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The Central City 2035 Plan is now in effect!

The Bureau of Development Services is now accepting development applications subject to the new zoning and code.

After many years in the making, a new long-range plan for growth and development in the central city plan is in effect.

On June 6, City Council voted to adopt the CC2035 Plan. Since then, the City of Portland has received two notices of intent to appeal Council’s decision. Once the City submits the required documents to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), the appellants will be required to describe the nature of their appeals.

But as of Monday, July 9, 2018, the newly adopted plan is in effect, and the Bureau of Development Services is ready to accept development applications.   

Sections of the code you might be interested in:

And the associated Administrative Rules:

To look a particular property, please visit Portland Maps

It’s official! Portland has a new long-range plan for the Central City

The CC2035 Plan establishes a new generation of goals and tools to ensure the city center becomes an even more thriving economic, cultural, educational and recreational hub for the region over the next 20+ years.

Yesterday afternoon (June 6), the Portland City Council voted three to one to adopt the Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035), with Saltzman absent and Fritz dissenting. 

The new long-range plan for growth and development builds on the City’s good planning over the years. Council also voted to adopt ordinances for the RiverPlace area, environmental and scenic resources, as well as the green loop and action plans to implement the plan. The new plan becomes effective on July 9, 2018.

“What this plan does differently,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler, “is that it sets the stage for more affordable housing, increased resilience in the face of climate change, more and better jobs through a synergistic mix of old and new industry in the central eastside, better protection of our iconic scenic views and deeper focus on our greatest natural feature – the Willamette River.”

Chief Planner Joe Zehnder emphasized, “The success of the Central City is vital to the success of all of Portland. We must meet our goals to be a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient city – not just downtown – but citywide. We cannot do one without the other.”

While comprising only 3 percent of the city’s land, roughly 30 percent of the city’s residential growth will occur in the Central City by 2035. CC2035 will ensure the Central City helps meet our housing needs. The area already has the region’s greatest concentration of affordable housing units. And with inclusionary zoning in place, a significant share of this residential growth will be affordable for low-income households.

CC2035 will also ensure that the Central City becomes even more of an employment and educational hub for households all over the city. 

Portland has a long tradition of visionary planning for the Central City. Previous plans resulted in the transformation of Harbor Drive into Waterfront Park, a parking garage into Pioneer Courthouse Square, and brownfields into The Pearl District and South Waterfront.

Commissioners reflect on the Plan

Commissioner Fish acknowledged that creating big plans like CC2035 involves difficult choices and tradeoffs. He praised the environmental components of the plan but said that he continues “to feel a certain amount of regret that this extraordinary process ended on a sour note with a decision about Old Town/Chinatown.” He pledged that in the future he would “be vigilant to ensure that there will be no adverse impact on Lan Su Chinese Garden” and called on the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to revisit the issue when the bureau updates its Central City Fundamental Design Guidelines.

Commissioner Eudaly joked that “this has been a crash course in planning, and I’ll be applying for college credits.” She thanked staff and community members for helping her get up to speed. “I think we as a body share the same goals and values as the community. We don’t necessarily agree how to get there, but I think this is a reasonable road map.”

Then she said, “When I would get bogged down in the details, I tried to think 100 years from now. Our fingerprints are going to be all over the city. I can only strive to make choices that are beneficial to Portlanders a century from now.”

Commissioner Fritz thanked the staff, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, the Design and Historic Landmarks commissions, other City staff, the many advisory committees and community members who participated in the planning process over the years. She identified some highlights of the plan: It would increase housing supply by 2,000 units (above the 37,000 additional units already allowed) and allow density transfers from open space to developable properties.  

But ultimately, Commissioner Fritz could not vote to adopt the Plan because of last-minute amendments to increase height in New Chinatown/Japantown. Of Council’s decision to increase height in the historic district and potential shading of Lan Su Chinese Gardens, Fritz said, “This isn’t about garden visitors enjoying the afternoon sun. It’s about the rare/endangered species of plants and fish in the koi pond.”

Mayor Wheeler praised BPS staff for their understanding of the issues, creativity, and research and analytical skills that allowed City Council to find the best solutions to address the issues. “But, most importantly, their ability to work through those issues with the public, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, and City Council,” he said. “You (BPS) spent a lot of time with stakeholders to make sure CC2035 embodies the best thinking and planning Portlanders have to offer.”

He recognized that some Council decisions were controversial and that Lan Su dominated the final conversations. He pointed out that, “few knew when we started the plan that properties next to the garden could be 425 feet tall. We are reducing that height by more than half. … I care deeply about the Lan Su Garden. This is an important asset to all of us. And I second my colleagues’ comments about vigilance in the future to protect it.”

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New long-range land use and development plan for the heart of the city poised for adoption

What does the Central City 2035 Plan promise for Portlanders and the region?

Riddle me this … By 2035, what will house 95,000 residents in 64,000 households and provide 174,000 jobs?

Answer: Portland’s Central City. Which will absorb 30 percent of Portland’s population growth and welcome 50,000 new jobs in the next 20 years.

And there’s a plan for how to manage all that growth and development, while making the nearly four square miles of Portland’s urban core more vibrant and active for those who live, work and visit the region’s cultural and economic hub.

It’s called Central City 2035, and the Portland City Council will vote to adopt the plan on Wednesday, June 6 at 2 p.m. Watch it live or later on, when you have the time.

Here are some highlights of the plan:

  • The Green Loop – Perhaps the most transformative idea that came out of the planning process, the Green Loop offers a new way for people to be in the Central City … active, safe and fun. It’s a six-mile linear park for people of all ages and abilities to connect to places and each other all around the Central City. It was the star attraction at 2017 Design Week and is this year’s featured Sunday Parkways route.The Green Loop is quintessentially Portland: natural and urban, creative and entrepreneurial, sustainable and dynamic. It will support businesses, restaurants and stores along the route, while improving access to places where people can get the staples and support they need. And it will reconfirm Portland's commitment to greater access to parks and active transportation. In turn, the Green Loop can become an iconic symbol of a city that values and supports all people: residents, workers, students and visitors of all ages, shapes and sizes, origins and incomes.
  • The River – If the Green Loop circles the heart of the Central City, the Willamette River flows right through the middle of the urban core. It’s a waterway for commerce, a home for fish and wildlife, and a recreator’s dream. CC2035 ensures that it will remain healthy even as access for swimmers, boaters, paddlers and foot danglers increases. The new plan also ensures greater protection for the riverbanks, while allowing for small retail kiosks in strategic locations to serve more people as they enjoy this wonderful natural resource.
  • Central Eastside and the Innovation Quadrant – There’s a lot going on in the southern end of the city center. On both sides of Tilikum Crossing, new buildings are going up on previously fallow land (South Waterfront) and in once sleepy industrial areas (Central Eastside). This part of the Central City is alive with possibilities and potential – to cure diseases, create the next generation of apps, and cultivate new artists and makers. CC2035 has prepared the soil of this Garden of Industrious Eden. And as more businesses and enterprises set up shop in this unique area, more people will be able to work near all the amenities the city center can provide.

Top Ten things to know about CC2035

Good density

The Central City is the densest area in the city and the region. That’s by design. It’s Portland’s largest complete neighborhood, with lots of housing, amenities and transportation options.

It has the densest concentration of:

  • Office space in the region and a range of jobs and employment spaces in different districts ranging from Downtown, Lloyd, South Waterfront and Central Eastside.
  • Regional and cultural attractions in the state, including the Oregon Convention Center, the Moda Center, the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Providence Park, Keller Auditorium and the Oregon Historical Society.
  • Housing (affordable and market rate) in the region, offering the widest array of housing choices for those with the greatest need. The CC2035 Plan includes a new inclusionary housing bonus that will ensure a percentage of the 37,000 new units expected over the next 20 years will be affordable.
  • Social service facilities in the region, serving many of the most vulnerable Portlanders.

A true 21st century city  

With Council’s adoption of CC2035, Portland’s urban core is poised to continue to be a thriving economic, cultural, educational and recreational hub of the region for the next 20+ years … carrying on the tradition of previous planning efforts. From transforming Harbor Drive into Waterfront Park and a parking garage into Pioneer Square. Or transforming brownfields into The Pearl District and South Waterfront. And connecting the east and west sides of the river with a transit, bike and pedestrian-only bridge.  

Learn more about the legacy of planning in the Central City

City Council begins voting on new plan for growth and development in the Central City

On May 24, Commissioners approved changes and technical amendments to the CC2035 Revised Recommended Draft; considered new amendments.

Portland’s City Council moved the Central City 2035 Plan closer to adoption this week. Since the last Council session on the Plan, staff integrated all the decisions that Council made over the last year into a new Revised Recommended Draft and associated ordinances, resolutions and other documentation.

On May 24, Commissioners approved these changes and several technical amendments that staff identified during the final drafting process. 

New Chinatown/Japantown decision

In addition, council voted 3 to 2 to approve a new amendment to change height limits on four and a half blocks in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District to 200 feet. This amendment included what is known as Block 33, a surface parking lot between NW Couch and Davis between 4th & 5th, and four blocks in the northern part of the district near the Lan Siu Chinese Garden. 

Heights for the western half of Block 33 would increase from a previously approved bonus height of 160 feet to a bonus height of 200 feet. Heights for four northern blocks in the historic district went from a base height of 160 to 200 feet with no opportunity to gain bonus height.

Council’s vote also approved an increase in base FAR from 6:1 to 9:1 for Block 33, if all floors above the ground floor on the western half of the block are developed for residential use.

While preparing for the Council session, staff identified an additional amendment necessary to ensure that a shadow study would be required for any development adjacent to the Lan Siu Chinese Garden. Council will continue their discussion of and vote on this amendment on May 30. 

Read the addendum to amendments document.  

Green Loop rides on

At the end of the day Thursday, Council took a more celebratory tone as they voted on the Green Loop resolution. The Green Loop emerged from the community process that helped create the CC2035 Plan and has engaged the imagination of Portlanders ever since. A six-mile linear park around the Central City, the Green Loop would provide a safe and easy-to-navigate car-free pathway for rollers, strollers and cyclists through the myriad neighborhoods and districts within the Central City.   

Introducing the Green Loop resolution, Mayor Ted Wheeler said it would add to the network of great places in the Central City and integrate with new development on the Post Office site as well as OMSI’s redevelopment of its riverfront campus.

“It will connect Central City destinations and neighborhoods like the Park Blocks, Portland Art Museum, PSU, South Waterfront and the Moda Center,” he said. “And like all great public spaces and parks, it promises to bring Portlanders together to share an exciting new common space.”  

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson, PBOT’s Art Pierce, Go Lloyd’s Transit Program Manager Jenny Taylor and Wade Lange, vice president/regional manager for American Asset Trust, also spoke enthusiastically about the Green Loop.

Watch the video of the Council session and the Green Loop resolution vote. (Green Loop starts at 2:22:15.)

Next Steps

Council will hold another session on May 30 at 10:15 a.m., time certain, to discuss the shadow study amendment. Final vote on the plan is still scheduled for June 6 at 2 p.m., time certain. Plan goes into effect on July 9.

City Council poised to adopt Central City 2035

Council to consider a few final amendments and prepare for final adoption

At 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, City Council will begin the final adoption process for CC2035. While some of the actions Commissioners take will be primarily procedural, they will also consider a few final amendments to the long-range plan for the Central City.

Most of the amendments are minor and technical items that staff identified while preparing the final documents; however, one amendment is to increase height and FAR in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District.

Read the amendments and the Revised Recommended Draft:  

How did we get here?

The CC2035 Plan has been under development for several years. This is the final step in a public process that involved thousands of Portlanders. The new plan is built on foundational studies and interim plans, including:

  • A Concept Plan
  • Individual plans for the N/NE, West and SE quadrants of the Central City
  • A Bonus and Transfer study
  • The Natural Resource and Scenic Resource Inventory
  • The Willamette Greenway Inventory
  • The Willamette River Urban Design Concept, which led to the development of a Swimming Study and the Eastbank Riverfront Plan. 

Numbers to note

Here are some “fun facts” for the final CC2035 planning process:

  • The Planning and Sustainability Commission held two public hearings and 12 work sessions.  
  • City Council held seven public hearings and 14 meetings/worksessions.
  • In all, more than 1,600 people testified or submitted written testimony on both the Proposed (760 people) and Recommended (972 people) drafts of the Plan.

This background information and public input served as guidance for the development of the Central City 2035 Plan as it evolved over several iterations:  

  • CC2035 Discussion Draft (published February 2016)
  • CC2035 Proposed Draft (published June 2016)
  • CC2035 Recommended Draft (published June 2017)
  • CC2035 Revised Recommended Draft (published May 2018)

This final Revised Recommended Draft incorporates the amendments that City Council made to the plan since they began their review in September 2017.

Here’s the vote!

City Council will be voting to adopt the following documents as they prepare to vote to adopt CC2035 on May 24:

Volume 1: Goals and Policies
The long-range vision for the Central City.

Volume 2A: Zoning Code and Map Amendments
Regulations to implement the plan.

Volume 2B: Transportation System Plan Amendments
Transportation-related policies, performance targets, and street classification maps.

Volume 3A: Scenic Resources Protection Plan
Scenic inventory, analysis and results.

Volume 3B: Willamette River Central Reach Natural Resources Protection Plan (no amendments)
Natural Resource Inventory for the Willamette River Central Reach.

Volume 4: Background Materials (no amendments)
Prior plans and research provided for reference.

Volume 5: Implementation Plan
The City's targets and the actions it will take to implement the Plan.

Volume 6: Public Involvement (no amendments)
Information about the public involvement process that gave rise to the Recommended Draft.

Next Steps

At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, City Council will take their final vote to adopt the plan. (Cheers!) This new plan and all its associated regulations are expected to go into effect on July 9, 2018.