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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: 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. 

BPS E-News: From our director, Susan Anderson: Looking back, looking forward

Issue 21, February 2013

In 2012, Portland moved forward on many fronts — and I am pleased with the substantial accomplishments that were made in collaboration with BPS and dozens of community, business, nonprofit, academic and other partners. Here is a sampling of our progress:

  • Together, we adopted the Portland Plan, our strategic plan for a prosperous, educated, healthy, equitable and resilient future.
  • Through the expanded composting and recycling program, Portland residents reduced the amount of garbage we send to the landfill by nearly 40 percent — in just one year. No other city in the world has done this much in such a short period of time. And all that food and yard waste tripled the production of nutrient-rich compost for farms and gardens.
  • We updated our zoning code to make it easier for people to grow, sell and buy locally grown food here in Portland.
  • Through our Sustainability at Work program, we helped more than 900 companies save money, use greener products and technologies, cut costs and gain efficiencies.
  • We rezoned SE 122nd, a major thoroughfare in East Portland, so that over the coming years residents will be able to enjoy more of the retail and commercial amenities found in our inner neighborhoods.
  • Closer to the Willamette, we completed a plan for the future of the northeast quadrant of the Central City, a place rich with history and development potential.
  • In 2012, we made significant progress implementing the Climate Action Plan. In Portland, total carbon emissions are now down 6 percent below 1990 levels. This compares to an increase of more than 12 percent for the rest of the United States. Clearly we are headed in a different direction.
  • In the Cully neighborhood, we celebrated the opening of a green street and developed a new plan to address community needs for more neighborhood-serving commercial development and improve the safety and accessibility of Cully’s neighborhood streets, as more people move to this neighborhood and discover its charm.
  • We instituted a policy banning plastic bags and applauded as Portlanders increased their use of reusable bags by 300 percent.
  • We launched the Killowatt Crackdown, a friendly competition to inspire energy efficiency in Portland’s largest commercial buildings.
  • In collaboration with several city bureaus, we officially came into compliance with Metro’s Title 13, Nature in Neighborhoods. The approach features both regulatory and non-regulatory actions to protect and enhance thousands of acres of regionally significant natural resources.
  • On a more personal note — BPS staff are known for volunteering in the community, and even raised more than $5,000 for the Oregon Food Bank at our annual winter auction. All in all, it’s been an extremely productive year.


So what’s next?

2013 brings new City leadership and the opportunity for new vision and collaboration. A major effort underway for BPS is the development of our new Comprehensive Plan. As a once-in-a-generation update, it is a comprehensive task requiring all hands on deck! Dozens of community, business, academic and neighborhood leaders are working on this project as part of the Policy Expert Groups. These advisory groups are focused on such topics as housing, economic development, watershed health, community involvement, infrastructure, neighborhoods and transportation. Their work will be stitched together within the new Urban Design Framework, which forms the basic structure for the physical components of the Comprehensive Plan.

As you’ll read further on, the Comprehensive Plan – Working Draft Part 1 has recently been published, and public feedback is needed. We hope to see some of you at workshops around the city in February and March. Or visit us at and tell us what you think.

Many other efforts are underway this year:

  • The annexation ofWestHaydenIslandis moving toward a decision by the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC). Staff is working hard to support the commission as they devote several meetings from now until April to further understand and consider the many complex environmental, economic and social issues related to the annexation decision. The PSC is scheduled to make a recommendation to City Council in April.
  • A new code improvement project is underway to make it easier for homeowners in our historic and conservation districts to make minor improvements to their homes.
  • We’re also working on a concept plan for the future of Barbur Boulevard, in cooperation with Metro.
  • Elsewhere on the Westside, we’re launching the Central City West Quadrant Plan to address longstanding issues in places like Goose Hollow and Old Town/Chinatown, and take advantage of the energy and investments occurring in the education district around PSU, theNorth Pearland South Waterfront.
  • And, we will begin the Central Eastside Quadrant Plan, including a focus on the challenges and opportunities related to industrial, commercial, transportation and housing issues, and transit–oriented development as part of Milwaukie light rail area planning.
  • We are in the early stages of improving garbage and recycling services for renters, to ensure that all residents, whether they own their home or rent, have access to the same information and quality of service for their household.
  • Parking for new apartments being built in the inner eastside neighborhoods continues to be an issue. A proposal will be brought to the PSC and City Council that will likely include some additional parking requirements and options to help ensure better access for people with disabilities.
  • We’re preparing options to help create a more resilient community through a Climate Adaptation Strategy, which includes recommendations on how the City and the County can minimize the impacts on our community of climate-related risks, such as extreme weather, floods, droughts and heat waves.
  • And we’ll continue to provide technical assistance to other bureaus on how to cut energy costs in City facilities. Projects over the past two decades have resulted in more than $40 million in electricity and natural gas savings, while total savings for 2012 were more than $5.5 million.
  • We will wrap up the first three years of our partnership with Clean Energy Works Oregon with energy efficiency improvements in more than 5,000 homes.
  • For residents, the Fix-It Fairs continue to be hugely popular events held in neighborhoods and serving more than 2,000 households each year.
  • And businesses can take advantage of a new service offering free energy assessments and financial incentives for energy efficiency improvements. In addition, we will continue to offer onsite assistance to hundreds of companies focused on waste reduction, energy and water efficiency, solar and transportation options.

So as you can see, 2012 was a busy year, and we have much exciting work ahead. We hope our efforts, and our business and community partnerships, have provided a benefit to your household, neighborhood or business. Let us know how we can work with you to build a more prosperous, healthy and resilient community.


Susan Anderson Signature

Susan Anderson, Director 

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

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 Releases Community Health and Transportation Packet to Planning and Sustainability Commission

Packet provides background information for February 12th worksession

Today BPS forwarded a packet of material for the February 12 West Hayden Island (WHI) Work Session to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC). The session is estimated to be held between 2:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. as part of the regular PSC meeting that begins at 12:30 p.m. at 1900 SW 4th Ave, Room 2500.

Discussion topics at the session include: a Health Report follow-up and Stage 2 Heath Impact Analysis, Housing fund, Construction and Best Management Practices, and Transportation issues. The PSC packet is available for review.

More information on this work session and future sessions is available on the BPS WHI Calendar.

You can also review the draft minutes from the January 29 natural resources work session.