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New long-range plan for the Central City on its way to City Council

After considering public testimony during multiple work sessions, the Planning and Sustainability Commission votes to recommend plan for the future of Portland's urban core

On May 23, 2017, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) met for the ninth and last Central City 2035 work session. But before taking a vote on the plan, Commissioners worked though several final amendments:   

  1. An existing North Pearl river setback provision. The river setback for a small strip of land between NE Naito and the riverfront, and the Broadway Bridge and the Fremont Bridge, will change from 25 to 50 feet. Staff also recommended removing the North Pearl setback to be consistent with the rest of the city. PSC affirmed staff’s recommendation.
  2. Additional discussion on temporary floating platforms. Staff proposed clarifying the recreational purpose of these in-river platforms. The Commission also supported an amendment to allow for more — but smaller — floating platforms so they can be grouped together in swimming areas.
  3. The relationship between burying the I-5 freeway on the eastside and the Broadway / Weidler project. The Commission briefly discussed Mayor Ted Wheeler’s interest in burying the I-5 freeway on the central eastside and how that would work with the Broadway / Weidler concepts developed through the N/NE Quadrant plan. Staff shared a 2012 concept that shows the two projects do not conflict.
  4. The Green Loop’s inclusion in the Central City. Commissioners discussed the importance of the Green Loop in the Central City and the need for this type of planning and investment in other parts of the city, especially East Portland.

Final PSC vote on the CC2035 Plan

The Commission voted 9 to 1 to support the plan and move it forward to City Council.  Commissioner Smith voted no because of the Broadway Wielder Transportation System Plan (TSP) project and made it clear that his “no” vote should not be misinterpreted as opposition to any other part of the plan.    

Next Steps

Project staff expect to release the CC2035 Recommended Draft to City Council on June 19, 2016. The public will have the summer to review the plan and prepare comments to City Council through the fall. 

Mark your calendar for the following public hearings on the CC2035 Plan. But be sure to check the project calendar for any change to dates and times:

  • September 7, 2 p.m.  
  • September 14, 2 p.m.  

Central City 2035 Update: Recap of April 11 work session and preview of final PSC Work Session on CC2035 Plan

The Planning and Sustainability Commission prepares for final vote on the Central City 2035 Plan on May 23.

On April 11, 2017, the Planning and Sustainability Commission met for the seventh CC2035 work session. Commissioners discussed floor area ratio (FAR) for new development in the Central City when Inclusionary Housing is triggered. They also reviewed a policy amendment to support freeway capping and a standard for temporary swimming platforms in the Willamette River.  

Floor area ratio and Inclusionary Housing

Projects that trigger the Inclusionary Housing requirements earn bonus floor area to help offset the cost of building affordable housing. Commissioners and staff discussed three options for calculating the bonus FAR by project. The PSC supported staff’s recommendation. Read more about the options and PSC’s recommendation (click "Download").

Floating platforms in the river

Staff presented a new standard for temporary swimming platforms in the Willamette. These platforms would be anchored offshore for the river swimming season, then removed and stored during the colder months. The PSC had questions about the allowed uses on the docks and who would be permitted to install them. Staff will return to the PSC to discuss this further at their May 23 meeting. 

Last PSC work session and final vote (Note the new temporary location: CH2M Building Lincoln Room: 2020 SW 4th Ave, first floor)

The final planned PSC work session will be on May 23. Project staff will ask the Commission to take a final vote on the entire CC2035 Plan package as amended and forward it on to City Council as their Recommended Draft. Three discussion items will proceed the final vote including:

  1. An existing North Pearl river setback provision.
  2. Additional discussion on temporary floating docks carried over from the April 11 meeting.
  3. A discussion about burying the I-5 freeway on the eastside and its relationship to the Central City Broadway Weilder project. 

You can review the meeting materials and watch the worksession on our YouTube channel (including streaming live).

Central City 2035 Update: Preview of Final PSC Work Session on CC2035 Plan

The next and last Planning and Sustainability Commission work session is scheduled for April 11

After a June 2016 public release, a multi-evening summer public hearing process and seven work sessions through the fall and winter, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will hold its final work session about the city’s new plan for Portland’s urban core.

On April 11 the PSC will finish its discussion about how floor area ratio (FAR) is allocated when inclusionary housing is triggered, especially on large multi-block sites. The Commission discussed this topic at length on March 14 and asked staff to do some additional analysis for them to consider. 

The PSC will also talk about a proposed standard for temporary swimming platforms. These platforms would be anchored off shore for the river swimming season and then removed and stored. 

The meeting materials for these topics are available here.

Coming up: The vote!

On May 23 the Commission will vote on the final CC2035 Plan as amended. 

Please check the PSC calendar to confirm dates, times and other details prior to the event. You can also view the work session (streamed live or recorded) on the BPS YouTube channel. For more information about the work sessions, please visit the CC2035 PSC work session overview page.

Meeting playbacks 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.

CC2035 Work Session Recap: March 14 Planning and Sustainability Commission discussion

The PSC reviews final issues about the bonus and transfer system

On March 14, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) met for the seventh work session on the Central City 2035 Plan. The focus was on amendments related to the bonus and transfer system, FAR and height, and the master plan provision.

Bonuses and Transfers

They first discussed needed changes to the bonus and transfer system in the Central City in light of the Inclusionary Housing program that went into effect on Feb. 1, 2017. Staff presented a revised bonus and transfer system that would prioritize two affordable housing bonuses and a few specialized bonuses specific to the riverfront, the South Waterfront Greenway and industrial uses in the Central Eastside. It would also expand the historic resource transfer to require seismic upgrades but also provide additional floor area to historic properties to help support the cost of these upgrades. A new transfer within a subdistrict will also be created.

While they supported most of the proposed amendments, they asked staff to bring back a refinement to the affordable housing bonus and how it’s calculated and implemented for projects that trigger inclusionary housing. Staff will return with an amendment for discussion on April 11.

Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and Height

The project team also brought proposals forward to increase floor area ratio (FAR) and height in the North Pearl and Riverplace. The idea is to make these key redevelopment sites eligible for a better inclusionary housing incentive package and help ensure the production of more residential development and affordable housing. Commissioners agreed to increase FAR from 4:1 to 5:1 in the North Pearl and Riverplace area. However, they did not support capping the currently unlimited heights in the North Pearl at 350 feet.  

Master Plan Definition

Finally, the Commission tentatively approved updates to how a master plan site is defined in the code so that multiple sites within a master plan boundary are considered one site.

Next Up

The next work session is scheduled for April 11. The final work session is now scheduled for May 23, when the PSC is expected to vote to recommend the CC2035 Plan to City Council. Watch for updates about both meetings.    

Central City 2035 Update: Recap of February 28 PSC work session; preview of March 14 work session

Only a couple more work sessions to go before the Planning and Sustainability Commission votes to recommend the CC2035 Plan to City Council.

On February 28, 2017, the Planning and Sustainability (PSC) held its sixth work session on the Central City 2035 (CC2035) Plan. They discussed the following key items.

Broadway/Weidler I-5 Interchange

Project Commissioner Chris Smith proposed an amendment to remove the Broadway/Weidler I-5 Interchange Project from the Transportation System Plan project list, which is a component of the CC2035 Plan. His primary rationale was that it was the largest single investment in the TSP, and it would make driving easier. This would be counterproductive to the City's goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled in accordance with the Climate Action Plan.

Commissioners discussed this for more than an hour. While they understood Commissioner Smith’s perspective, the majority finally voted not to support his amendment. Then Commissioner Baugh proposed a new action item to clarify the City’s position in the Broadway/Weidler discussions. These conditions included: 

  • Freeway lid – Ensuring that the final project continued to contain all of the project elements including the freeway lids, a future east-west pedestrian and bicycle bridge, as well as new bridge connections that include high-quality pedestrian and bicycle facilities and improved signalized crossings.
  • Equity Strategy – Development of a City Council-supported equity strategy that addresses issues specifically related to the Broadway/Weidler I-5 Interchange project, including historically African American community impacts, low-income housing solutions, and benefits to minority and women-owned businesses.
  • Funding – Transparency and public discussion about the City of Portland’s funding sources. City funding will be limited to multimodal aspects of the project and shall not reduce planned investments to implement Vision Zero or increase safety and livability in East Portland.

Commissioners supported this language and also voted to add:

  • Congestion and climate actions – Encourage ODOT and PBOT to look at congestion pricing and transportation demand management (TDM) options to mitigate climate impact.

Transferring FAR from surface parking lots

At an earlier PSC work session on February 14, commissioners asked staff to come back with language that would prohibit FAR (floor area ratio) transfers from surface parking lots but allow developed areas of a site to transfer FAR. This is intended to encourage redevelopment of surface parking lots.

Staff brought a proposal that addressed the PSC request. They also reminded commissioners that historic and conservation landmarks and contributing resources in historic districts receive an additional 3:1 of FAR, which can be transferred (or sold) offsite as part of proposed updates to the historic resource transfer (33.510.205.D.1). Revenue from the sale should help defray some additional costs of seismic upgrades for these historic properties. After some discussion, the PSC voted to accept the staff-proposed amendment.

You can watch videos of past PSC meetings on the BPS YouTube channel by clicking on the appropriate date. 

Upcoming work sessions and agendas

On March 14, the PSC will hold its seventh work session on CC2035. The following items are on the agenda for that meeting:

  • Bonuses and Transfers – Staff-proposed amendments necessary to implement the Inclusionary Housing program and response to public testimony on bonus and transfer options
  • Master Plan – Proposed amendments to the master plan provisions
  • FAR – A stakeholder-proposed amendment that would allow more FAR in the Central City

The meeting materials for these topics are available here.

On April 11, the PSC will hold its final planned work session on CC2035. At that meeting, staff expect to bring final amendments to the Commission. They will ask commissioners to vote on the entire CC2035 Plan package, which will then be forwarded on to City Council as their Recommended Draft. Please check the PSC calendar to confirm dates, times and other details prior to the event. You can also view the work session on the BPS YouTube channel. For more information about the work sessions, please visit the PSC CC2035 work session overview page.

Meetings are streamed live on YouTube.

Meeting playbacks 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.