imagine how much more could be achieved, if the entire country recycled at the same rate as we do. Keep up the good work, Portland!


Susan Anderson Signature

Susan Anderson, Director

City of Portland
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

P.S. > Further reading: Many environmental organizations and advocates have published in-depth rebuttals to John Tierney’s piece. Here are a few worth checking out:

BPS hosts free energy performance reporting information sessions for owners and managers of large commercial buildings

Energy Performance Reporting Policy team completes administrative rules process and hosts a free introduction to the new policy and ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager.

Update 13 NOV 2015: *SOLD OUT* The information sessions are sold out, however, seats in the office hours session are still available.. Please e-mail to be placed on a wait list for the information sessions. Please indicate if you would like Tuesday, November 17 1:30– 4 PM OR Information session 2 Wednesday, November 18 9 – 11:30 AM OR either.

BPS has finalized administrative rules to implement the Commercial Building Energy Performance Reporting Policy. Visit to view the new rules.

The administrative rules provide detailed compliance requirements for commercial buildings over 20,000 square feet to:

  • Track energy use with the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager web tool, and
  • Report energy performance information annually to the City of Portland.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an interactive resource management tool developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that enables tracking and assessment of energy use across an entire portfolio of buildings – all in a secure online environment.

More importantly, it can help implement an energy management program, from setting a baseline to setting goals and tracking improvements. It’s also the tool for getting nationally recognized as an ENERGY STAR certified building by EPA.

Want to learn more?

Join us in November for a FREE information session to:

  • Hear about the City’s new requirement for office buildings, retail spaces, grocery stores and hotels over 20,000 square feet.
  • Meet staff from local utilities that can help you access energy data.
  • Connect with the Energy Trust of Oregon to find ways to save money on energy bills and improve your building’s performance.
  • Learn from EPA experts about ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager web tool.

Choose from one of two identical sessions:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m

 — or—

  • Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 from  9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Want to go deeper? Bring your questions and a computer to go in-depth with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager experts during an “office hours” session on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

All sessions will be held at the Doubletree Hilton Portland, 1000 NE Multnomah St. in Portland. Light refreshments will be served, and there will be prize drawings at each session!

Visit to read more and register for the November event.