Downtown contains many of the city’s iconic features, such as tall buildings, Pioneer Courthouse Square, museums, performance halls, civic buildings, the Willamette River and Waterfront Park, and historic bridges.
Downtown has been shaped by centuries of history, from Native Americans to the settlement era; the expansion of commerce and trade; urban renewal; urban flight; and renewed efforts at revitalization and residential development.
Downtown can continue to be the most important gathering place for Portlanders and visitors, as well as a center for innovation and exchange.
Downtown is the economic and symbolic heart of the region and the preeminent location for office employment, retail, tourism, arts and culture, entertainment, government, urban living, and ceremonial activities. At the center of the region’s multimodal transportation system, and anchored by the Willamette River and signature public spaces, it is the most intensely urban and easily recognized district in Portland’s Central City.
Between 2010 and 2035, Downtown is expected to grow by 3,000 households and 7,000 jobs, for a total of 4,600 households and 55,200 jobs. This rendering illustrates a possible development scenario approximating future growth. The arrows illustrate a potential “Green Loop” alignment and key flexible street connections leading to the river and adjacent neighborhoods.
- Extend the Retail Core to the north and to the riverfront
- Establish a clearer set of east-west connections
- Enhance the character of Naito Parkway
- Support a future “Green Loop” alignment along the South Park Blocks
Urban Design Concept
Downtown serves as both the office and retail core for the Central City. The area is home to numerous parks and attractions, including Pioneer Courthouse Square, Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and Keller Auditorium. Key intersections and gateways include the Willamette River bridgeheads; SW Broadway and West Burnside; and the Pioneer Square MAX interchange area on the Transit Mall.
The concept diagram also highlights the desired retail/commercial character of SW Morrison and Yamhill streets, West Burnside Street and SW Broadway; the desired boulevard character of 5th and 6th avenues and Naito Parkway; the signature east-west connection of SW Salmon Street; the potential Green Loop alignment along SW Park Avenue and the Willamette Greenway trail along the waterfront.
View full-size maps in the PDF version of the Central City Districts.
Read about the Goals and Policies in the Draft Plan that will help with implementing the 2035 Vision and Urban Design Concept.