Pioneer Square, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Old Town/Chinatown, Big Pink, Tilikum Crossing, OMSI, the Central Eastside, Eastbank Esplanade, Lloyd Center, Lower Albina, the Post Office site, the Pearl, Goose Hollow, West End, Downtown, PSU and South Waterfront.
What do all these different places have in common?
Answer: They’re all in the geography known as Portland’s Central City. And each neighborhood, bridge, building or place owes its existence or its current manifestation to a land use plan.
The power of planning
Portland’s 1972 Downtown Plan is so old it was created on a typewriter. But it sparked the resurgence of the urban core as the economic and cultural center of the city, spurring public and private investment. The plan laid the groundwork for the transit mall, defined the retail and office cores, recognized the role of historic structures and areas as defining places – and gave us Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Bud Clark was mayor of Portland and Earl Blumenauer was commissioner of public works when the 1988 Central City Plan was published. This plan recommitted the community to a strong downtown and an expanded Central City that included the Lloyd and Central Eastside districts across the river. The plan emphasized economic growth but also called for significant residential development.
Today, the Central City has become the largest “neighborhood” in the region with the densest concentration of housing, jobs, cultural attractions – and social services. Over the next 20 years, the area will gain 38,000 households (or 56,000 residents) and 51,000 new jobs. So, it’s time for a new plan to prepare for all this new growth.
The next 20 years …
City planners have been working on the CC2035 Plan for about seven years, starting with the Concept Plan and followed by N/NE, West and SE quadrant plans, a river working group, the Central City Scenic Resource Protection Plan, the Central Reach Natural Resources Protection Plan and a bonus study with the Housing bureau to create a system to prioritize affordable housing. More than 8,000 Portlanders have contributed to the plan in working groups and advisory committees, neighborhood associations and district coalitions, advocacy groups and community organizations, meetings with staff and commissioners, and through written and oral testimony.
The CC2035 Plan will provide a new policy framework to guide growth and development in the Portland’s core over the next 20 years. See the highlights of the plan.
Now it is before City Council for public hearings and a vote to adopt the plan. Council will consider public testimony on the Recommended Draft Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035) at two hearings in September. Community members are invited to testify at these hearings, which will be held at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave. in Downtown Portland.
Different aspects of the multi-volume plan will be considered by Council at different dates and times.
Public Hearing #1
Volume 1: Goals and Policies; Volume 2A, Part 1: Central City Plan District; Volume 2A, Part 2: Willamette River and Trails; Volume 2B: Transportation System Plan Amendments; Volume 3A: Scenic Resources Protection Plan; Volume 3B: Willamette River Central Reach Natural Resources Protection Plan; Volume 5A: Implementation – Performance Targets and Action Plans; Volume 5B: Implementation – Green Loop; Draft Council Amendments
September 7, 2017
2 p.m., time certain
Council will hear public testimony on the plan’s goals and policies, as well as proposed changes to the zoning code, zoning maps, Transportation System Plan, and other planning documents that implement the CC2035 policies. Council will also take testimony on the CC2035 Plan action charts and the Green Loop, a proposed Central City linear park.
Council will also take testimony on a package of amendments to the Recommended Draft CC2035 Plan offered by the Mayor and other Commissioners. The amendments document will be updated prior to the hearing.
Public Hearing #2
U.S. Postal Service Site
September 7, 2017
4:30 p.m., time certain
Commissioners will consider early implementation of CC2035 Recommended Draft increases to the maximum height and floor area limits on the US. Postal Service (USPS) site, located in the Pearl District. Early implementation is needed because of City funding contingencies and Prosper Portland’s need to begin marketing the site ahead of the anticipated March 2018 effective date of the CC2035 Plan.
Public Hearing #3
September 14, 2017
2 p.m., time certain
Council will hear testimony on the Recommended Draft New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines. The new guidelines will serve as approval criteria for addition, alteration and new construction projects within the historic district. Note that any carryover testimony from the September 7 hearing will be heard prior to testimony on the guidelines.
Public Hearing #4
September 14, 2017
2:45 p.m., time certain
Council will hear testimony on CC2035 plan-related amendments to environmental and scenic resource regulations that apply outside the Central City. A new standard is proposed for view corridors located in the scenic (s) overlay, which would allow tree and vegetation trimming and removal through a standard instead of environmental review.
How to Testify
Individuals will have two minutes to speak and may sign up to testify starting at 1 p.m. on both September 7 and 14. Sign-up is first come, first served. Each person in line can sign up for one 2-minute testimony slot.
What happens after the hearings?
Following the public hearings (likely on September 15), Mayor Ted Wheeler will “close the public record” (i.e., oral and written testimony will no longer be taken). Council will then deliberate on the plan at one or more additional sessions. Commissioners may introduce new amendments based on public testimony.
A final vote on the CC2035 Plan is anticipated in early 2018. The plan will become effective potentially in March, after the 2035 Comprehensive Plan is acknowledged by the State of Oregon.
Final votes on the USPS site height and FAR amendments and the Recommended Draft New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District Design Guidelines, which are on a faster timeline, are anticipated in late September 2017.