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City Council prepares for final vote to adopt Portland’s new Zoning Map and Code changes

Commissioners make key decisions about off-street parking requirements, floor area ratios (FAR) in the Alphabet Historic District, drive-throughs and more

On Tuesday, November 22, 2016, the Portland City Council held its final meeting to discuss and vote on Commissioner-sponsored amendments to the Recommended Early Implementation Package of Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan. Council is scheduled to vote on the amended package before the end of the year. Key votes on amendments included:

Off-street parking requirements

City Council voted to remove minimum off-street parking requirements for development close to frequent transit that includes affordable housing. This amendment revisited a 2013 code change that imposed minimum requirements for new development of more than 30 units.

Floor Area Ratios (FAR) in RH zones in Northwest Portland’s Alphabet Historic

Council voted to remove an element of the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s Recommended Draft that would have decreased the allowed floor area ratio (FAR) in high-density residential (RH) zones in Northwest Portland’s Alphabet Historic District. City Council’s vote will keep the existing 4:1 FAR.

Drive-throughs in commercial mixed use zones

Commissioners also voted to expand the PSC-recommended prohibition of new drive- through facilities to include mixed use zones throughout the city (not just east of 80th Ave, as PSC recommended). This amendment also adds more liberal rules to allow owners of existing drive-throughs to upgrade and/or expand them.

Next Steps

Council has now completed their review of the new Zoning Map and Code changes for mixed use zones, campus institutions, employment land and residential and open space zones and more. You can view the work session on the Auditor’s website.

Next Commissioners will review “findings” (e.g., proof that Portland’s new Zoning Map and Code changes, etc. meets statewide planning goals) and receive revised ordinances on December 14, followed by a final vote to adopt the Recommended Early Implementation Package as amended on December 21. After that vote, the package will go to the state for acknowledgement. The zoning changes are tentatively expected to take effect in January 2018.

Upcoming City Council Actions

Consideration of the substitute ordinance to adopt the 2035 Comprehensive Plan Early Implementation Package, as amended 
December 14, 2 p.m.
Council Chambers, City Hall
1221 SW Fourth Avenue

Adopt the 2035 Comprehensive Plan Implementation Package
December 21, 2 p.m.
Council Chambers, City Hall
1221 SW Fourth Avenue

Please check the Council website to confirm dates, times and location.

Call the Comprehensive Plan Helpline at 503-823-0195.

City Council considers amendments to the Zoning Code and Housing Code for Inclusionary Housing Program; public hearing scheduled for December 8

Proposed amendments would lower the inclusion rate and provide an exemption from minimum parking standards.

On November 29, City Council held a work session on the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project Recommended Draft which supports amending the Zoning Code and the Housing Code to implement an Inclusionary Housing Program. The proposed 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.

Subsequently, staff have released a Memo of Amendments responding to suggestions from several Commissioners that require amendments to the Recommended Draft. City Council’s consideration of the proposed amendments will be a part of the public hearing scheduled for December 8.

Specifically, the proposed amendments will:

  • Phase-in a lower inclusion rate for both the mandatory and voluntary options outside the Central City and Gateway plan districts.  These inclusion rates will start at 15 percent of units at 80% MFI and 8 percent of units at 60% MFI. On January 1, 2019, the rates will increase to 20 percent of units at 80% MFI and 10 percent of units at 60% MFI.
  • Change the inclusion rates for the offsite option to incorporate both building new units and dedicating existing units.
  • Clarify the compliance method with the Portland Housing Bureau and Bureau of Development Services to ensure that development meets the inclusionary housing standards and administrative requirements; ensure that the affordable dwelling units will remain affordable to households meeting the income restriction.
  • Provide an exemption from minimum parking standards for development projects that are close to transit that provide on-site or off-site affordable dwelling units. This exception also applies only to affordable dwelling units that are located on sites that are far from transit. This exception does not apply when a fee-in-lieu of affordable housing is paid.

The other proposed amendments to the Inclusionary Housing Program apply 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 the Inclusionary Housing Program is approved by City Council, all new multi-family or mixed use development with more than 20 units will be subject to the requirements effective as of February 1, 2017.

For more information, read the Staff Memo of Amendments or the Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project Recommended Draft.

How can I provide feedback to decision-makers?

The public is invited to testify on the Recommended Draft and Staff Memo of Amendments at the upcoming City Council hearing.

City Council Public Hearing

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

Via email:

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

City Council will hold a public hearing on December 8 to hear testimony and consider the proposed amendments. After deliberation, City Council will return for a second reading and vote to adopt the Inclusionary Housing Program. 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.

Thanks Portland, You’re Amazing!

Can you believe Portland residents have been composting food scraps at the curb for five years now?

In the five years we’ve been collecting food scraps, we have created 400,000 tons of finished compost — enough to cover 2,400 acres of farmland (almost 4 square miles). That’s a lot of compost!

Farmers, gardeners and landscapers use the compost to suppress weeds, conserve water and improve the health of the soil.

Mind Your Scraps

While Portlanders do a great job composting their food scraps, there is still food left in the garbage. Even small amounts of food add up, so remember to compost your scraps when you are prepping meals, scraping plates, cleaning out the fridge or hosting a gathering. Big or small, we want it all!

Visit to learn more. Keep up the good work!

Germany may be the world’s leading recycler, but ….

Recent New York Times story compares the recycling rates of countries.

Earlier this week, the New York Times published this story about recycling rates around the world. Germany, a country well known for its advances in green technologies and practices, came out on top with a recycling rate of 65 percent, as compared to a 35 percent recycling rate for the United States.

In Portland, recycling and composting are going up, and waste is going down

Did you know Portland recycles or composts a whopping 70 percent of its solid waste? With the addition of weekly food scrap composting service and shift to every-other-week garbage collection in 2011, residential garbage taken to the landfill has decreased by over 35 percent, and collection of compostable materials has more than doubled.

Recycling is important because it helps keep usable materials out of the landfill and it reduces unhealthy carbon emissions.

Find out more at