Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

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

More Contact Info

Subscribe to RSS feed

Most Recent

View More

It’s 2035. What did the new Comprehensive Plan deliver?

Imagine … 20 years from now, what would Portland look like guided by our new long range plan for a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient city?

A little more than 35 years ago, Portland welcomed its first Comprehensive Plan, a blue print for the city that would be admired around the world in the decades to come. In 1980, the population of Portland was 366,000, a little more than half of what it is today.

Back then, Mt St Helens had just erupted, and Supertramp and Donna Summers were all the rage. Smart phones were only on Star Trek, Microsoft had just 11 employees, and a kid could ride a bike without a helmet and get away with it.

Portlanders banded together into neighborhood associations to block the Mt Hood Freeway and ensured those transportation dollars would go toward the construction of the MAX blue line. A downtown parking lot was transformed into Pioneer Square, and the Harbor Freeway into Tom McCall Waterfront Park. And Portland’s 1980 Comp Plan directed population and employment growth into a series of “nodes and noodles.”

The rest is history.

Fast forward to 2035 ... Nodes and noodles have become “centers and corridors,” and Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan has helped a mid-sized city grow up. Portland has become a place where most people can live healthy lives, with access to good jobs, safe streets and bikeways, affordable housing, clean air and water, walkable neighborhoods, quality transit service and beautiful parks.

The 2035 Comp Plan built upon the best of Portland’s strong planning heritage, advanced a more equitable approach to neighborhood development and leveraged Portland’s rapid growth to balance prosperity, human and environmental health, equity and resilience.

Imagine 20 years from now …

… a Portland that has nearly a quarter of million new people living here. Places like Hollywood, the Jade District, North Pearl, and Barbur and Powell Boulevards will be high-functioning mixed use areas with easy access to transit and a range of housing types to meet the needs of smaller households, Portlanders who want to age in place, and an increasingly diverse population.

Imagine …

… a city with 140,000 more jobs. More middle-wage jobs and a balanced economy fueled by the preservation of industrial land, expansion of our colleges and hospitals, a robust Central City, and flourishing smaller businesses in centers and corridors.

… better transit with new routes throughout East Portland, connecting more residents with their jobs; and fewer cars on the road, creating more room for freight, bikes and pedestrians.

… healthier people who have easy, safe and pleasant routes to walk, bike or take transit.

… and a safer and more resilient Portland with well-maintained infrastructure.

Most of Portland’s diverse population would live in complete, healthy and safe neighborhoods, close to the amenities they need. Tens of thousands more well-paying jobs would offer residents financial security and a pathway to wealth. Increased housing options would make it possible for individuals and families to create households to their liking. And a robust transit system and greenway network would offer multiple transportation options for Portlanders to get to and from work, as well as other places they want to go.

Sound crazy? It’s not. If the 1980 Comp Plan could transform a city suffering from suburban flight and crumbling infrastructure into a destination city for tourists as well as newcomers looking for a place to call home … it’s entirely possible that the 2035 Comp Plan — built on the success of previous planning efforts and created with the benefit of more data and public involvement, and inspired by so many other forward-thinking cities — could successfully guide Portland well into the mid-21st century.

Thank you!

With the adoption of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan by City Council on June 15, 2016, Portland's long range plan for a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient Portland is on its way to the state for acknowledgement. And, thus, a reality.

Many thanks to the tens of thousands of community members who contributed to the plan. Just as with the 1980 Comp Plan, your contributions will be appreciated for generations to come.        

Portland’s City Council adopts the city’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan

Mayor and commissioners unanimously approve new land use plan to guide growth and development for the next 20 years; acknowledge contributions of community members

At roughly 2:50 p.m. today, Portland’s City Council made its final vote on the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, marking the end of an unprecedented era of planning and community involvement, as well as numerous Council and Planning and Sustainability Commission hearings, work sessions and votes.

One by one, Commissioners voted “aye,” each of them offering kudos to the plan and the process of its creation. Casting the final vote, Mayor Charlie Hales said, “Comp Plans may be wonky, but it’s really important: It determines how our city grows. The impacts of this plan will resonate for decades  even a century. It was critical we got this right, and I think we did. Many, many thanks to our hardworking staff and devoted community members who made this possible.” 

Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan builds on the best of Portland’s planning legacy while charting a smart path to a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient future. The Plan ensures the city will have more and better housing for residents of all ages, abilities and incomes. It helps increase middle-wage jobs while protecting the environment and human health as well as lowering carbon emissions. And it provides for healthier neighborhoods and improved transit options, particularly in East Portland and other underserved areas.

Growing Up Not Out
Over the next two decades, Portland will welcome 260,000 new residents and 140,000 new jobs. The new plan manages how Portland will grow — leveraging new resources to build more complete neighborhoods. This means well-designed development that complements and serves surrounding neighborhoods, improves walkability and safety, expands housing choice, strengthens business districts, protects air and water quality and our natural environment, and supports our investments in transit and active transportation.

Stated Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson, “There’s a reason people from around the world are coming to Portland. They want to experience Portland’s diverse neighborhoods and vibrant downtown, get around on our great transit system and bike boulevards, and stroll along the river.

“These great places wouldn’t be here if there hadn’t been a good plan — or several good plans — that articulated a vision for a highly livable city,” she added. “The 2035 Plan builds on the best ideas from the 1980 Comp Plan: linking land use and transportation; preserving our industrial economy; creating a strong central city with jobs as well as housing; and enhancing our great neighborhoods and lively business districts.”

The 2035 Comp Plan meets 21st-century challenges by:

  • Integrating public health goals with land use planning.
  • Protecting Portland’s air and water quality, habitats and natural resources.
  • Emphasizing schools as centers of community.
  • Synchronizing investments in housing, transit and other infrastructure.
  • Giving people more transportation choices.
  • Calling for significant City investment in brownfield cleanup, transportation systems and affordable housing.
  • Recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for Portland’s different geographies (e.g., hilly west side, East Portland, small-block, inner ring neighborhoods). 

Process and Public Involvement
“Early on in the planning process — as far back as the Portland Plan and visionPDX — the issue of equity was central to our discussions,” explained former Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) Chair André Baugh, who presided over most of the PSC meetings during the creation of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and the Portland Plan. “We wanted to make sure this plan considered the voices of all of Portland’s communities and incorporated an ‘equity lens’ to guide decision-making and land use changes.”

Extensive outreach was conducted throughout the multi-year planning process to gather input from Portland’s diverse communities, including renters, people of color and other historically underserved populations, older adults and people with disabilities. 

As a result, Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan has a crisp focus on equity. It features goals, policies and land use changes that address gentrification and displacement, integrate public health, allow for more housing types and create incentives for more affordable housing. The Plan also includes a refresh of the City’s public involvement program, adding more emphasis on engaging communities who have been historically under served and under represented such as communities of color, immigrants and refugees, and tenants. This refreshed program builds on Portland’s nationally recognized Neighborhood Association system and strong legacy of public involvement.

The new plan also acknowledges the importance of economic development in order to create jobs and maintain a healthy local economy. In particular, the plan calls for the City to maintain manufacturing and distribution jobs, because they serve as an upward mobility ladder for a large sector of the population — especially people of color and people without a college degree.

“Engaging with the business community and residents to create this plan has been exciting and gratifying,” said Katherine Schultz, current PSC chair. “Together we’ve focused on how to spur economic development in the Central City, along our main streets and in the industrial areas. We’ve also had many discussions about how to make Portland’s neighborhoods meet the needs of our growing and increasingly diverse population.”

What now?
With Council’s adoption, the plan moves onto the state for “acknowledgement.” This means that the Department of Land Conservation and Development will review the goals, policies and land use map to make sure that they comply with state land use goals. Implementation of the new plan is expected in early 2018.

Early Implementation projects for the new Comp Plan are moving through the Planning and Sustainability Commission. This includes updated zoning codes for commercial mixed use areas, and for college and hospital campuses. A public hearing on a new Zoning Map will be held on July 12. Check the PSC calendar for details

# # # 

City Council holds final work session on Comprehensive Plan amendments; prepares to vote to adopt Portland’s new 20-year land use plan

Commissioners made key decisions about land for jobs, middle housing and historic preservation

On Thursday, May 19, 2016, the Portland City Council held its final work session on Commissioner-sponsored amendments to the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Key votes included:

  • Adopting the “middle housing” amendment (#P45), which supports more housing types (e.g., rowhouses, townhouses, duplexes, cottage courtyards and ADUs) near centers and corridors and close to transit. (Learn more about middle housing.)
  • Accepting the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s recommendation to convert selected golf courses to industrial land in order to meet employment land needs.
  • Developing stronger language to protect historic resources. 

With these actions and a few others, Council completed the new Comprehensive Plan. You can view the Council work session on the Auditor’s website.

Next Commissioners will review “findings” and receive revised ordinances on June 9, followed by a final vote to adopt the City’s new Comprehensive Plan on June 15.

What’s a “finding”?

Oregon land use law requires that cities address multiple goals when creating or updating their comprehensive plans. For instance, Goal 1 addresses public involvement; Goal 9, employment land; and Goal 10, housing. Over the past several years, Portland’s planners have researched existing conditions and trends to determine the amount of land needed to accommodate housing and employment growth, and the transportation projects and other infrastructure needed to support this growth. Planners also looked at the amount of land that should be set aside for open space and the protection of the environment. Each of these examinations is guided by one of Oregon’s statewide planning goals.

The findings are “proof” that Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan meets statewide planning goals. The findings contain the facts and reasons explaining why the City Council adopted the plan it did.  

Upcoming City Council Actions

Accept Findings and Revised Ordinances
June 9, 3 p.m.
Council Chambers, City Hall
1221 SW Fourth Avenue

Adopt the 2035 Comprehensive Plan
June 15, 2 p.m.
Council Chambers, City Hall
1221 SW Fourth Avenue

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

Written testimony on the Mixed Use Zones Proposed Draft being accepted until May 24

Portlanders now have another week to provide feedback on proposed changes to commercial/mixed-use zones outside of the Central City

On Tuesday, May 10, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) hosted a large turnout of Portlanders for a public hearing on the Mixed Use Zones Proposed Draft. This hearing was continued to Tuesday, May 17, with more than 30 more Portlanders testifying on a variety of issues. At the conclusion of this hearing, Commissioners decided to hold the record open until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24 for written testimony on Zoning Code changes. The record for Zoning Map changes will remain open until July 12, when the PSC will hold a public hearing on the Composite Zoning Map Proposal.

The PSC invites testimony on this proposal through May 24, 2016, at 5 p.m. in writing:

  • Via the Map App: Testify on specific proposals by location through the Map App (click on Mixed Use Zones).
  • By Email:
  • By U.S. Mail: 
    Planning and Sustainability Commission
    City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
    1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201
    Attn: Mixed Use Zones testimony