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Portland wins C40 Cities award for best climate action plans and inventories project of 2016

The C40 Cities Awards recognize the world's most inspiring and innovative cities tackling climate change.

News from the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Friday, December 02, 2016


Camille Trummer

Brian Worley

C40 Cities

Portland, ORE. — Portland and Mayor Hales were honored today at an awards ceremony in Mexico City. The C40 Cities Awards recognize the world’s most inspiring and innovative cities tackling climate change. Sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and BYD, the C40 Cities Awards ceremony was held during the C40 Mayors Summit, where more than 40 mayors from around the world gathered to create sustainable and livable cities for their communities.

“Portland has been a world leader in ‪climate action for over two decades. We were the first U.S. city to adopt a climate action plan. We were the first to bring back the modern streetcar. Now with our updated 2015 Climate Action Plan and proposed Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments, we’ll be the first to deliberately transition from dirty, dangerous fuels to ‪clean, ‪renewable ‪energy,” said Mayor Hales. “I want to thank the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and my mayoral colleagues for recognizing Portland’s trailblazing efforts to make our city one of the most sustainable in the world."

Portland’s 2015 Climate Action Plan (CAP) won this year’s award in “Climate Action Plans & Inventories.” The overarching goal of Portland's CAP is to deliver an integrated set of strategies by 2020 to keep Portland on a path to reduce GHG emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. The proportion of citizens travelling primarily by public transport, cycling or walking is expected to rise to 50 percent, and the number of electric vehicles is set to increase four-fold to 8,000. The CAP aims to reduce energy use in existing buildings by 1.7 percent annually, resulting in an annual GHG emissions reduction of 280,000 metric tons in 2020. 

"Much of our local efforts to combat climate change is made possible through the outstanding professional and expert staff work in Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Not only will Portland’s bold climate actions make positive benefits to our local community for years to come, it shows the way for many more mayors and national leaders to follow our lead before it’s too late to stave off some of the most catastrophic effects of climate change,” said Hales. 

"Cities are a key part of the solution to climate change. Thanks to the efforts of residents, businesses and organizations, Portland’s carbon emissions continue to decline – already 21 percent below 1990 levels," said Susan Anderson, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director. "With direction from the Climate Action Plan, Portland is ready to take the next steps to reach our ambitious goals – like energy scores for residential and commercial buildings, expanding our share of electric vehicles, and investing in infrastructure, such as community solar projects, that advance equitable climate action outcomes."

For more information about Portland’s 2015 Climate Action Plan, visit the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability HERE

“On behalf of C40, I want to congratulate all the winning cities for their commitment to their citizens and their dedication to tackling climate change,” said outgoing C40 Chair and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes. “Throughout my tenure as C40 Chair, I have been increasingly impressed by the caliber of the C40 Cities Award winners, and I look forward to seeing other mayors around the world adapting and implementing these models in their own cities.” 

“The C40 Cities Awards recognize the best and boldest work being done by mayors to fight climate change and protect people from risks,” said C40 President of the Board and U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg. “The winning projects show that great progress is being made on every continent, and they serve as an inspiration to other cities. They also show how cities can help the world meet the ambitious goals set a year ago in Paris.” 

An expert jury panel comprised of former mayors, climate experts and others, selected ten winning urban sustainability projects based on excellence in urban planning and dedication to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving resiliency. The selected cities exemplified the best policies, projects and programs globally, and for the first time included a category recognizing social equity.                                            

Earlier in the day during the C40 Mayors Summit, C40 unveiled a report, Deadline 2020: How cities will get the job done, outlining a vision to reduce emissions by 2020 and help meet the Paris Agreement targets.  

For more information on the Awards and the winning projects, visit:

For the most up-to-date details about the 2016 C40 Mayors Summit, please refer to the website:  

Follow the C40 Cities Awards on social media with #C40Awards and the C40 Mayors Summit with the hashtag #Cities4Climate. 

About the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, now in its 11th year, connects more than 85 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 650+ million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes; Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo is Chair-elect; and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania. To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit, follow us on Twitter @c40cities or Instagram @c40cities and like us on Facebook at

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg

About BYD

Since its inception in 1995 in Shenzhen, China, BYD Company Ltd. quickly grew into a green-tech giant and relentless advocate of sustainable development, as well as a pioneer in successfully expanding its New Energy solutions globally. Specializing in battery technologies, its sustainability mission to create a Zero Emission Energy Ecosystem – comprising affordable solar power generation, reliable energy storage and cutting-edge electrified transportation – has made the company an industry leader in the energy and technology sectors. BYD and its shareholders – among them notable American investor Warren Buffett – see sustainable development through technological advancement in products and solutions as the only way into the future. In 2016, the company was granted the Large Corporation Award of the Zayed Future Energy Prize for its solid contribution to sustainable development in the energy sector. For more information, please visit us at or or

Off-road Cycling Master Plan Internship Opportunity

City seeking an intern to assist with public events and outreach

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is seeking a Community Service Aide to assist with the development of the Portland Off-road Cycling Master Plan. BPS develops creative and practical solutions to enhance Portland’s livability, preserve distinctive places and plan for a resilient future.

The Portland Off-road Cycling Master Plan will develop a citywide plan for a system of off-road cycling facilities – such as sustainable trail networks, skill parks and pump tracks – where kids, adults, and families can ride for fun, exercise and to experience the outdoors in the city.

Community Service Aides are typically graduate students or recent graduates seeking entry-level work in the field of urban planning. They work under the guidance of professional planning staff on a variety of assignments.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Organizing and staffing public events (including possible evening and weekend events), including outreach to historically under-represented or under-served communities
  • Assisting with meeting coordination and note taking
  • Maintaining testimony/comments database
  • Synthesizing public feedback
  • Completing research and analysis

Basic qualifications:

  • Knowledge of public outreach principles and practices
  • Familiarity with equitable urban planning principles
  • Ability to work with a wide variety of people with different professional and cultural backgrounds
  • Comfort representing the project and bureau in public
  • Clear and concise writing and strong verbal communication skills
  • Flexibility, initiative, and ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

Desired skills and experience:

  • Direct personal or professional experience working with historically under-represented or under-served communities, such as communities of color, Portlanders with limited-English proficiency, low-income residents, youth, and Portlanders with disabilities
  • Experience with public outreach
  • Experience with research and data collection, organization and analysis
  • Valid state driver’s license and a driving record that meets the City’s good driver criteria
  • Ability to speak another language (Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali, Chinese, etc.)

Start date: January 2016

Hours: Approximately 30-40 hours per week

Duration: Through June 2016. This position is classified as a Community Service Aide, and is limited to no more than 1,400 hours per calendar year. 

Compensation: $15-$18/hour depending on experience and qualifications

Benefits: Employee will be eligible for limited sick time and paid holidays

Application: Please submit a cover letter and resume describing your qualifications to 

Michelle Kunec-North
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
1900 SW 4th Avenue #7100
Portland, OR 97201

Application Deadline:  December 20, 2016

Equal Opportunity: The City of Portland (also referred to as the City) is fully committed to the concept and practice of equal opportunity and affirmative action in all aspects of employment.

Veterans: If you are requesting Veteran’s Preference, include a copy of your DD214/DD215 and/or Veteran’s Administration letter stating your disability with your resume and cover letter. Veteran’s Preference documentation must be submitted no later than the closing of this recruitment.


Planning and Sustainability Commission discusses building height, parking code and Willamette River

Commissioners consider and make recommendations at work session for Central City 2035 Plan

On November 16, 2016, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held its second work session on the Central City 2035 (CC2035) Plan Proposed Draft. Commissioners worked through a list of topics ranging from requested changes to maximum building heights to regulations for the Willamette River.

The following is a review of the PSC discussion and actions; read the meeting materials to see additional comments/requests.


This topic was a continuation from the PSC’s first work session in September. 

Image courtesy of University of Oregon Libraries

East Portland/Grand Avenue Historic District

  • Background: In September, PSC asked staff to determine whether new development would still be able to take advantage of allowed building volumes (or “FAR”) if maximum heights were reduced as proposed.
  • Staff research concluded that base FAR could still be used within the proposed heights, but in some cases would be difficult to fully utilize all potential bonus FAR.

PSC Action: Supported the proposed reduced heights


The PSC received comments on maximum building heights throughout the Central City during their July and August 2016 hearings. 

RiverPlace area heights

  • Testimony: Consider increasing heights in this area to take advantage of potential redevelopment sites.
  • Staff proposed a more detailed set of height limits and a few areas where increased bonus height should be allowed to encourage denser, urban scale development and more active uses near the riverfront.

PSC Action: Supported the new height proposal. See the decision table and maps for more details.

West End heights

  • Testimony: Consider reducing height in the West End to 100 feet to create a greater step down from taller buildings in the Downtown core and a smaller-scale environment in the subdistrict.
  • Staff informed the PSC that this same topic was discussed during the West Quadrant planning process, and ultimately the West Quadrant Stakeholder Advisory Committee, PSC and City Council chose not to make large scale height reductions in the West End. As such, staff did not propose any changes at this time.

PSC Action: Supported retaining the maximum heights included in the Proposed Draft CC2035 Plan

Height along the eastern edge of the Lloyd District

  • Testimony: Lower allowed building heights between NE 15th and 16th Avenues and south of Weidler Street to 75 feet, creating a step down to the adjacent neighborhood.
  • Staff did not propose reducing heights because the requested step down would be to a lower height than is currently built and allowed on the east side of NE 16th Avenue outside the Central City.

PSC Action: Supported retaining the proposals in the Proposed Draft CC2035 Plan

Building shadows in the North and South Park Blocks

  • Background: The Zoning Code currently regulates the amount of shadow that new buildings on the west side of the South Park Blocks can cast onto the adjacent park. Specifically, new buildings that exceed 100 feet must show that the additional height won’t cast even more shade onto the park. The Proposed Draft CC2035 updates this requirement to match similar requirements elsewhere in the city and applies the requirement to the North and South Park Blocks.
  • Testimony: Consider a similar provision for new development on the east side of the Park Blocks to ensure that morning sunlight reaches the park.
  • Staff conducted a shadow analysis of buildings of different heights and massing on potential redevelopment sites on the east side of the Park Blocks. As a result, staff proposed adding the requirement to the east side of the Park Blocks and requiring a 12-foot step back with new development. This will reduce shadows and provide additional public realm for the future Green Loop.

PSC Action: Supported this proposalPark Blocks

Southeast 11th/12th Avenue height and zoning

  • Testimony: Allow more building height and/or rezone the blocks between SE Yamhill and SE Hawthorne Streets from IG to EX zoning. Near SE 11th and12th Avenues and Ankeny Street, reduce the allowed building height to 50 feet to reduce development pressure on Victorian-era homes.
  • Staff reviewed these comments and also the zoning and height proposals in the Recommended Draft Mixed Use Zones Project. They proposed rezoning four blocks from IG1 to EX and setting heights consistent with the surrounding areas.

PSC Action: Supported this amendment


  • Testimony: Lower parking maximums to help the city meet its goals for reducing single occupancy vehicle trips. Other testimony suggested requiring a minimum amount of parking.
  • Staff informed the PSC that parking ratios included in the Proposed Draft CC2035 Plan were developed through the Central City Parking Strategy Project — a public process that included a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. As such, staff did not propose to deviate from the recommendations.

PSC Action: Supported retaining the parking maximum ratios in the Proposed Draft and did not ask staff to establish parking minimums. PSC requested that staff develop an action in the Plan to monitor the maximum parking ratios in seven years to see if adjustments are needed.


People on a dock

Landscaping in the setback

  • Background: The Proposed Draft requires land within the river setback to be landscaped.
  • Testimony: Generally supportive of this requirement, but there were a few requests for improvements.
  • Staff proposed an amendment to exempt the Eastbank Crescent beach area from the requirement. They also clarified where plantings should occur where the riverbank has been previously treated with rip rap.

PSC Action: Accepted staff’s proposed amendments

Swimming in the river

  • Testimony: The City should establish guidelines and provide the public with information about safe swimming in the river. The City should also ensure that there is no net loss in public access.
  • Staff proposed a new Central Citywide action for Volume 5 of the CC2035 Plan to expand opportunities for safe swimming while addressing potential conflicts with natural resource protection.

PSC Action: Supported this new action

Retail in the open space zone

  • This item was deferred to a January PSC work session. Staff is working with Parks and Recreation staff on a recommendation.

PSC Action: None at this time


Based on comments received from the Bureau of Development Services, staff proposed a small number of amendments to Volume 2A1 of the CC2035 Plan. These did not result in significant discussions with the PSC, but they can be reviewed in the decision packet.

PSC Action: Supported most of the proposal but asked staff to come back to discuss ground floor windows and ground floor active uses.

Watch the second work session and read the decision packets.


An updated list of expected work session topics and meeting dates can be found here.

PSC Work Session 3 on CC2035 Plan
Tuesday, January 10, 2017, afternoon meeting
1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A

PSC Work Session 4 on CC2035 Plan
Tuesday, January 24, 2017, evening meeting
1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A

 Please check the PSC calendar to confirm time and location prior to each work session.

Inclusionary Housing Recommended Draft now available; City Council public hearing scheduled for December 8

City Council will consider adopting an Inclusionary Housing Program as one of the many tools to increase Portland’s affordable housing supply.

City Council will consider a recommendation from the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) to amend the Zoning Code and the Housing Code to implement an Inclusionary Housing program. A work session is scheduled for November 29, followed by a public hearing on December 8.

The Inclusionary Housing zoning code changes create a new mandate for the production of affordable housing. New development with more than 20 units in one building will be required to have a share or portion that is affordable as defined by proposed regulations.

Specifically, the program requires residential development projects to provide housing affordable to households below 80 percent of median family income (MFI) with an alternative option for projects that choose to produce housing for households at 60 percent MFI and below.

The proposed amendments set the percent of all units in a development that must be affordable to meet the terms of the program. Referred to as the “inclusion rate” that must be provided in one of the following ways:

  • On-site. Providing at least 20 percent of the units are affordable to those earning no more than 80 percent MFI, or at least 10 percent of the units are affordable to those earning no more than 60 percent MFI; or
  • Off-site. Either construct new units or dedicate existing units.  If constructing new units, either provide 20% of the total units at 60% MFI, or 10% of the total units at 30% MFI. If dedicating existing units, either provide 25% of the total units at 60% MFI, or 15% of the total units at 30% MFI; or
  • The applicant pays a fee-in-lieu of providing affordable units.

The other zoning code amendments change the base zones of the Central City and Gateway Plan Districts to develop a base Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and bonus FAR to offset some of the cost of compliance with the IH program. The proposed amendments also eliminate the parking minimums for residential development projects close to transit.  The other parts of the Inclusionary Housing Program will be implemented through amendments to Title 30, the Housing Code. These provisions include the incentive packages offered to offset the costs to development and a fee schedule for the in-lieu fee option.

If approved by City Council, all new multi-family or mixed use development with more than 20 units will be subject to these requirements effective as of February 1, 2017.

For more information, read the Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project Recommended Draft

City Council Briefing and Public Hearing(s):

The public is invited to testify on the Recommended Draft at the upcoming City Council hearing.

Staff will start the process by providing a briefing to City Council on the Recommended Draft. Council will then hold a public hearing, followed by a vote to adopt the code changes.

November 29, 9:00 a.m. (time certain)
Briefing (no public testimony)

December 8, 2:00 p.m. (time certain)       
Public hearing

All public hearings will be held in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue. Meetings will be broadcast live at

How do I testify at City Council?
You may testify in person by signing up when you arrive. Check the Council agenda prior to the hearing to confirm the item is still scheduled.

You may also testify on the Recommended Draft in writing:

Via U.S. Mail: 1221 SW Fourth Ave. Room 130, Portland, Oregon 97204


Note: Written testimony must be received by the end of the hearing(s) and must include your name and address. All testimony to City Council is considered public record, and testifiers' name, address and any other information included in the testimony will be posted on the website.

Next steps

After the briefing and public hearing, City Council will vote to adopt the new regulations. Changes to the Zoning Code are anticipated to become effective on February 1, 2017.

For more information, visit the Inclusionary Housing Program website and/or the Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project website.


Portland Design Commission reviews preliminary report for Design Overlay Zone Assessment (DOZA) Project

Consultant’s research affirms community support for thoughtful building design but says d-overlay system needs improvement

In May of this year, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, in collaboration with the Bureau of Development Services, hired consultant Walker Macy to lead an independent and comprehensive review of the City’s design (d) overlay zone, including the design review process, tools and results.

By August the consultant team had published the results of their analysis of Portland’s regulations and processes for the d-overlay and how they fit together. They also looked at best practices from other cities, including discretionary design review and the application of nondiscretionary design standards.

Last week, the Walker Macy team shared an Interim Report on the Design Overlay Zone Assessment (DOZA) during a briefing with the Portland Design Commission. The report outlines their findings, based on a review of peer cities, interviews with stakeholders, a public questionnaire and evaluations of example projects. The report also offers preliminary recommendations for improving the processes and tools that implement the d-overlay in the city of Portland. 

What did the consultants learn about design review in Portland?

The consultant team found strong community support for thoughtful design and that Portland is recognized as a national model for creating a livable urban environment through design. However, the current d-overlay system could be improved to make the process more efficient and better align the regulatory tools with today’s design objectives. 

Commercial/mixed use buildings

What are the recommendations for improvement?

Walker Macy made several preliminary recommendations for improving the design review process, including the following:

  • Adjust thresholds for different types of design review to best serve projects at all scales.
  • Update Community Design Standards and Community Design Guidelines to better sync with each other.
  • Reduce the Design Commission’s workload by making the process more efficient.  


At the briefing, the Design Commission engaged in a robust discussion about the report, expressing support for recommendations such as those to consolidate and update the tools and offering the consultants directions for further investigation. Commissioners identified the need to incorporate community voices into the design review process as well as balance the goals of ensuring design quality with serving applicants effectively. 

Next Steps

The DOZA team will release a detailed set of recommendations in early 2017. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in during an open house tentatively planned for February 2017.

 The consultant team will then refine and produce a final report of findings and recommendations and present their work to Design Commission, Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council in spring 2017.

For more information about the Design Overlay Zone Assessment visit our website at or contact Lora Lillard at 503-823-7721 or