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New long-range land use and development plan for the heart of the city poised for adoption

What does the Central City 2035 Plan promise for Portlanders and the region?

Riddle me this … By 2035, what will house 95,000 residents in 64,000 households and provide 174,000 jobs?

Answer: Portland’s Central City. Which will absorb 30 percent of Portland’s population growth and welcome 50,000 new jobs in the next 20 years.

And there’s a plan for how to manage all that growth and development, while making the nearly four square miles of Portland’s urban core more vibrant and active for those who live, work and visit the region’s cultural and economic hub.

It’s called Central City 2035, and the Portland City Council will vote to adopt the plan on Wednesday, June 6 at 2 p.m. Watch it live or later on, when you have the time.

Here are some highlights of the plan:

  • The Green Loop – Perhaps the most transformative idea that came out of the planning process, the Green Loop offers a new way for people to be in the Central City … active, safe and fun. It’s a six-mile linear park for people of all ages and abilities to connect to places and each other all around the Central City. It was the star attraction at 2017 Design Week and is this year’s featured Sunday Parkways route.The Green Loop is quintessentially Portland: natural and urban, creative and entrepreneurial, sustainable and dynamic. It will support businesses, restaurants and stores along the route, while improving access to places where people can get the staples and support they need. And it will reconfirm Portland's commitment to greater access to parks and active transportation. In turn, the Green Loop can become an iconic symbol of a city that values and supports all people: residents, workers, students and visitors of all ages, shapes and sizes, origins and incomes.
  • The River – If the Green Loop circles the heart of the Central City, the Willamette River flows right through the middle of the urban core. It’s a waterway for commerce, a home for fish and wildlife, and a recreator’s dream. CC2035 ensures that it will remain healthy even as access for swimmers, boaters, paddlers and foot danglers increases. The new plan also ensures greater protection for the riverbanks, while allowing for small retail kiosks in strategic locations to serve more people as they enjoy this wonderful natural resource.
  • Central Eastside and the Innovation Quadrant – There’s a lot going on in the southern end of the city center. On both sides of Tilikum Crossing, new buildings are going up on previously fallow land (South Waterfront) and in once sleepy industrial areas (Central Eastside). This part of the Central City is alive with possibilities and potential – to cure diseases, create the next generation of apps, and cultivate new artists and makers. CC2035 has prepared the soil of this Garden of Industrious Eden. And as more businesses and enterprises set up shop in this unique area, more people will be able to work near all the amenities the city center can provide.

Top Ten things to know about CC2035

Good density

The Central City is the densest area in the city and the region. That’s by design. It’s Portland’s largest complete neighborhood, with lots of housing, amenities and transportation options.

It has the densest concentration of:

  • Office space in the region and a range of jobs and employment spaces in different districts ranging from Downtown, Lloyd, South Waterfront and Central Eastside.
  • Regional and cultural attractions in the state, including the Oregon Convention Center, the Moda Center, the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Providence Park, Keller Auditorium and the Oregon Historical Society.
  • Housing (affordable and market rate) in the region, offering the widest array of housing choices for those with the greatest need. The CC2035 Plan includes a new inclusionary housing bonus that will ensure a percentage of the 37,000 new units expected over the next 20 years will be affordable.
  • Social service facilities in the region, serving many of the most vulnerable Portlanders.

A true 21st century city  

With Council’s adoption of CC2035, Portland’s urban core is poised to continue to be a thriving economic, cultural, educational and recreational hub of the region for the next 20+ years … carrying on the tradition of previous planning efforts. From transforming Harbor Drive into Waterfront Park and a parking garage into Pioneer Square. Or transforming brownfields into The Pearl District and South Waterfront. And connecting the east and west sides of the river with a transit, bike and pedestrian-only bridge.  

Learn more about the legacy of planning in the Central City

Green Loop concept gets the green light from City Council

Commissioners vote unanimously to move the concept for a linear park in the heart of the city forward.

Last Thursday, May 24, 2018, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to endorse a resolution supporting the advancement of the Green Loop. The six-mile linear park around the city center was a “big idea” in the Central City 2035 Plan, which was adopted in full on Wednesday, June 6. The plan goes into effect on July 9, 2018.

As Commissioners prepared to vote, Mayor Ted Wheeler proclaimed, “The Green Loop is a fantastic vision, and I look forward to seeing it – perhaps not completed during my tenure – but I’d certainly like to see it well underway.” He went on to say that the Green Loop is an “extraordinary asset to the city,” and praised the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff’s early leadership and advocacy.

“It’s always hard to be the pointy end of the spear,” he acknowledged, “but at the end of the day, everyone will show up and say you were right.”

Commissioner Dan Saltzman called it a visionary project that will connect Portlanders in a way they haven’t been before. “And it will redefine how we keep our residents safe and get around,” he concluded.

What others said

Before voting, Council heard from BPS and PBOT leadership as well as business leaders and advocates for the Green Loop.

Art Pearce, PBOT’s policy, planning and project manager, pointed out how the Green Loop will help the City achieve its Vision Zero goals. “The majority of Portland’s high-crash bicycle intersections are in the Central City as well as some of the high-crash intersections for pedestrians," he stated. “The Green Loop will emphasize those streets, making it a safe and inviting route around the Central City."

Pearce also talked about how the Green Loop can help resolve conflicts between freight trucks, pedestrians and cyclists in and around the Central Eastside.

Susan Anderson, BPS director, emphasized community support and enthusiasm for the Green Loop. "Today,” she began, “we want to focus on a segment of the Green Loop where we think the first projects are likely to happen – in the Rose Quarter and Lloyd District. There are investments already planned for this area, including the Sullivan's Crossing Pedestrian and Bike Bridge. Potential partners such as Go Lloyd, Albina Vision Trust and others make this a really strong candidate as a place to start."

Go Lloyd’s Administrative and Transit Program Manager Jenny Taylor said, "The Green Loop will help create stronger connections to our inner eastside and downtown neighbors; encourage our interested-but-concerned population to choose active transportation; and help make us a safer, healthier and more livable community.

“In addition,” she continued, “by making Lloyd the first neighborhood to receive investment in Green Loop, you get Go Lloyd as a partner in promoting it.... We are prepared to work with the City and all of our partners to make the Green Loop a long-term success for Portland."

Stated Wade Lang, vice president and regional manager of American Assets Trust, "Lloyd is a community … [with] a long history of public/private partnerships. We see value in sharing ideas, listening to stakeholders and brokering compromise to reap the highest public benefit. … The Lloyd community would be willing to work with the City to explore funding strategies and help to make the Green Loop a reality."

Watch the video of the Council session and the Green Loop resolution vote (Green Loop starts at 2:22:15.)

So, what exactly is it?

The Green Loop will be a place for everyone in the heart of the city. Whether on foot, bike or mobility device, people of all ages, abilities and incomes will be able to get to work, go for a jog, shop, eat, rest or meet friends in the park via the Green Loop.

It’s an initiative that will add to the Central City network of great public spaces with formal and informal places integrated with new development like the Broadway Corridor redevelopment of the old Post Office and OMSI’s redevelopment of its riverfront campus.

It can become a recognized and attractive route connecting Central City destinations and neighborhoods like the Park Blocks, the Portland Art Museum, PSU, South Waterfront, the Central Eastside and the Moda Center. Think New York City’s Highline, Atlanta’s Beltline, the Miami Underline or the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

And, it starts to become a reality in the Lloyd District, with projects like the Sullivan’s Crossing bike and pedestrian bridge over I-84 at NE 11th/12th Avenues.  

Featured attraction

The featured attraction at last year’s Design Week Portland, this year the Green Loop will be the route for Sunday Parkways in the heart of the city. We hope you’ll join us on July 22, 2018, to experience the early days of the Green Loop.

Who knows? Someday you’ll be able to say, “I was there at the beginning.” 

For more information about the Green Loop, please visit our new website. And sign up for e-mail updates as Portlanders move the concept into reality.

It’s official! Portland has a new long-range plan for the Central City

The CC2035 Plan establishes a new generation of goals and tools to ensure the city center becomes an even more thriving economic, cultural, educational and recreational hub for the region over the next 20+ years.

Yesterday afternoon (June 6), the Portland City Council voted three to one to adopt the Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035), with Saltzman absent and Fritz dissenting. 

The new long-range plan for growth and development builds on the City’s good planning over the years. Council also voted to adopt ordinances for the RiverPlace area, environmental and scenic resources, as well as the green loop and action plans to implement the plan. The new plan becomes effective on July 9, 2018.

“What this plan does differently,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler, “is that it sets the stage for more affordable housing, increased resilience in the face of climate change, more and better jobs through a synergistic mix of old and new industry in the central eastside, better protection of our iconic scenic views and deeper focus on our greatest natural feature – the Willamette River.”

Chief Planner Joe Zehnder emphasized, “The success of the Central City is vital to the success of all of Portland. We must meet our goals to be a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient city – not just downtown – but citywide. We cannot do one without the other.”

While comprising only 3 percent of the city’s land, roughly 30 percent of the city’s residential growth will occur in the Central City by 2035. CC2035 will ensure the Central City helps meet our housing needs. The area already has the region’s greatest concentration of affordable housing units. And with inclusionary zoning in place, a significant share of this residential growth will be affordable for low-income households.

CC2035 will also ensure that the Central City becomes even more of an employment and educational hub for households all over the city. 

Portland has a long tradition of visionary planning for the Central City. Previous plans resulted in the transformation of Harbor Drive into Waterfront Park, a parking garage into Pioneer Courthouse Square, and brownfields into The Pearl District and South Waterfront.

Commissioners reflect on the Plan

Commissioner Fish acknowledged that creating big plans like CC2035 involves difficult choices and tradeoffs. He praised the environmental components of the plan but said that he continues “to feel a certain amount of regret that this extraordinary process ended on a sour note with a decision about Old Town/Chinatown.” He pledged that in the future he would “be vigilant to ensure that there will be no adverse impact on Lan Su Chinese Garden” and called on the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to revisit the issue when the bureau updates its Central City Fundamental Design Guidelines.

Commissioner Eudaly joked that “this has been a crash course in planning, and I’ll be applying for college credits.” She thanked staff and community members for helping her get up to speed. “I think we as a body share the same goals and values as the community. We don’t necessarily agree how to get there, but I think this is a reasonable road map.”

Then she said, “When I would get bogged down in the details, I tried to think 100 years from now. Our fingerprints are going to be all over the city. I can only strive to make choices that are beneficial to Portlanders a century from now.”

Commissioner Fritz thanked the staff, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, the Design and Historic Landmarks commissions, other City staff, the many advisory committees and community members who participated in the planning process over the years. She identified some highlights of the plan: It would increase housing supply by 2,000 units (above the 37,000 additional units already allowed) and allow density transfers from open space to developable properties.  

But ultimately, Commissioner Fritz could not vote to adopt the Plan because of last-minute amendments to increase height in New Chinatown/Japantown. Of Council’s decision to increase height in the historic district and potential shading of Lan Su Chinese Gardens, Fritz said, “This isn’t about garden visitors enjoying the afternoon sun. It’s about the rare/endangered species of plants and fish in the koi pond.”

Mayor Wheeler praised BPS staff for their understanding of the issues, creativity, and research and analytical skills that allowed City Council to find the best solutions to address the issues. “But, most importantly, their ability to work through those issues with the public, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, and City Council,” he said. “You (BPS) spent a lot of time with stakeholders to make sure CC2035 embodies the best thinking and planning Portlanders have to offer.”

He recognized that some Council decisions were controversial and that Lan Su dominated the final conversations. He pointed out that, “few knew when we started the plan that properties next to the garden could be 425 feet tall. We are reducing that height by more than half. … I care deeply about the Lan Su Garden. This is an important asset to all of us. And I second my colleagues’ comments about vigilance in the future to protect it.”

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PSC News: June 26, 2018 Meeting Recap

Neighborhood Contact — Briefing; Residential Infill Project — Work Session

Agenda

  • Neighborhood Contact — Briefing
  • Residential Infill Project — Work Session

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/classification/3687.

For background information, see the PSC website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/psc, call 503-823-7700 or email psc@portlandoregon.gov.

Meeting playback on Channel 30 are scheduled to start the Friday following the meeting. Starting times may occur earlier for meetings over three hours long, and meetings may be shown at additional times as scheduling requires.

Channel 30 (closed-caption)
Friday at 3 p.m. | Sunday at 7:00 a.m. | Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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The City of Portland is committed to providing meaningful access and will make reasonable accommodations, modifications, translation, interpretation or provide other services. When possible, please contact us at least three (3) business days before the meeting at 503-823-7700 or use City TTY 503-823-6868 or Oregon Relay Service 711.

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