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The City of Portland, Oregon

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How does the Comprehensive Plan relate to other plans?

The Comprehensive Plan is part of a family of state, regional, and local plans. Some, like Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goals and Metro 2040, set the overall planning framework and guide the content of the Plan. Others, like topic‐ and area‐specific plans, provide more detailed information about individual topics or smaller parts of the city.

Oregon’s Statewide Planning Program

Oregon has had a statewide planning program since 1973. This program is built on a set of 19 Statewide Planning Goals that cover a wide range of topics. Portland is required to adopt a Comprehensive Plan that implements the applicable statewide goals at a local level. The state’s Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) reviews and approves each local jurisdiction’s Comprehensive Plan to ensure compliance with these goals. The LCDC notifies local jurisdictions when it is time to update all or part of a Comprehensive Plan. This notification is called “Periodic Review.” According to the State, the purpose of Periodic Review is to ensure that local comprehensive plans are: 

  • Updated to respond to changes in local, regional, and state conditions.
  • Coordinated with other comprehensive plans and investments.
  • In compliance with the statewide planning goals, statutes, and rules.

Regional Plans  

Metro is the Portland metropolitan area’s regional government. Portland’s Comprehensive Plan must be consistent with regional plans and implementing regulations established by Metro: 

The Urban Growth Management Functional Plan — This Plan, along with the Metro Regional Framework Plan and the 2040 Urban Growth Concept, provides the Portland metropolitan region with a coordinated growth management plan and preferred regional urban form. The preferred regional urban form is to contain growth within a carefully managed Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) where growth occurs inside the UGB in the form of infill and redevelopment with higher density developed in areas where it is appropriate.

The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) — The RTP guides and coordinates investments in the regional transportation system, which serves Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties.  

Cities and counties within Metro’s boundaries must be consistent with Metro’s adopted plans, per Metro’s Charter and state law. However, these plans do not dictate how cities accommodate growth and development. It is the responsibility of Portland to figure out where to locate housing and how to create a fertile and sustainable economy, while protecting natural resources. It is Portland’s responsibility to guide the city’s shape and development. The Comprehensive Plan is one way that the City of Portland is complying with the applicable Metro plans.

Local Plans 

In addition to the Statewide Planning Program and the regional planning program, Portland develops and adopts many plans of its own.

Area‐specific Plans — The Comprehensive Plan is a plan for the whole city; area‐specific planning efforts take place for a smaller part of the city. Planning for smaller geographies —  like a district of the city or the neighborhoods along a transit line — provides an opportunity to explore issues at a finer scale and with the local community. This level of planning is often called community or neighborhood planning. Area‐specific plans contain many components, such as information about the area’s history and community, vision statements, policies, code amendments, land use or Zoning Map changes, and action plans. All of these components must comply with the Comprehensive Plan in effect at the time the plan is developed. The components of area‐specific plans either can be adopted by ordinance or resolution. They can also result in an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan or its implementation tools. 

Topic‐specific Plans — The City of Portland and other government agencies also adopt plans that are topic‐specific or infrastructure‐specific, such as the Climate Action Plan, the Consolidated Housing Plan, and Stormwater Management Plan. These plans should follow the ethos of the Comprehensive Plan and should not contradict the goals of the Comprehensive Plan. In general, they are not adopted as part of the Comprehensive Plan.  Like the area‐specific plans, topic‐ or infrastructure‐specific plans may necessitate an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan and/or its implementation tools to ensure that they stay current over time.    

How do area‐specific plans relate to the Comprehensive Plan? 

Plans adopted from 1980 to 2015 — Over 60 area‐specific plans were adopted between the day Portland’s first Comprehensive Plan went into effect (January 1, 1981) and the adoption and effective date of this 2035 Comprehensive Plan. These plans are listed in Figure 1‐2 in Chapter 1: The Plan. These area‐specific plans may or may not comply with the new 2035 Comprehensive Plan goals and policies. If there is a conflict between a policy in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and a policy in a previously adopted area‐specific plan, the new 2035 Comprehensive Plan supersedes. 

2016 and later — The City will adopt new area‐specific plans, such as the Central City 2035 Plan, after the 2035 Comprehensive Plan goes into effect. These plans will address local issues, using the 2035 Comprehensive Plan as a starting point for more detailed policies, maps, and actions. These area‐specific plans may result in amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and/or its implementation tools and will help the Comprehensive Plan stay current over time.