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Green Loop concept gets the green light from City Council

Commissioners vote unanimously to move the concept for a linear park in the heart of the city forward.

Last Thursday, May 24, 2018, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to endorse a resolution supporting the advancement of the Green Loop. The six-mile linear park around the city center was a “big idea” in the Central City 2035 Plan, which was adopted in full on Wednesday, June 6. The plan goes into effect on July 9, 2018.

As Commissioners prepared to vote, Mayor Ted Wheeler proclaimed, “The Green Loop is a fantastic vision, and I look forward to seeing it – perhaps not completed during my tenure – but I’d certainly like to see it well underway.” He went on to say that the Green Loop is an “extraordinary asset to the city,” and praised the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff’s early leadership and advocacy.

“It’s always hard to be the pointy end of the spear,” he acknowledged, “but at the end of the day, everyone will show up and say you were right.”

Commissioner Dan Saltzman called it a visionary project that will connect Portlanders in a way they haven’t been before. “And it will redefine how we keep our residents safe and get around,” he concluded.

What others said

Before voting, Council heard from BPS and PBOT leadership as well as business leaders and advocates for the Green Loop.

Art Pearce, PBOT’s policy, planning and project manager, pointed out how the Green Loop will help the City achieve its Vision Zero goals. “The majority of Portland’s high-crash bicycle intersections are in the Central City as well as some of the high-crash intersections for pedestrians," he stated. “The Green Loop will emphasize those streets, making it a safe and inviting route around the Central City."

Pearce also talked about how the Green Loop can help resolve conflicts between freight trucks, pedestrians and cyclists in and around the Central Eastside.

Susan Anderson, BPS director, emphasized community support and enthusiasm for the Green Loop. "Today,” she began, “we want to focus on a segment of the Green Loop where we think the first projects are likely to happen – in the Rose Quarter and Lloyd District. There are investments already planned for this area, including the Sullivan's Crossing Pedestrian and Bike Bridge. Potential partners such as Go Lloyd, Albina Vision Trust and others make this a really strong candidate as a place to start."

Go Lloyd’s Administrative and Transit Program Manager Jenny Taylor said, "The Green Loop will help create stronger connections to our inner eastside and downtown neighbors; encourage our interested-but-concerned population to choose active transportation; and help make us a safer, healthier and more livable community.

“In addition,” she continued, “by making Lloyd the first neighborhood to receive investment in Green Loop, you get Go Lloyd as a partner in promoting it.... We are prepared to work with the City and all of our partners to make the Green Loop a long-term success for Portland."

Stated Wade Lang, vice president and regional manager of American Assets Trust, "Lloyd is a community … [with] a long history of public/private partnerships. We see value in sharing ideas, listening to stakeholders and brokering compromise to reap the highest public benefit. … The Lloyd community would be willing to work with the City to explore funding strategies and help to make the Green Loop a reality."

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

So, what exactly is it?

The Green Loop will be a place for everyone in the heart of the city. Whether on foot, bike or mobility device, people of all ages, abilities and incomes will be able to get to work, go for a jog, shop, eat, rest or meet friends in the park via the Green Loop.

It’s an initiative that will add to the Central City network of great public spaces with formal and informal places integrated with new development like the Broadway Corridor redevelopment of the old Post Office and OMSI’s redevelopment of its riverfront campus.

It can become a recognized and attractive route connecting Central City destinations and neighborhoods like the Park Blocks, the Portland Art Museum, PSU, South Waterfront, the Central Eastside and the Moda Center. Think New York City’s Highline, Atlanta’s Beltline, the Miami Underline or the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

And, it starts to become a reality in the Lloyd District, with projects like the Sullivan’s Crossing bike and pedestrian bridge over I-84 at NE 11th/12th Avenues.  

Featured attraction

The featured attraction at last year’s Design Week Portland, this year the Green Loop will be the route for Sunday Parkways in the heart of the city. We hope you’ll join us on July 22, 2018, to experience the early days of the Green Loop.

Who knows? Someday you’ll be able to say, “I was there at the beginning.” 

For more information about the Green Loop, please visit our new website. And sign up for e-mail updates as Portlanders move the concept into reality.

Get Ready for Sunday Parkways on the Green Loop!

This year’s event features the route for Portland’s version of the Highline.

It’s still raining in Portland. Because it’s “spring,” right?

But come July, the city will be in full blown summertime. And the river will be sparkling, and the hills will be glorious and green.

And what better way to enjoy the best of Portland than a ride, roll or stroll in the fresh air around the river during a Sunday Parkways event? You can start in the Park Blocks, cruise through Director Park (see below) and head north to cross the Broadway Bridge, weaving through the Lloyd District, crossing over I-84 and heading south into the Central Eastside to OMSI, and finally back across the river via Tilikum Crossing to PSU.

That’s the Green Loop in a nutshell.

While still in the planning phase, the Green Loop is gaining traction within the community. City Council is scheduled to approve the concept as part the Central City 2035 Plan, which they will vote to adopt on May 24. And supporters and enthusiasts have banded together to create Friends of the Green Loop.

Visit our swanky new website and map app for the Green Loop

So, this year's Sunday Parkways event is a great way to see what it is and envision what it could be … A new way for people to be in the Central City — active, safe and fun. Whether on foot, bike or mobility device, people of all ages and abilities will be able to use the Green Loop to get to work, go for a jog, shop, eat out, play, and meet friends for lunch or a concert in a park.

Like Sunday Parkways every day, the Green Loop will create an exciting place for people to experience the Central City in a whole new way.

Sunday Parkways on the Green Loop

On July 22, 2018, you can join Portlanders from all over the city who will flock to the Central City for the immensely popular Sunday Parkways event. As you travel along the Green Loop alignment through thriving neighborhoods, business districts and communities along the way, you'll get a glimpse of the future of the Central City.

It's the ultimate Portland experience

The Green Loop is quintessentially Portland: natural and urban, creative and entrepreneurial, sustainable and dynamic. It's a movement to help people immerse themselves in the urban core in a new and exciting way, along trails and pathways that offer unique experiences and encounters with nature, art and each other.

The Green Loop will support businesses and social services, 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.

Come see the future of the Central City and what Portland’s version of New York's Highline could look like. Bring your family, friends, kids and critters. It’ll be summer in Portland and a great way/place to get outside.                        

Green Loop and Untitled Studios bring the community together at Design Week PDX

Excitement about and interest in the proposed six-mile linear park around the Central City shows that this urban design concept has arrived!

As the main attraction at Design Week PDX, the Green Loop concept didn’t just meet expectations for community engagement, it knocked them out of the ball park. It seemed that the work of Untitled Studios was a perfect fit for the DWP Headquarters in the Central Eastside’s The Redd.

The group of young designers and architects filled the 20,000 square foot space with myriad displays, interactive exhibits and plenty of opportunities to learn about and comment on the proposed loop for walkers, strollers and bikers of all ages and abilities.

Throughout Design Week, people could wander through the Headquarters building and experience Untitled Studios’ at their own pace.

Think about it: What would you like to see
happen along the Green Loop route?



In addition to the displays, interactive maps and a life-size mockup of the loop, DWP featured several presentations and discussions focusing on the Green Loop. Hundreds of Portlanders came to listen, learn and workshop how the Green Loop is “a new type of civic ecology,” “a tool for social good,” and the subject of “Branding Strategies for Public Space.”



The University of Oregon held a design charrette with dozens of participants about how the Green Loop could serve as a new type of civic ecology for Portland.

Beer and virtual reality tour feature the Green Loop

And as if that weren’t enough, Portland’s own HUB brewery developed a special edition IPA just for Design Week PDX. The Green Loop IPA was on tap at the opening night party, where more than 800 people enjoyed the beer, cotton candy, dancing, speed portrait drawing and a virtual reality experience of the loop.

This is what it looked like from the outside …

And from the inside (with goggles) …

Participants said the VR experience made the case for the Green Loop. “After experiencing the VR version of the Green Loop, I felt like we have to do this! It really made the case for it,” said one participant. Others expressed similar feelings: the VR experience made an abstract concept real and arguably a good thing for the Central City.

Lots of ways to stay involved

If you missed Design Week, no worries …

You can still experience the Green Loop and help make it happen! We’ve got a new Green Loop website and map app, with lots of information and ways for you to engage moving forward. Learn more about the Untitled Studios exhibition, explore the loop and make comments on the map app, join Friends of the Green Loop, watch a video featuring Mayor Ted Wheeler and others, and then sign up for email updates.

Then read more coverage of the Green Loop at DWP.   

Next steps

In the next few weeks, Untitled Studios will compile all the comments and ideas they collected at DWP to share with the Green Loop team.

Meanwhile, the Planning and Sustainability Commission will vote to recommend the Central City 2035 Plan to City Council on May 23. The Green Loop is such a “Big Idea” in the CC2035 Plan that the PSC will vote separately on it that day. City Council will hold public hearings on the Recommended Draft in late July/early August. Portlanders are invited to testify in person or in writing.

Learn more at

What’s the Green Loop?

Find out at the upcoming Design Week.

As Design Week PDX (DWP) gets ready to kick off this weekend, we’re busy prepping all the goodies for our Green Loop displays, interactive exhibits and discussions. This concept for a six-mile linear park around Portland’s urban core is the star attraction of DWP, starting with the opening night party on Saturday evening.

A “Big Idea” from the Central City 2035 Plan, the Green Loop concept has been shepherded by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Urban Design Studio, in collaboration with other bureaus, agencies and community stakeholders. Last year, the University of Oregon/Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape held a design competition called Loop PDX, which invited designers to flesh out the circular open space concept. Untitled Studios, a group of young designers, won the $20,000 prize and has spent the past year refining and expanding the concept based on a lot of public outreach.

They will be sharing their latest work at DWP Headquarters at The Redd all next week.

See what others are saying about it:

Experience the Green Loop, virtually

Computer-generated simulation tool shows the community their own “Emerald City.”

Imagine … You slip on a pair of special glasses, allow your eyes to adjust — and click play. Fade into scene. Look left, then right. Now try up and down. You are quickly orienting, and now you recognize a few landmarks: the building where your favorite café was and a magnolia tree that put on a show every spring.

You see a street sign that says you’re are at SE 6th and Washington. But this intersection is different than it used to be. There are more street trees, benches with people eating lunch and reading the newspaper. And that café? It’s now a pizzeria, its garage doors rolled up and beckoning you to sit down for a slice.

As you take it all in, several bicyclists zip by your shoulder. They were close, but you feel safe because they sped along a painted track that keeps you comfortably separated. Seconds later, a laughing child runs in front of you as her mom gives chase. You turn left and see that a parking lot is now a three-story building with restaurants on the first floor and offices above. You wonder if you’ve stepped into the future. 

Welcome to virtual reality.

What you just experienced is Portland’s Green Loop. Conceived by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to be a linear park, the loop will provide residents, workers and visitors a place to walk, bike, run and play along a 6-mile loop around the Central City.

In the past, BPS has shown what new development could look like with maps, photos and drawings. But as part of Design Week Portland, the bureau partnered with Oregon Story Board and Shovels and Whiskey to create a virtual reality experience of the Green Loop.

Green Loop VRVirtual reality (or VR) is best known in the computer gaming world, but it’s now being used by health care practitioners, educators, artists and marketers. VR uses headset viewers to create immersive visual experiences that can feel very real. Employing it as a community engagement tool is pioneering and — as far as we know — BPS is one of the first planning agencies in the country to do so.

If you are at Design Week Portland’s Opening Gala, you can try it for yourself. Later in May, BPS will release a version of the Green Loop virtual reality experience to view online or with the Google Cardboard App. Look for more details about that soon.

So stay tuned for more exciting new about the Green Loop and how you can continue to experience it at