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Green Loop and Untitled Studios bring the community together at Design Week PDX

Excitement about and interest in the proposed six-mile linear park around the Central City shows that this urban design concept has arrived!

As the main attraction at Design Week PDX, the Green Loop concept didn’t just meet expectations for community engagement, it knocked them out of the ball park. It seemed that the work of Untitled Studios was a perfect fit for the DWP Headquarters in the Central Eastside’s The Redd.

The group of young designers and architects filled the 20,000 square foot space with myriad displays, interactive exhibits and plenty of opportunities to learn about and comment on the proposed loop for walkers, strollers and bikers of all ages and abilities.

Throughout Design Week, people could wander through the Headquarters building and experience Untitled Studios’ at their own pace.

 

Think about it: What would you like to see happen along the Green Loop route?

 

In addition to the displays, interactive maps and a life-size mockup of the loop, DWP featured several presentations and discussions focusing on the Green Loop. Hundreds of Portlanders came to listen, learn and workshop how the Green Loop is “a new type of civic ecology,” “a tool for social good,” and the subject of “Branding Strategies for Public Space.”

The University of Oregon held a design charrette with dozens of participants about how the Green Loop could serve as a new type of civic ecology for Portland.

Beer and virtual reality tour feature the Green Loop

And as if that weren’t enough, Portland’s own HUB brewery developed a special edition IPA just for Design Week PDX. The Green Loop IPA was on tap at the opening night party, where more than 800 people enjoyed the beer, cotton candy, dancing, speed portrait drawing and a virtual reality experience of the loop.

This is what it looked like from the outside …

And from the inside (with goggles) …

Participants said the VR experience made the case for the Green Loop. “After experiencing the VR version of the Green Loop, I felt like we have to do this! It really made the case for it,” said one participant. Others expressed similar feelings: the VR experience made an abstract concept real and arguably a good thing for the Central City.

Lots of ways to stay involved

If you missed Design Week, no worries …

You can still experience the Green Loop and help make it happen! We’ve got a new Green Loop website and map app, with lots of information and ways for you to engage moving forward. Learn more about the Untitled Studios exhibition, explore the loop and make comments on the map app, join Friends of the Green Loop, watch a video featuring Mayor Ted Wheeler and others, and then sign up for email updates.

Then read more coverage of the Green Loop at DWP.   

Next steps

In the next few weeks, Untitled Studios will compile all the comments and ideas they collected at DWP to share with the Green Loop team.

Meanwhile, the Planning and Sustainability Commission will vote to recommend the Central City 2035 Plan to City Council on May 23. The Green Loop is such a “Big Idea” in the CC2035 Plan that the PSC will vote separately on it that day. City Council will hold public hearings on the Recommended Draft in early August. Portlanders are invited to testify in person or in writing.

Learn more at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/cc2035

What’s new from the Residential Infill Project?

Project staff are developing draft code and map amendments for community review in the fall.

Since City Council approved a set of working concepts for the Residential Infill Project last December, the project team has been working with other City bureaus and local agencies to develop the draft Zoning Code and mapping amendments. Community members will get a chance to review and comment on those proposals in a few months.

Opportunities to review draft code and map concepts

Staff are planning a series of public review events this fall to share these draft ideas with the community before finalizing proposals for the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s public hearings. The updated timeline below is included in the latest project summary sheet.    

                 

Now, let’s clear up some misunderstandings …

We know this is a controversial project and some rumors have been circulating, especially on social media sites like Nextdoor. Because we don’t respond to questions or statements on these platforms, we’ve created a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address some of the misunderstandings. Here are a couple rumors the FAQs hope to dispel:

  • “The Residential Infill project is a done deal.”

The project is not over; it is in midstream. Phase I: Concept Development has been completed, and we are now in Phase II: Code and Map Amendments. Phase I was completed last December when City Council accepted the Concept Report. The concepts in the report gave staff direction to develop a formal proposal as part of Phase II, which involves developing amendments to the Zoning Code and Zoning Map for public review this fall. After the community weighs in on a draft of code and map amendments during the summer, staff will prepare a Proposed Draft for the Planning and Sustainability Commission to consider and hold public hearings in the fall. The PSC will amend the Proposed Draft based on public feedback and their deliberations, then send a Recommended Draft to City Council for a decision in 2018. See the timeline above for the steps in each phase.

  • “Council will be holding public hearings on the mapping options (this summer).”

City Council will not be holding more hearings on the conceptual boundary of the Housing Opportunity Overlay zone. When staff met with newly elected Mayor Ted Wheeler to discuss the overlay concept boundary and mapping approaches, he gave staff new direction: Rather than go back to Council, he wanted the PSC to hold hearings on a refined overlay zone boundary and forward their recommendations to Council.

The Mayor also directed staff to use the conceptual boundary on page 14 of staff’s Concept Report to Council as a starting place to begin further refinement of the boundary. To accomplish the boundary refinement, staff is working with representatives from PBOT, Tri-Met, Water, Fire, Police, BES, BDS, Metro and Housing Bureau. Potential boundary refinements will be based on infrastructure capacity, physical barriers, natural features and potential equity impacts. Project staff will share a draft boundary to Portlanders in the fall, before a proposed boundary goes to the PSC.

For More Information

Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, morgan.tracy@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-6879
Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, julia.gisler@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-7624

For general information about the project, visit the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill

 

Cities of Portland and Tigard planning for more housing choice and opportunity for all along potential light rail line through the SW Corridor

Planners requesting proposals from community-based organizations to help create an Equitable Housing Strategy

Most people know the SW Corridor as Barbur Boulevard or 99W. No matter what you call it, though, it’s got potential for improved pedestrian safety and transit service. In addition to better sidewalks and public transportation, the area is a prime location for more types of businesses and houses for the region’s growing and diversifying population.

As the region plans for a light rail line from Downtown Portland to Bridgeport Village, the cities of Portland and Tigard, along with Metro, are developing an Equitable Housing Strategy for this major transportation corridor. The strategy will help ensure that homes along the new transit line meet the needs of households of different sizes and incomes.

City of Portland receives Metro grant for equitable housing strategy

On March 1, 2017, the Portland City Council passed an ordinance accepting $100,000 from Metro to create a SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy over the next year. Metro also received an $895,000 grant from the Federal Transportation Administration to develop a complementary equitable development strategy, which will include plans for economic, education and workforce development needs along the corridor.  

This planning work will focus on achieving Portland and Metro's racial and social equity goals, including reducing displacement of low-income households of color, creating equitable housing choices throughout the city, and increasing education and economic opportunities for those households along the corridor.

To that end, Metro, Portland and Tigard have convened an Equity and Housing Advisory Group of housing experts from the finance, philanthropic, nonprofit and private development sectors. The group will be begin meeting on May 24 and continue to meet throughout the planning process. 

Funding available for community-based organizations

The City wants the housing strategy to be informed by the needs and priorities of low-income households and communities of color. To support inclusive community engagement, we are seeking proposals from community-based organizations engaging and organizing low-income households and communities of color around affordable housing issues in the corridor. Find more information and instructions in the RFP.

Grants to nonprofit partners will be awarded at the end of the month to fund targeted engagement activities throughout the summer and fall. Broader community engagement events will be held over the summer and fall as research on the corridor’s housing needs is completed and the community-based organizations conduct more focused engagement.

Project deliverables

At the end of a year-long process, a unified and strategic approach to housing for the corridor will be presented to the cities of Portland and Tigard for action, including:

  1. Housing targets to guide action and track progress.
  2. Proposals for financing sources, development tools and supportive land use policies to meet the corridor’s housing targets.
  3. Recommendations for supporting community and housing organizations to work together to champion and implement the housing strategy.
  4. Prioritized early opportunity sites for housing.

For more information, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/equitablehousing.

PSC News: May 23, 2017 Meeting Recap

Southwest Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy — briefing; Central City 2035 Plan — work session / recommendation

Agenda

  • Southwest Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy — briefing
  • Central City 2035 Plan — work session / recommendation

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/classification/3687.

For background information, see the PSC website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/psc, call 503-823-7700 or email psc@portlandoregon.gov.

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.

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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 | www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/71701

Portland City Council votes to accept Design Overlay Zone Assessment consultant’s recommendations to improve design review and criteria

DOZA consultant’s recommendations for streamlining process will guide the Bureaus of Planning and Sustainability and Development Services to create more housing quickly while ensuring quality buildings.

“My priority clearly is more housing supply, sooner, at a lower cost, with less of a hassle factor while not creating garbage that we’re stuck with for 100 years.” — Mayor Ted Wheeler

“I’m unsurprisingly very concerned with how we are affecting development, specifically development of affordable housing. Certainly our intention is to streamline and accelerate this process.” — Commissioner Chloe Eudaly

“The way we grow does matter, and affordable housing doesn’t have to be ugly housing.” — Commissioner Amanda Fritz


On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, City Council heard from Design Overlay Zone Assessment (DOZA) project staff, design and historic landmark commissioners, and the public about the DOZA Final Report from project consultant Walker Macy. After considering stakeholder and public testimony, Commissioners voted to accept the report, authorizing the bureaus of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and Development Services (BDS) to implement the recommendations.

Sponsored by Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, the DOZA recommendations will “... streamline the development review process and accelerate the construction of new housing,” said the Mayor in his introductory remarks.

Speaking remotely by phone, Commissioner Eudaly said she had been working on improving design review with BDS staff and “want(s) to increase public understanding of the process.” Short-term actions have already been implemented, remarked BDS Interim Director Rebecca Esau.

While noting her bureau’s collaborative work with BDS on the DOZA project, BPS Director Susan Anderson stated, “Fifty to sixty thousand more people will call the Central City home in 20 years. Design review can help us protect vibrant neighborhoods, but it can’t be a burden.”

What is the Design Overlay Zone and why does it matter?

The Design Overlay (d-overlay) Zone promotes the conservation, enhancement and continued vitality of areas of the city with special scenic, architectural or cultural value. It also supports quality development near high-capacity transit. This is achieved with the use of design guidelines for various d-overlay zones and by requiring design review or compliance with objective Community Design Standards. Design review or compliance with the Community Design Standards also ensures that certain types of infill development will be compatible with Portland's neighborhoods and enhance the surrounding areas.

But as Portland grows and more housing and new development is needed, design review needs updating to meet demand.

Gathering feedback for assessment and recommendations

The DOZA consultant team solicited feedback from architects, designers, developers, builders and community members to develop an assessment report, which was reviewed by staff and other stakeholders. Subsequently, Walker Macy developed a list of recommendations to strengthen the current system. This was also shared with stakeholders, including the Design Commission and the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC). 

Said Kat Schultz, PSC chair, “The design review thresholds need to be right-sized based on impact. Removing regulatory barriers will allow innovation and testing of new systems as well as give small developers and property owners a chance to succeed while furthering the equity goals in our Comprehensive Plan.”

Testimony on consultant’s recommendations

Mark Hinshaw from the Seattle office of Portland-based Walker Macy presented the results of the assessment and recommendations for improving the design review process.

“Design Review is not broken, but it needs a refresh,” said Hinshaw. “Part of Portland’s personality is the funky, strange, home-grown character of its neighborhoods and buildings. So we should let the small stuff go.”

Design Commissioner David Wark noted, “Portland has a reputation for moving the bar forward in terms of urban design and design excellence. To retain the qualities of Portland that make it special, design review and Design Commission will continue to be an important part of that process.”

“How much a project affects the public realm should not lose its importance,” remarked Historic Landmarks Commissioner Kristen Minor. “Changes at the street level have a much greater impact on the public realm than changes at the rooftop of a project, for instance. We strongly support the recommendation for greater input from neighborhood associations and would encourage applicants to reach out even in the planning phase of a project.”

Commissioners’ final thoughts before voting

Before voting to accept the DOZA recommendations, Commissioners shared their perspectives on design review as it relates to new development in Portland.

“I’m very appreciative of all of the broad recommendations that take into account how to continue to build community consistent with our values,” stated Mayor Wheeler.

Echoing concerns about more thorough outreach, Commissioner Amanda Fritz said, “We need to involve all of the communities, not just the traditional ones. I appreciate [the consultant’s] comments about getting notice to renters, for example. There are a number of ways we can increase our outreach, but it has to matter that people can participate..”

Commissioner Eudaly expressed appreciation for “comments from a whole range of folks —  even when there was tension or disagreement. These are fascinating and vital issues.”  

View the Council meeting and hearing about DOZA (starting at 1:05:27)

Next Steps

With the acceptance of the report, BPS and BDS staff will now begin improving Portland’s tools to implement the consultant’s recommendations. This will involve Zoning Code changes through a legislative process, updates to design guidelines and standards, and improvements to the design review process. Community members will have many opportunities to provide feedback on proposed changes, so look for updates on this page for upcoming news.

For more information about the DOZA project and to sign up for project updates, please visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/doza