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As a growth management tool, comprehensive plans serve to anticipate and direct where growth is planned. Comprehensive plans not only govern land use decisions, but also serve as an element of the City’s public facilities planning process. Land use maps and growth-related infrastructure plans are supposed to relate. Accordingly, it is important to know if growth is happening where it was planned.
Growth Forecast for the 2035 Comprehensive Plan were done for the period 2010-2035. During that time, Portland is projected to add approximately 260,000 new residents (123,000 households) and 140,000 new jobs.
In 2010 Portland had approximately 585,000 people, and 370,000 jobs. From 2010-2017, almost 75,000 new jobs have been added in Portland, and over 30,000 new homes have been constructed. The current estimated population (mid-2017) is about 640,000 people.
The residential rate of growth is consistent with the forecasts used in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Employment growth has been exceeding the forecast, though much of that growth has occurred within existing businesses (without consuming the available vacant or underutilized land).
Comparison of forecast housing growth with actual building permits through 2017. For the sake of simplicity, the forecast assumed a steady rate of growth, but in the real world economic cycles will mean that the real rate varies year to year. In 2010 and 2011 Portland was still recovering from the Great recession. By 2014 housing production has surpassed the previous peak, which had been in 2003.
The inner ring of this chart shows the forecast and the outer ring shows the actual permits for 2010-2017. The production of single family dwellings and apartments is roughly matching the forecast assumptions. Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) production is exceeding expectations. In recent years that housing type has represented about 6% of new units, exceeding the 2% assumed in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan Growth Scenario Report. On the other hand, the production of attached houses, townhouses and duplexes has been much lower than had been forecast (representing only 4% of actual units compared to 13% of forecast).
This chart shows the ratio between the rate of housing development assumed in the plan, and actual permits, for 2010-2017. For example, during that period 7,964 new units were permitted in the Central City, which is 94% of the forecast production of 8,429 units for that same period. Sellwood-Moreland-Brooklyn area is growing much faster than expected, with 1,286 new units, when only 320 were forecast for that period. The 2010-2017 forecast for Pleasant Valley was 439 homes, but only 64 new homes have actually been permitted. The table references the Portland Plan analysis areas, which generally include several neighborhoods.