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Planning and Sustainability

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1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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BPS E-News: Comprehensive Plan Update offers workshops in February and March

Issue 21, February 2013

Portland’s Comprehensive Plan has served the city well since 1980, but it’s time to give it a complete overhaul so that it reflects the Portland of the 21st century. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is taking the lead on this citywide effort to manage the location of population and job growth, as well as public investments in infrastructure (such as streets, sidewalks, parks and stormwater systems) over the next 20 years. The new Comprehensive Plan will set guidelines for community involvement and influence the direction of private development and public facilities — all to ensure that Portland is a more prosperous, healthy, educated, equitable and resilient city.

While the Portland Plan set goals and policies for economic development, housing, education, transportation and watershed health, the new Comprehensive Plan 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 prosperous and sustainable development throughout the city. These ideas will then be represented through a set of maps and a list of capital projects.

The bureau recently published the Working Draft Part 1 of the Comprehensive Plan Update, which 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. 

Collective Effort Requires Community Input

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.

“We need your help to bring this document from a “60 percent draft” to 100 percent,” says Bureau Director Susan Anderson. “The draft Comprehensive Plan is a work in progress, which means there are still areas to be fleshed out and detail to be added. I encourage all Portlanders to join me at a workshop or give us your feedback in whatever way you can.”

Portlanders are invited to review and comment on the Working Draft Part 1, available on the Comprehensive Plan Update project website at Printed copies are also available at Multnomah County libraries throughout the city and at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

The Working Draft Part 2, available this summer, will include draft maps and a draft list of capital projects. 

Citywide Workshops Offer Chance to Learn and Comment 

In February and March, City staff and partners will be sharing information and soliciting feedback through a series of community workshops in six different locations.

Workshop Dates and Times 


West: Tuesday, February 19, 6 – 9 p.m.
Multnomah Arts Center
7688 SW Capitol Highway, Portland

North: Tuesday, February 26, 5:30 –  8:30 p.m.
De La Salle North Catholic High School
7528 N Fenwick Avenue, Portland

Southeast: Thursday, February 28, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Franklin High School
5405 SE Woodward Street, Portland

East: Saturday, March 2, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
David Douglas High School
1001 SE 135th Avenue, Portland

Central: Tuesday, March 5, 5 – 8 p.m.
Smith Memorial Student Union, Portland State University
1825 SW Broadway, Portland

Northeast: Saturday, March 9, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Beaumont Middle School
4043 NE Fremont Street, Portland

Business: Thursday, March 14, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Location to be announced

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

BPS E-News: Code update means easier process for home fixes in historic/conservation Districts

Issue 21, February 2013

Homeowners in Portland’s historic and conservation districts will have an easier time making minor modifications to their homes when a proposed set of code amendments is adopted. In response to community concerns about the time and expense involved in historic design review, the Bureaus of Planning and Sustainability and Development Services developed this proposal in collaboration with homeowners, remodelers and historic resource advocates.

The goal of the Historic Resources Code Improvement Project is to streamline the regulatory process around historic design review. The project team has been looking at ways to create a quicker, easier-to-understand and more predictable review process for projects with minor impacts on historic resources, as well as clarifying code definitions and other code clean-up measures.

On Jan. 22, 2013, the Planning and Sustainability Commission held a public hearing to consider the Proposed Historic Resources Code Improvement Project Zoning Code Amendments, and voted to forward a package of recommended Zoning Code Amendments to City Council.

What happens next?

Council is expected to hold a hearing on the code amendments on Feb. 27, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. The recommended report will be available the first week of February. The adopted code amendments will be effective 37 days after the City Council vote.

After adoption, the project team will continue its work to improve the regulatory process and provide benefits to homeowners in the historic and conservation districts. The code amendments may also allow the Bureau of Development Services to reduce historic review fees for smaller projects in the near future.

For more information about the project and how to get involved, please visit the project website at or call 503-823-5869.

BPS E-News: Planning and Sustainability Commission ponders West Hayden Island

Issue 21, February 2013

The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held a work session on Dec. 11, 2012, to discuss a work plan they had requested from the West Hayden Island project team. This followed two public hearings in November that drew a considerable amount of testimony about the project. These were the first public hearings held by the PSC to consider whether to annex and zone West Hayden Island for up to 300 acres of marine industrial development while designating 500 acres for open space. Residents of the island, and representatives from the Port, the business community and sovereign nation tribal representatives were among those who testified.

The commission expressed their commitment to resolving the complex issues and making a recommendation within three to six months. The work plan lays out a schedule for the next few months and aims to address the questions the PSC  raised about the planning project and previously proposed amendments .

Several work sessions have been scheduled in January and February, covering the following topics:

  • January 22: Draft Intergovernmental Agreement and Timelines
  • January 29: Environmental and Sovereign Nation Involvement and Treaty Interests
  • February 12: Community Health and Transportation
  • February 26: Economic, Financial and Land Supply


Based on these work sessions, staff will release a revised Proposed Draft in March. The PSC will hold another hearing on the revisions in April, after which they will make a recommendation to City Council.

To find out more about these events please check the WHI Calendar.

BPS E-News: BPS staff members raise over $5K for Oregon Food Bank

Issue 21, February 2013

In December, BPS staff coordinated their annual silent auction as part of their winter celebration, with all proceeds benefitting Oregon Food Bank (OFB). Over $5,000 was raised from 292 auction items that included donations by local businesses, service gift certificates, staff-made artwork, textiles, jewelry and homemade food, re-gifted and gently-used goods and cash donations.

2012’s event surpassed 2011’s efforts by $2,000 with 108 more items. The BPS Silent Auction has been organized by a volunteer committee and has remained a popular way for staff to give back to our community since 2006. To date BPS has raised $23,150  for local charities.

The Oregon Food Bank’s Fresh Alliance program provides nutritious, perishable food, like meat, milk and dairy, to people who are hungry statewide. Since its inception, the program has kept 16-million pounds of food from being wasted and has become a national model.

BPS E-News: Designing without waste and building with less

Issue 21, February 2013

Consider the five elements of green building: Energy efficiency, water conservation, healthy indoor air quality, durable materials and a sustainable site.

While reducing a building’s energy use is important, so is the selection of materials used in its construction. Each year building construction and remodeling consumes many tons of materials,  creating significant waste. While designing and building a project there are multiple ways to reduce waste, saving time, materials and money.

How to reduce construction waste and decrease material purchases

Reducing waste is an important first step in construction debris management: 

  • Whether a do-it-yourselfer, or hiring a design-build team, identify which materials you will reuse or recycle before you start your project.
  • Talk to your contractor and waste hauler about your waste management goals and how to reach them.
  • Make the best use of materials through thoughtful design, measurement, ordering and installation. Recycled-content porcelain tiles and steel roofing panels are examples of these types of building materials becoming more easily available.
  • Build flexible additions or rooms serving multiple functions, saving space, materials and reducing waste.
  • Reuse salvaged materials like finish lumber, doors, lighting and hardware – an added bonus is the patina and added character these bring to your design.
  • Protect materials from moisture and exposure to reduce maintenance or replacement (and save money) down the line.

Waste reduction can also be broken down into strategies that happen before breaking ground (design phase) and strategies that happen on the site during building (construction phase). Here are some examples of design strategies: 

Design in two-foot and four-foot increments: Lumber and sheet materials are typically milled in two-foot increments. Designing your building using these modules will maximize the use of materials and minimize waste.

Deeper eaves — it rains in Oregon: Deeper eaves or overhangs protect siding and windows from the elements, meaning they will need repair and replacement less often. Deeper eaves may also keep your building cooler in summer by blocking the sun's heat from penetrating windows and exterior walls.

Use fewer materials and design for simplicity: Designing spaces with open-frame ceilings and shelves without cabinet doors are a few examples of how less is more.

Adaptability: Think about how a building will evolve over time. How can it be remodeled or reconfigured with minimal impact to elements such as flooring and utilities? Design multi-use spaces, not just a room for each activity. Eliminate the need for hallways. Consider dedicating a small area to grouping utility connections for easy replacement in the future with minimal disruption to interior spaces.

Aging-in-place: Designing a house with universal design principles (accessible to both people with and without disabilities), allows elders to remain in a house without having to make major modifications to the structure when needs or abilities change. Doorway widths, counters, toilets, grab bars are examples. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are an excellent example of a way to accommodate change in the various stages of life.

New form makes it easier to plan recycling of construction debris

BPS recently revised the Pre-Construction Recycling Plan Form that general contractors or property owners receive after issuance of a building permit. The updated form is now a postage-paid self-mailer, making it more user-friendly. The revised form, now known as the Construction and Demolition Debris Management Form, is distributed at permit application for all building projects regardless of value. Owners or general contractors of building projects equal to or greater than $50,000 (including both demolition and construction phases) are still required to complete and return the form. However, completing and returning the form is optional for building projects less than $50,000.

For more information on the City’s construction and demolition debris requirements, the revised form, and additional ways to reduce construction waste (or reuse/recycle it) please visit BPS’s Construction and Demolition Debris website,

Visit us at an upcoming Fix-It Fair

Pick up a free handy waste minimization bookmark at the Regional Green Building Hotline booth at the upcoming neighborhood Fix-It Fair February 23 at Ron Russell Middle School.