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Portlanders get familiar with the draft Central City 2035 Plan at open houses and drop-in hours

Community members learn about bike improvements, the Green Loop, new height limits, parking, the river and more

Portlanders got a chance to talk to city planners about the future of the city’s urban core during open houses and drop-in sessions in early March, coinciding with the release of the Central City 2035 Discussion Draft.

More than 70 people attended open houses on both sides of the river, and even more had the opportunity to learn about the plan during drop-in hours over the course of two weeks. Project staff also attended more than 40 meetings with neighborhood associations, property owners, and others throughout the Central City. They shared information and answered questions about the CC2035 Plan, gathering input on the Discussion Draft. Public feedback will inform the development of a Proposed Draft, which will be the subject of a public hearing before the Planning and Sustainability Commission on June 14, 2016.

What we’ve heard so far…

At drop-ins, meetings and open houses, staff heard about a wide variety of topics. Some of these are summarized below.

  • Questions about how maximum building heights are determined and how the City is protecting important public views. Height comments also supported both taller and shorter buildings in different parts of the Central City.
  • Interest in how the plan proposes to improve parking, particularly in the Central Eastside.
  • Strong interest in the transportation elements of the plan, particularly in improving specific streets for bicycles and pedestrians.
  • Excitement about the “big ideas” such as the Green Loop concept, a small version of which was on display at the events.
  • Support for goals and policies that would result in more trees, particularly on the east side of the Willamette River.
  • Interest in learning more about sustainable building elements of the plan, such as requiring ecoroofs and more flexibility with the green building standards.

Tell us what you think! Join the conversation.

Experience the open house with our Online Open House. Review and comment on the CC2035 Discussion Draft before March 31, 2016 by:

The Central City 2035 Plan Discussion Draft is released, revealing a fresh vision for the heart of the city just in time for Valentine’s Day

This new long-range plan for Portland’s urban core includes goals, policies, maps and code to ensure a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient Central City for all.

At the heart of the city and the region, Portland’s Central City is home to more than 32,000 people and 123,000 jobs in less than five square miles. From the West End and Lloyd to South Downtown and the Central Eastside, its 10 different neighborhoods offer residents, employees and visitors a variety of cultural, educational, employment and recreational opportunities.

But as Portland grows, becomes more diverse and experiences the effects of climate change, the city’s center will face new and increasing challenges.

The Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035) aims to meet those challenges, while improving and building upon past plans and traditions. The Plan lays the groundwork for a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient Central City, where people can collaborate, innovate and create a better future together.


Review the CC2035 Discussion Draft

Key Elements of the Plan

A place to call home…

More and more people are calling Central City their home. With the transformation of the Pearl District into a thriving, walkable neighborhood, we know the Central City can be more than just a place to work, go to school or recreate. It’s actually a really great place to live. Other Central City neighborhoods are poised to become similarly vibrant (think South Waterfront and the Lloyd District), with housing close to jobs, shops, restaurants, transit, parks and other amenities.

Today, roughly 30 percent of the housing in the city center is affordable. The new plan aims to maintain this percentage with a bonus system to spur the construction of more affordable housing.

Employment Center for the Region

The Plan supports economic development strategies and programs to facilitate economic growth in the Central City. It builds on the connection — created by Tilikum Crossing — between the emerging industries in the Central Eastside with OHSU and PSU and encourages a range of businesses to locate in the area, particularly technology and research/development firms.

What was initially allowed as an interim use on underutilized surface parking lots, food carts have become small business stepping stones and a part of Portland's vibrant culture. The plan recognizes the value of food carts to the economy and calls for developing a strategy to accommodate them in other ways, as surface parking lots transform into mixed use buildings with retail, office and residential units. New transportation infrastructure will support residents, businesses and freight operations. And new land use tools will help expand commerce on and along the Willamette River.

New Bonus and Transfer System

The City’s priorities for affordable housing and historic preservation get a boost with the Plan, which capitalizes on more floor area (FAR) and height — but protects iconic views of Mt. Hood and other treasured sites with firm height limits. The Plan creates a new affordable housing fund and bonus that creates fees to be spent on creating more units for people of all ages and incomes.

Green Loop

For casual cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, a proposed six-mile open space path around the Central City (outside the Greenway Trail) will offer people a chance to stroll, run or ride bikes through parks and neighborhood business districts. The “Green Loop” is part of a larger effort to repurpose public rights-of-way into community spaces. It will connect many of the city’s civic and cultural institutions and link Downtown’s iconic park sequences to the rest of Portland.

21st-century Central Eastside

The 2035 Plan also lays the groundwork for the Innovation Quadrant in the southern end of the Central City, where industry in the Central Eastside Industrial District and academic researchers at OHSU, PSU and others can collaborate and thrive. The Plan can spur new job opportunities for workers with a variety of different interests, skills and education levels and improves access to growing high tech, light manufacturing and software jobs. This will be achieved largely through increased job densities with more flexible employment zones in the Central Eastside.

Height and Views

Finally, the Plan retains the successful building height pattern from 1970 but allows taller buildings along the Transit Mall (SW 5th and 6th streets). It will protect public view corridors of treasured sites like Mt. Hood from viewpoints at Tilikum Crossing and other key vantage points. It establishes height limits and new regulations within historic districts to ensure compatibility with existing historic character. And it retains the basic “step down” to the Willamette River, parks and adjacent neighborhoods, but allows greater height around bridgeheads to increase development potential and activate the waterfront. See the CC2035 MapApp for site-specific information about height and FAR. 

Willamette River and the Environment

New land use tools will help protect, provide access to and activate the Willamette River and its banks. The Plan includes a bonus to allow more development height in exchange for riverfront open space, applies an environmental overlay, expands the river setback, and allows some small retail structures in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. 

Learn more. Join the conversation.

To learn more about the draft Plan, Portlanders are invited to view it online, attend an open house on either the east or west side of the Willamette River … and more.

Attend an open house:

  City of Portland Bldg 1900 SW 4th Ave Olympic Mills Bldg107 SE Washington St
Ongoing lobby displays; staff available daily 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Feb 22 – 26 Feb 29 – March 4
Open houses with breakout sessions to dig into complex topics Feb 24, 4 – 7 p.m. March 2, 4 – 7 p.m.

Community meetings: Staff will be visiting neighborhood associations, business and trade associations, and other groups during February and March. View the project calendar to see details for scheduled meetings.

Request a meeting or presentation: We will do our best to attend meetings upon request. Email us at to request a presentation.

Comment on the CC2035 Discussion Draft
Your feedback is welcome from February 9 – March 31, 2016.

Subsequent drafts of the plan and public hearings

Staff will consider comments on the Discussion Draft as they develop a Proposed Draft for the Planning and Sustainability Commission, which will hold public hearings in June. The PSC will vote to recommend a draft to City Council, and more hearings will be heard in front of that body in the fall.

Questions? Contact the Central City Team: 503-823-4286, 

City Council approves long-range plan to guide growth and development in Portland’s Central Eastside

With a supply-side solution to providing land for jobs, the plan ensures this unique industrial district will remain a viable location for manufacturing, industrial services and emerging technologies.

Central Eastside

One public comment at the July 29th meeting supported the City’s intent to collaborate with private property owners to create publicly accessible parks in the Central Eastside including this space near the Morrison Bridgehead.

On Wednesday, July 29, 2015, Portland City Council voted 4-0 to adopt the SE Quadrant Plan (full video; click on July 29, PM in the left hand navigation bar). Testimony overwhelmingly supported the plan's balance between supporting the growth of the district while reinforcing protections for industrial businesses. Members of the SE Quadrant Stakeholder Advisory Committee, business owners, land owners and representatives from nonprofits spoke about the plan’s strengths and how it could be improved.

Transportation strategies affirmed

The Portland Freight Committee, Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Pedestrian Advisory Committee testified in support of the plan. In addition, several industrial business owners reaffirmed support for both freight and bicycle circulation enhancements proposed by the plan, especially those that reduce conflicts between modes. Some also expressed enthusiasm for the Central Eastside portion of the Green Loop as a safer route for employees and visitors to bike through and to the district.

Land use tools support small businesses and craft manufacturers

The majority of testimony at City Council supported the expansion of the Employment Opportunity Subarea (EOS) throughout the rest of the district. The EOS, which would be expanded from 48 acres to 248 acres, will allow new and emerging industrial sectors such as digital industrial design, software and web design and maintenance, high tech and bioscience development, as well as traditional industrial sectors to co-exist. Although a few testifiers continued to express concern about how much change the EOS may mean for the district, Mayor Charlie Hales stated he was “cautiously optimistic that this is the right set of strategies” for the district that will help to “create more space and, therefore, maybe a little less competition for what's there now."

Final quadrant plan adopted

The SE Quadrant Plan was the last of three quadrant plans to be adopted (by resolution) by City Council in the City’s multi-year effort to update the Central City Plan. Now Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff will begin folding the policies, implementing actions and zoning proposals from all the quadrant plans and other input into a final document that will be called Central City 2035 (CC2035). A CC2035 Discussion Draft will be released for review in late 2015, followed by a Proposed Draft that will be submitted to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC). The PSC will hold public hearings before a vote to recommend the plan to City Council. 

Read the Adopted Southeast Quadrant Plan – guidance for the Central City 2035 Plan.

City Council Holds First Public Hearing on SE Quadrant Plan

Second hearing on July 29 will allow more people a chance to testify

City Hall

On Wednesday, July 8, 2015, City Council held its first public hearing on the SE Quadrant Plan (full video; click on July 8, PM in the left hand navigation bar). Members of the SE Quadrant Stakeholder Advisory Committee, business owners, land owners and representatives from nonprofits spoke about the plan’s strengths and how it could be improved. There was broad support for the plan's balance between supporting the growth of the district while reinforcing protections for industrial businesses.

Transportation strategies affirmed

Representatives from two of Portland’s three modal advisory committees ― the Portland Freight Committee and Bicycle Advisory Committee ― testified in support of the plan. In addition to reaffirming the freight and bicycle designations in the existing Transportation System Plan and Bike Master Plan, the SE Quadrant Plan proposes enhancing separate routes for freight trucks and bikes to improve safety and comfort for each. Their support was echoed by the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC).

Property owners and neighborhood associations expressed enthusiasm for the Central Eastside portion of the Green Loop, if conflicts with freight operations can be addressed. The Green Loop is a signature urban design concept that would provide a safe and comfortable pedestrian and bike route around the Central City and link open spaces, tree canopy and pedestrian amenities.

Land use tools for small businesses and craft manufacturers

As at the Planning and Sustainability Commission hearing, the majority of testimony at City Council supported the expansion of the Employment Opportunity Subarea (EOS) throughout the rest of the district. Staff believe that expanding the EOS will create more locations for industrial businesses currently competing for limited real estate in the Central Eastside. Increasing the supply of this type of land should lower demand and stabilize lease rates for all sectors as a result.

At the hearing, a longtime business and property owner in the Central Eastside asked Council to ensure that traditional industry is a priority in the plan. And two members of the Portland Made group asked commissioners to consider the impacts of the EOS proposal on Portland’s growing craft manufacturing community. Based on this input, Councilors are crafting amendments to the plan that will be discussed at the upcoming hearing (details below).

Second City Council hearing

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 2 p.m.
Portland City Council
Council Chambers (City Hall, 2nd Floor)
1221 SW 4th Avenue

Members of the public are invited to propose further amendments for Council’s consideration.

  • Those who signed up but were unable to testify at the July 8 hearing will be invited to speak first at the hearing.
  • Those who testified at the July 8 meeting will only be able to testify on new amendments to the plan, which will be published on this website prior to the hearing.

Recommended Draft Southeast Quadrant Plan Gets Nine Thumbs Up

Planning and Sustainability Commission votes to send the plan to City Council; public invited to testify at public hearing on July 8

OMSI Station Area

The OMSI Station Area wedged between the Willamette River and the OR-99 viaduct was a key topic at the recent Planning and Sustainability Commission work session. Photo courtesy of TriMet.

On June 9, 2015, after holding a briefing, public hearing and work session, the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission voted unanimously to recommend that City Council adopt the Southeast Quadrant Plan. During briefings and work sessions from April through early June, commissioners worked with Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff to revise the draft, including policies and actions to:

  • Support the growth of existing and new industrial businesses throughout the district.
  • Strengthen Willamette River-related policies that enhance habitat, increase public access and support climate change adaptation goals.
  • Strengthen tree canopy and public open space strategies.
  • Establish a pilot program in response to existing parking needs to allow existing privately owned parking facilities to be “shared” by district businesses and residents.
  • Allow OMSI Station Area property owners to retain their ability to develop housing if stringent conditions are met, such as addressing impacts to adjacent industrial businesses and on the transportation system.

Portlanders can testify at a public hearing on this new plan to help the Central Eastside thrive as a 21st-century employment district and transit hub, with cultural attractions and access to the Willamette River.

On July 8, 2015, City Council will hold a public hearing on a non-binding resolution to adopt the Southeast Quadrant Plan. The adopted plan will be integrated with the N/NE and West Quadrant plans and other input into a Central City 2035 Plan, which will then be the subject of public hearings before both the Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council in 2016.

The public is invited to testify on the SE Quadrant Recommended Draft at the City Council hearing.

Public Hearing, Southeast Quadrant Plan – Testimony Welcome

July 8, 2015, 3 p.m.
Portland City Council
Council Chambers (City Hall, 2nd Floor) 
1221 SW 4th Avenue

How to give testimony

You can share your feedback on the plan with City Council in several ways:

  1. Testify in person at the hearing (see details below)

  2. Submit written testimony
    Attn: Council Clerk
    1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 140
    Portland, OR 97204

  3. FAX or Email comments to 503-823-4571 or Written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing and must include your name and address.

Guidance for testifying in person

  • Arrive early to sign up and get instructions on how testimony will be heard.
  • The normal allotted time to testify is 3 minutes, however, it may be necessary to limit the time to 2 minutes or less if there are many people.
  • Testifiers can provide the City Councilors with printed materials. Please provide 8 copies.
  • Testifiers are allowed to show PowerPoint presentations or other slides but they must use the laptop provided at the testimony table, advance their own slides, and it has to be done within their allotted 2-3 minutes. It’s helpful if you submit files before the meeting as there is usually not enough time to load it and get a copy for the record once public testimony begins.

Download council documents

Southeast Quadrant Plan – Recommended Draft

The plan is provided as a large ~28 MB file and divided into chapters. The same material can be found in both. If you are having trouble downloading the larger file, please try downloading the individual sections.


The SE Quadrant Plan includes goals, policies and actions that will guide growth and development in the Central Eastside over the next 20 years. This area includes the Central Eastside Industrial District, East Portland Grand Ave Historic District, new OMSI and Clinton MAX station areas and the Eastside Riverfront.

The plan proposes changes to land use regulations and the transportation system to strengthen the industrial sanctuary. It will also increase employment densities, encourage investment, protect historic resources, establish more amenities for employees and residents, and help minimize conflicts between industrial and other operations.

The plan has been endorsed by the SE Quadrant Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee after 14 meetings, multiple subcommittee meetings, tours, neighborhood association meetings and two open house events.