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Planning and Sustainability

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Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan appealed to state Court of Appeals

The Multnomah Neighborhood Association appeals a March 2018 Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) decision rejecting its appeal of the Middle Housing Policy.

The Multnomah Neighborhood Association has appealed a State of Oregon decision upholding the new 2035 Comprehensive Plan to the Court of Appeals. The growth plan was adopted by City Council in June 2016, with a delayed effective date to allow time for state review. The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) issued an order in December 2017 approving the plan. In March of 2018, the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) voted to reject six appeals that had been filed to block elements of the plan.

The appeal of the LCDC decision is primarily concerned with the “middle housing policy,” which City Council added to the plan in early 2016. The policy encourages the City to consider zoning decisions to allow more duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, accessory dwelling units and small multi-unit or clustered residential buildings.

The City’s Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) is considering ways to implement the policy through the Residential Infill Project. They have not yet made a recommendation to City Council.  

Portland’s new growth plan went into effect in May. The 20-year plan includes new land use policies, land use maps and zoning, and new public facilities plans. This was the largest overhaul of Portland’s land use plan since the City’s original Comprehensive was adopted in 1980. 

The new appeal does not change the status of the plan, which is already in effect, but it delays state acknowledgement of the plan. The Bureau of Development Services is implementing several additional development review protocols while the plan remains unacknowledged. For example, some development projects are being required to do additional analysis to directly document compliance with state land use while the appeal is being considered. The plan cannot be formally acknowledged by the state until appeals are resolved.  

Equitable housing strategy for the SW Corridor moves forward

Advisory group and Tigard City Council give thumbs up for the strategy to preserve and create more affordable housing in the corridor.

Over the summer, the SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy gathered momentum, with votes from the SW Corridor Equity and Housing Advisory Group and Tigard City Council.

The  Equity and Housing Advisory Group endorsed the recommended strategy at their final advisory group meeting in June. This group of leaders from the nonprofit, finance, philanthropic, government, and housing development sectors brought diverse perspectives on housing and transit policy to help develop and vet recommendations over the past year.

Many members will continue to be involved in ongoing planning for the corridor through Metro’s Southwest Equitable Development Strategy. They will also contribute to some of the early implementation activities of the housing strategy, such as station area planning as well as continued engagement of low-income households and communities of color.

In July, the Tigard City Council acknowledged the SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy. Before the vote, members of the Equity and Housing Advisory Group spoke to the Council in support of the strategy.

Steering Committee chooses Locally Preferred Alternative

And in August, the SW Corridor Steering Committee (a Metro-led committee) voted unanimously on a 12-mile alignment for the new light rail line. They chose the center of Barbur Boulevard for most of the Portland portion as the “locally preferred alternative (LPA), citing better, more visible station access as an important factor.

Planning and Sustainability Commission weighs in

After a briefing in the summer, the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) crafted two letters: one supporting the housing strategy; the other commenting on the light rail project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

In a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler addressing the housing strategy, Katherine Schultz, PSC Chair, stated:

[The SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy] centers the needs of our most vulnerable residents and provides a clear roadmap to stave off displacement and increase fair housing choices for all households. However, our city has a long history of infusing equity language into plans and setting aspirational goals but failing to follow through. This time must be different. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past. We need our political leaders to champion this work to make it real.

In the letter responding to the DEIS to the Federal Transit Administration, Metro and TriMet, Chair Schultz urged transit planners to more carefully analyze the potential for economic displacement of a new light rail line on low-income households and communities of color. The letter also urges the agencies to leverage housing and transportation investments to benefit the most transit-dependent households and those currently burdened by rising housing costs.

City Council work session on SW Corridor Light Rail Project

On September 4, the Portland City Council heard from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, PBOT and the Housing Bureau, who presented information about the proposed new light rail line. Staff described the need for new transportation infrastructure to move the 23,800 daily commuters to and from Portland and Tigard. They also listed the additional benefits of the project, including more reliable travel times, improved access to OHSU and PCC, enhanced stormwater management, bike and pedestrian improvements, as well as catalyzing investments in affordable housing and commercial development.

A striking figure was the amount of land that can be recouped with the removal of Ross Island Bridge on- and off-ramps, which would be replaced with new access ramps away from the neighborhood streets. Of the roughly 3,000 new housing units projected to be built around a new Gibbs Street station, 350 – 400 of them would be built on the land currently occupied by the bridge approach ramps. The Gibbs Street station area would be one of the busiest stations on the new line.

The Barbur Transit Center, near the intersection of Barbur Boulevard, Capitol Highway and the I-5 freeway, would be reconfigured and redeveloped with parking commercial uses, and housing. Transformation of the transit center site could help stimulate investment in the surrounding West Portland Town Center.

Watch the Council work session on the SW Corridor Light Rail line

Next steps

City Council will consider adopting the SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy on October 4, after hearing public testimony from 2 – 3 p.m.

Council will also consider adopting the light rail route on October 10, from 2 – 3 p.m., when there will also be opportunity for public testimony. 

PSC News: September 25, 2018 Meeting Recap

SW Corridor Locally Preferred Alternative — Briefing; Better Housing by Design — Work Session


  • SW Corridor Locally Preferred Alternative — Briefing
  • Better Housing by Design — Work Session

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at

For background information, see the PSC website at, call 503-823-7700 or email

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.


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.

503-823-7700: Traducción o interpretación | Chuyển Ngữ hoặc Phiên Dịch | 翻译或传译 | Turjumida ama Fasiraadda | Письменный или устный перевод | Traducere sau Interpretare | Письмовий або усний переклад | 翻訳または通訳 | ການແປພາສາ ຫຼື ການອະທິບາຍ | الترجمة التحريرية أو الشفهية |

Helping Portlanders reduce single-use plastics

Community survey available in multiple languages; response deadline extended to October 15.

Portland City Council asked BPS to help the Mayor’s office develop a strategy to reduce single-use plastics. This summer, BPS and the Office of Mayor Ted Wheeler coordinated a review of other city policies, three work group meetings and a community feedback survey to hear from a broader audience.

To be more inclusive, the survey has been translated into six different languages: Simple and Traditional Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese and Russian. To fill out the translated survey, or to request additional translation services, visit: The deadline to receive feedback has been extended until Oct. 15, 2018.

Some of the ideas that have been considered include reducing plastic straws by making them available upon request, reducing plastic utensils and condiment packets by having employees ask customers if they need them, increasing opportunities for reusable service ware in dine-in scenarios and coordinating a campaign to raise awareness about the need to reduce over consumption of single-use plastics.

Plastics Reduction Report to Council Delayed

The original plan for reporting to Council was September 26, which has been delayed to open up a longer period for receiving public feedback. A report and recommendation to Council will be presented sometime this Fall. Please visit to track the policy development.

Planning and Sustainability Commission directs Residential Infill Project staff to revise RIP proposals to reflect their amendments

Commissioners felt the initial proposals didn’t go far enough to address the housing shortage in Portland.

Since public hearings on draft zoning changes to create more housing options in Portland’s residential neighborhoods last May, the PSC held a series of work sessions on the RIP proposals. Over the course of 8 work sessions, they deliberated over the technical details of the proposal. The result is a series of amendments to the proposed zoning code and map changes.

At their September 11 work session, the PSC reviewed these amendments and gave staff the nod to begin revising the zoning code language and maps to incorporate their changes. 

Prioritizing housing choice and options
The Commission’s revised proposals would allow a wide range of housing types, including triplexes and fourplexes in single-dwelling zones. They also pushed to broaden the area where these housing choices would be allowed. To address the demolition of single-family homes, they created more incentives to retain existing houses, such as allowing them to be split into multiple units. They pushed for more flexibility for accessory dwelling units to incentivize their construction. And they looked for ways to create more homeownership opportunities for first-time buyers.

"If we continue our pattern of development today of tearing down smaller existing homes and building much larger single-family homes, we will lose the opportunity to create more housing options," said PSC Chair Katherine Schultz. “With our amendments, we’re prioritizing a wide range of housing types over single-family homes, internal conversions over demolition, the environment over increased consumption of land, and great neighborhoods for people of all ages, incomes and abilities.”

Watch the video(s)
You can watch the PSC as they give staff direction on their amendments to the Proposed Draft. The RIP discussion begins at 1:09:00.

Read the materials
You can also review staff-prepared work session materials for the September 11 work session and preliminary vote. Recaps of previous work sessions are also available on the RIP news updates.

Next steps
Once project staff have written the code to implement the proposed changes and revised the map, they will come back to the PSC for a final vote later this fall.

The public will be able to weigh in on the PSC’s recommended map and code after they are forwarded to City Council, which will hold public hearings and accept written testimony on the RIP Recommended Draft.

Want more information?
Visit the project website.

Or give us a call:

  • Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, 503-823-6879
  • Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, 503-823-7624