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Central City 2035 Update: Recap of February 28 PSC work session; preview of March 14 work session

On February 28, 2017, the Planning and Sustainability (PSC) held its sixth work session on the Central City 2035 (CC2035) Plan. They discussed the following key items.

Broadway/Weidler I-5 Interchange

Project Commissioner Chris Smith proposed an amendment to remove the Broadway/Weidler I-5 Interchange Project from the Transportation System Plan project list, which is a component of the CC2035 Plan. His primary rationale was that it was the largest single investment in the TSP, and it would make driving easier. This would be counterproductive to the City's goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled in accordance with the Climate Action Plan.

Commissioners discussed this for more than an hour. While they understood Commissioner Smith’s perspective, the majority finally voted not to support his amendment. Then Commissioner Baugh proposed a new action item to clarify the City’s position in the Broadway/Weidler discussions. These conditions included: 

  • Freeway lid – Ensuring that the final project continued to contain all of the project elements including the freeway lids, a future east-west pedestrian and bicycle bridge, as well as new bridge connections that include high-quality pedestrian and bicycle facilities and improved signalized crossings.
  • Equity Strategy – Development of a City Council-supported equity strategy that addresses issues specifically related to the Broadway/Weidler I-5 Interchange project, including historically African American community impacts, low-income housing solutions, and benefits to minority and women-owned businesses.
  • Funding – Transparency and public discussion about the City of Portland’s funding sources. City funding will be limited to multimodal aspects of the project and shall not reduce planned investments to implement Vision Zero or increase safety and livability in East Portland.

Commissioners supported this language and also voted to add:

  • Congestion and climate actions – Encourage ODOT and PBOT to look at congestion pricing and transportation demand management (TDM) options to mitigate climate impact.

Transferring FAR from surface parking lots

At an earlier PSC work session on February 14, commissioners asked staff to come back with language that would prohibit FAR (floor area ratio) transfers from surface parking lots but allow developed areas of a site to transfer FAR. This is intended to encourage redevelopment of surface parking lots.

Staff brought a proposal that addressed the PSC request. They also reminded commissioners that historic and conservation landmarks and contributing resources in historic districts receive an additional 3:1 of FAR, which can be transferred (or sold) offsite as part of proposed updates to the historic resource transfer (33.510.205.D.1). Revenue from the sale should help defray some additional costs of seismic upgrades for these historic properties. After some discussion, the PSC voted to accept the staff-proposed amendment.

You can watch videos of past PSC meetings on the BPS YouTube channel by clicking on the appropriate date. 

Upcoming work sessions and agendas

On March 14, the PSC will hold its seventh work session on CC2035. The following items are on the agenda for that meeting:

  • Bonuses and Transfers – Staff-proposed amendments necessary to implement the Inclusionary Housing program and response to public testimony on bonus and transfer options
  • Master Plan – Proposed amendments to the master plan provisions
  • FAR – A stakeholder-proposed amendment that would allow more FAR in the Central City

The meeting materials for these topics are available here.

On April 11, the PSC will hold its final planned work session on CC2035. At that meeting, staff expect to bring final amendments to the Commission. They will ask commissioners to vote on the entire CC2035 Plan package, which will then be forwarded on to City Council as their Recommended Draft. 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 CC2035 work session overview page.

Meetings are streamed live on YouTube.

Meeting playbacks on Channel 30 are scheduled to start the Friday following the meeting. Starting times may occur earlier for meetings over three hours long, and meetings may be shown at additional times as scheduling requires.