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Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

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The Green Loop Vision

The Green Loop, a bold new concept of the Central City 2035 plan, envisions a linear park that connects people to places within and beyond Portland's downtown neighborhoods and to the Willamette River.

The Green Loop is for people. Welcoming 8- to 80-year old riders and accommodating all abilities; everyone has a place in the heart of the city.

Healthy cities need healthy hearts, and the Green Loop will help support our Central City as it welcomes 30 percent of Portland’s growth over the next two decades. 

Healthier. With safer and more enjoyable routes for walking, jogging, rolling, cycling and resting; it's a 10K run, a gentle ride or stroll, both recreation and respite. More trees mean fresher air and more shade on hot days.  

It will be designed for safety, welcoming kids on bikes and elders alike. It’s like Sunday Parkways every day. And it’s free!

Connected. As Portland’s population grows (and grows) our roads and freeways will carry even more traffic. We need reliable and safe ways to move people  in and out of the urban core.

The Loop builds a healthy web of connectivity between nearly a dozen districts – from the West End to the Lloyd to South Waterfront -- and countless cultural hot spots like the Portland Art Museum, OMSI and the Moda center. It links to major transit hubs and it’s the central path of a citywide system of park-like greenways reaching all neighborhoods of Portland.

Equitable.  The Green Loop will be an urban pathway accessible to all. The Central City is home to 60 percent of the City’s affordable housing units, and it has the largest concentration of social services and care providers in the city, especially shelter service facilities.  Building the Green Loop offers a chance to harness opportunities for all the people that call the Central City home.

Living wage work is a cornerstone of equity -- and people need affordable and safe ways to get to jobs. A third of Portland’s jobs are in the Central City, and more than 50,000 new jobs are coming in the next two decades.

The Loop connects and partners with sister projects outside the Central City, like the Lents Green Ring, to share and build momentum for grassroots efforts.

Prosperous. The Loop will carry people through employment districts, from Portland State University and OHSU to downtown, the Pearl and Lloyd. It will give Portlanders more options to reach jobs, education, services and the return trip home. It will lead tourists to shopping, cafes and entertainment.

Healthy circulation through the Central City and out to the city’s myriad greenway networks will support businesses and social services, improving access to places people rely on.

Uniquely Portland.  The Green Loop will be a new place for art and expression. A place to pause and meditate or to gather socially or in solidarity.

With the growth projected for Portland, the Green Loop can help us gracefully evolve into a world-class city — that attracts global attention and investments — while still preserving and accentuating the things that make Portland livable, unique and special.

It’s a transformative investment in our low-carbon ethos and an iconic symbol of a city that values and supports all people: residents, workers, students and visitors.

The Green Loop is destined to become Portland's version of New York's High Line, Chicago's new 606 or the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. 

Safe Access and Opportunity for all of Portland

Portland families deserve safe streets on which to walk, bike, operate mobility devices, access transit and drive. And Portland families deserve beautiful parks and trails to exercise, be in nature and have fun. The Green Loop is just one project the City is undertaking to make recreation and active transportation safe and convenient across Portland.

East Portland, in particular, is a focus for major investment. The City and agency partners have allocated over $200 million to transportation projects in East Portland in the past five years. 

  • Through East Portland in Motion (EPIM), investments in sidewalks and safe crossings totaling more than $90 million have been completed (or will be completed by 2018). This includes 7+ miles of sidewalk and 15 enhanced crossings in East Portland. The Fixing Our Streets program has also made substantial paving repairs in East Portland.
  • The upcoming Division Transit Project led by TriMet will bring an investment in high-capacity transit to this growing corridor with a focus on equity and housing.
  • The Oregon Legislature recently allocated $110 million toward the completion of Outer Powell Boulevard, which is a transportation priority in the East Portland Action Plan and EPIM.

The City has also invested many more millions in parks and outdoor space, including Gateway Discovery Park, Loowit and Gateway Green.

Lents Green Ring

The Green Loop is envisioned as a central hub of a citywide system of park-like greenways connecting the city’s system of centers and offering a new way to navigate around the city. One of the first examples of a neighborhood system is the Lents Green Ring -- linking schools, parks and destinations in the Lents neighborhood.

The Green Ring is a network of loosely connected bicycle streets that need upgrades — like better crossings and improved signage. It’s a neighborhood loop of low-stress streets where people of all ages and abilities can walk, bike or roll. With Foster Road as an east-west connection and the I-205 Multi-Use Path as a low-stress north-south spine, the Ring also connects Lents’s neighborhood greenways and the Springwater Corridor Trail.

City planners and representatives of Livable Lents, RoseCDC, OPAL, and Portland State University's Institute for Sustainable Solutions established productive relationships when applying for a U.S. Department of Transportation grant for design assistance on the Green Ring. While the proposal was not awarded, the grant-writing process helped activate an ongoing collaboration. The City also supported the Green Lents’ application for the METRO Placemaking Grant for Lents Green Ring Wayfinding Project. Piece by piece, the energy is building to create this community-led network.

  • The recent Oregon Walkways: Lents Founders Fair event closed off streets to cars and opened them up to people, highlighting the Lents Green Ring, new NAYA Generations intergenerational community, the Lents International Farmer’s Market, Green Lents Community Tool Library and the Lents Founder Fair celebration.
  • The Voyage of the Visionaries, an annual ride of regional leaders, which takes place in September 2017, will feature and connect the Green Loop to the Lents Green Ring, with the aim of physically and symbolically connecting neighborhoods across the city together.

Progress and collaboration on the Lents Green Ring demonstrates how community interest, energy and place-making activities can be harnessed to help elevate and build similar projects in other communities.

The Green Loop in our urban core can be a key link to the citywide pattern of new public space investments, augmenting and connecting with projects throughout the city and anchoring a citywide greenway network connecting all Portland neighborhoods. It is part of a citywide pattern of new public space investments, not the only piece. It does not replace other commitments or projects in other neighborhoods; it adds to them.