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Portland plans for the future: City’s Draft Comprehensive Plan Update Ready for Review

Long-range plan will help city manage expected population and employment growth

Portland isn’t perfect, but it’s a place where people want to live … because of its size, public transit, natural beauty and friendly culture. But it probably would not have become the city it is today without the visionary long-range planning of 30 years ago. Back then, the city’s biggest concerns were improving air quality and revitalizing the downtown. Portlanders created the city’s first Comprehensive Plan to address those issues. 

Today, we face a new set of challenges: creating more jobs, ensuring our students are qualified to do them, protecting our valuable natural resources, making transportation options more accessible, preserving our distinct neighborhoods, and addressing racial and ethnic disparities. 

The Comprehensive Plan Update 

The City of Portland is now updating its Comprehensive Plan to help manage expected population and employment growth and coordinate major public investments in livability, parks, roads, sewers, business districts and more over the next 20 years. The update will be informed by and help implement the Portland Plan, a strategic plan for a prosperous, educated, healthy, equitable and resilient city. It will also build on the community’s vision created through visionPDX.

While the Portland Plan set goals and policies for economic development, housing, education, transportation and watershed health, the Comprehensive Plan Update will help implement them through more specific city policies to help us make better on-the-ground decisions in our neighborhoods. With the Comprehensive Plan as the foundation, we can improve zoning and provide direction for healthy and prosperous development throughout the city. These ideas will then be represented through a set of maps and a list of capital projects. 

Read and comment on the Working Draft Part 1

The Working Draft Part 1 of the Comprehensive Plan Update — available now — includes initial draft goals and policies for public discussion and review. The accompanying Companion Guide provides an introduction to the Working Draft Part 1 and highlights the document’s main ideas. The Working Draft Part 2, available this summer, will include draft maps and a draft list of capital projects. 

Printed copies are also available at Multnomah County libraries throughout the city and at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

The Comprehensive Plan Update is being developed with the help of more than 160 community members, technical experts and City staff from a variety of bureaus who serve on eight different advisory committees called Policy Expert Groups (PEGs).

Now it’s time for the entire city to have a say in how this long-range land use plan will evolve.

Citywide Workshops Offer Chance to Learn and Comment

Portlanders can help shape this long-range plan for the future of Portland’s communities and neighborhoods by participating in the update of the Comprehensive Plan. In February and March, City staff and partners will be sharing information and soliciting feedback through a series of community workshops in seven locations. 

Workshop Dates and Locations

Comments and Input Welcome

There are many opportunities to participate in the update of the Comprehensive Plan, including:

  • Comment online: Submit a comment using an online form.

  • Send an email:
  • Subscribe to the Comprehensive Plan Update E-newsletter.
  • Attend a PEG discussion: The eight Policy Expert Groups will be reviewing and discussing the draft goals and policies in their monthly meetings. You can find meeting dates, locations and agendas on the Comprehensive Plan Update website’s Meetings and Events calendar or on the Policy Expert Groups page. All meetings are open to the public.
  • Request a meeting: Neighborhood, business, interest-based and community groups may host a Comprehensive Plan Update presentation and discussion.
  • Complete a survey: Coming soon!

For more information about how to engage, visit the Get Involved section of the Comprehensive Plan Update website.

Process and Next Steps

The updated Comprehensive Plan is being developed based on the Policy Expert Groups’ input, community discussions and technical analysis, including the facts and data gathered in the Background Reports developed during the Portland Plan process. The plan will be reviewed by the Planning and Sustainability Commission and adopted by City Council in 2014. Later phases of the project will include the development, review and adoption of key implementation measures, such as zoning and code amendments. Future refinement planning will address issues and topics that require additional study or community input.

Bureau releases Natural Resource Packet for Planning and Sustainability Commission

Packet to provide background and discussion information for January 29th

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) forwarded a packet of material for the January 29th Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) West Hayden Island (WHI) Work Session on natural resources. This session will be held from 4-7 p.m. Materials that are included in the packet and will be discussed at the work session include: natural resource mitigation, ownership, and tribal interests. The elements of the packet sent to the PSC are available here for the public to access. 

You can find more information on the work session at the BPS WHI Calendar.

Planning and Sustainability Commission Makes Recommendation to City Council: Adopt Historic Resources Code Amendment Package

Making it easier for homeowners to make minor home improvements in the City’s historic and conservation districts.

At a public hearing on Jan. 22, 2013, the Planning and Sustainability Commission reviewed code amendments that will make it easier for homeowners to make minor home improvements in the City’s historic and conservation districts.

Staff gave an overview of the project and answered several clarifying questions from commissioners. After testimony from 14 people, the commission voted to forward the package of Zoning Code Amendments from the January 7 report. Included in that recommendation were seven additional staff-recommended amendments and three specific requests to City Council in response to testimony, including: 

  1. Encourage the Bureau of Development Services to promptly create a user friendly handout explaining how historic resources are regulated. This is in response to repeated concerns that the regulations are too complex for the general public to understand.
  2. Clearly state when and by how much any potential fee reductions could be implemented. This was a common theme for all testifiers.
  3. Direct the bureaus of Development Services and Planning and Sustainability to return to the Planning and Sustainability Commission after a year to evaluate the success of code amendments in achieving the project goals. 

City Council is expected to hold a hearing on the recommended Zoning Code Amendments on Feb. 27, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. The recommended report will be available the first week of February.

PSC News: January 22, 2013 meeting recap and documents

Historic Resources Code Improvement Project – hearing/recommendation; Comp Plan Update – briefing; West Hayden Island Draft Plan – work session


  • Historic Resources Code Improvement Project – hearing/recommendation     
  • Comp Plan Update – briefing
  • West Hayden Island Draft Plan – work session

Meeting files:

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