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Central City 2035 Update: Preview of January 10 PSC Work Session on the Central City 2035 Plan

On January 10, 2017, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC), will hold its third work session for the Central City 2035 (CC2035) Plan. The agenda includes:

  • Proposed street classifications and transportation projects
  • Green building items (ecoroofs, bird safe standards)
  • Specific zoning and FAR requests
  • Willamette River related amendments
  • And other miscellaneous amendments 

The meeting materials for these topics are available here and briefly introduced below. Check the PSC CC2035 work session overview for more information about future work sessions.

 

Proposed street classifications and transportation projects

SW 4th Avenue in Portland

The CC2035 Plan includes Central City-specific amendments to update the Transportation System Plan (TSP), the long-range plan guiding transportation investments in the city. The TSP provides transportation options for residents, employees, visitors and firms doing business in Portland, making it more convenient to walk, bike, take transit — and drive less — while meeting their daily needs.

At their January 10 meeting, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff will present  amendments to the Proposed Draft street classifications, transportation studies and transportation projects. A brief primer on each of these TSP elements is included below:

  • “Street classifications” describe what kinds of traffic and trips are expected on a street and what types of land uses the street should serve. Classifications can influence street design elements such as lane widths.
  • “Transportation studies” are intended to address issues that have a transportation component identified by the community or other entities.
  • The “transportation projects” are the City’s 20-year list of major transportation system improvements, including the general location and timing of implementation, the responsible agency and approximate cost. Projects may or may not have any funding “committed” to them, and many projects will require PBOT to undertake analyses before the design of any improvement.

 

Green buildings and ecoroofs

Multnomah County Ecoroof

Portland has been a national leader in designing buildings that reduce impacts on the natural environment — both in their construction and their operation. The CC2035 Plan requires developers of new buildings over 50,000 square feet to register for green building certification and submit a checklist of potential green building features as a part of the building review process. By requiring registration, the City seeks to increase the share of new construction that pursues full certification (full certification is not required at this time).

One green building technology that has gained national acceptance by the construction industry is the “green roof” or “ecoroof.” These roofs include soil and plants that help a building handle its stormwater during rainy seasons and reduce the costs of heating and cooling the building throughout the year by insulating the building’s roof. The CC2035 Plan requires new buildings over 20,000 square feet in size to include ecoroofs.

Finally, in 2013 City Council directed staff to establish bird-safe design standards with the goal of reducing the number of bird fatalities due to window strikes. Since the publication of the Proposed Draft on June 20, which included a bird-safe design standard for the Central City, staff have worked with experts to refine the proposal and will present an update to the PSC at their meeting on January 10.

Specific zoning and floor area ratio (FAR) requests

zoning graphic

At the July and August PSC hearings, some community groups and property owners advocated for specific changes to the zoning and FAR in the Central City. The zoning requests typically centered around areas such as Providence Park or the Central Eastside riverfront or — in a few cases — focused on specific properties. The FAR requests are primarily requests for increases along the transit mall and station areas. Staff will walk the PSC through these zoning and FAR requests and discuss any potential adjustments to the CC2035 Plan.

 

Willamette River amendments

Dragon boats on Willamette River

The CC2035 Plan includes a number of proposed changes to how the Zoning Code regulates the Willamette Riverfront. First covered at the PSC’s November 16 work session, this topic will continue in January.

 

What’s up next?

The PSC will hold their fourth work session on January 24. The agenda will be posted once it is finalized.

Please check the PSC calendar to confirm dates, times and other details prior to the event. You can also view the work session on the BPS YouTube channel.

For more information about the work sessions, please visit the PSC work sessions and hearing page.