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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Project Overview

Recognizing the connections between food and the community’s environmental, economic and physical health, the City of Portland partnered with the Portland Multnomah Food Policy Council and Oregon Public Health Institute on the Urban Food Zoning Code Update. This project affirms the City’s commitment to promoting appropriate neighborhood-scaled food production, which increases access to healthful, affordable food for all residents while building community and knowledge about local food systems.

Summary of Changes

The zoning code amendments add definitions and clarify the regulations for market gardens, community gardens, food membership distribution sites and farmers markets. Most significantly, the amendments allow market gardens throughout the city (with size limitations in residential zones); provide stability for food distribution activities such as farmers markets, CSAs, and food buying clubs; and encourage all these activities on institutional sites. See Adopted Report for zoning code language and staff commentary.

Health/Equity Focus

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Oregon Public Health Institute received funding from Multnomah County Department of Health through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program. This funding enabled staff to address health/equity issues throughout the project.

Project Timeline and Public Participation

The project staff (an interdisciplinary team with experience in food policy and programs, neighborhood planning, zoning code development and public health) held many meetings with the community. Initial topic area discussions with community stakeholders were held during winter 2011, followed by a public review on the Concept Draft, July 2011) to discuss conceptual approaches to regulating these activities. Staff published a summary of public comments.

With guidance on the conceptual approaches from the community, a Code Development Advisory Group (CDAG) was established to help staff develop the actual zoning code language. The 18 CDAG members represented a variety of interests, perspectives and experiences around urban food production and distribution, and provided invaluable advice and “reality checks” as code was developed. Their roles and responsibilities were identified prior to convening. 

The Discussion Draft was published in February 2012, followed by another round of public review that informed the Proposed Draft for Planning and Sustainability Commission review. After a public hearing, the PSC made recommendations to the City Council Recommended Draft. City Council approved the amendments on June 13, 2012, and they became effectively immediately. See the project schedule for more details on milestones and outreach events.

Contact Information

Julia Gisler, Project Manager/Public Involvement

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Steve Cohen, Food Policy and Programs

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Amy Gilroy, Health Consultant
Oregon Public Health Institute
503-227-5502 ext. 229;