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City sends commercial property owners a mailer about land use and zone changes that could affect their property

On Tuesday, July 1 more than 17,000 commercial property owners will start receiving a mailer with information about proposed land use and zoning changes that could affect their property.

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Mailed to 17,000 commercial property owners citywide

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has set up a helpline to answer recipients’ questions about proposed land use and zone changes to specific properties, as well as the Comprehensive Plan Update and the Mixed-Use Zones Project. The helpline will go live on July 21, but staff will be answering the call center number and checking voicemail messages beginning July 1.

Growing in centers and corridors

The City of Portland is updating its Comprehensive Plan — a state-mandated blueprint for future growth and development. The new plan will help the city accommodate an expected 122,000 households and 135,000 jobs. 

Where and how to locate these new households and businesses is a key question. The Comprehensive Plan directs growth and new development to a series of “centers” and “corridors” throughout the city. Designating places as centers and corridors will also guide future public investments in infrastructure and services to better support these places as they grow and change. This will help create more complete and well-served neighborhoods. It also helps preserve the character of lower density, single-family neighborhoods. 

Centers and corridors already exist throughout the city, including well known places such as the Hollywood District and St Johns (proposed as “urban centers”), Kenton and Multnomah Village (as “neighborhood centers”); Sandy and Barbur Boulevards (as “civic corridors”); and Division and Alberta streets (as “neighborhood corridors”). However, some other places may take on a more prominent role and be newly classified as a “center” with this plan; for instance, the Killingsworth/Alberta/Interstate area, which already has many services and a MAX station nearby.

Proposed land use and zone changes

Portland is relabeling its Commercial and Central Employment land use designations (on the Comprehensive Plan Map) to include “mixed use” so they more accurately reflect that these areas allow multiple uses, including residential, commercial and some employment uses. “Mixed use” refers to a healthy blend of shops, restaurants, housing and other services that are a convenient and walkable distance from each other.

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Map showing proposed changes

The city is also in the process of developing new and revised mixed-use zones (on the Zoning Map and in the Zoning Code) to apply in the mixed use areas. The new mixed-use zones will revise or replace many of the city’s current Commercial zones and the Central Employment zone applied outside of the Central City.

Most activities will still be allowed

Most current activities in these “new” mixed-use zones will continue to be allowed as they have in the past. The new regulations would primarily affect new development or significant changes to existing buildings. The revised zones will address issues like the size, bulk and design of new buildings and their relationship to adjacent buildings, among other things.

Developing a new set of zones will be completed in mid-2015. The new zones could be considered by the Planning and Sustainability Commission around that time. Then City Council would consider them for adoption along with other elements of the Comprehensive Plan Update.

For more information about the Mixed Use Zones project, please visit:

To learn more about the Comprehensive Plan Update, go to:

To speak with a customer service specialist about the Mixed-Use Zones flyer, please call: 503-823-0195.