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City Council begins voting on new plan for growth and development in the Central City

Portland’s City Council moved the Central City 2035 Plan closer to adoption this week. Since the last Council session on the Plan, staff integrated all the decisions that Council made over the last year into a new Revised Recommended Draft and associated ordinances, resolutions and other documentation.

On May 24, Commissioners approved these changes and several technical amendments that staff identified during the final drafting process. 

New Chinatown/Japantown decision

In addition, council voted 3 to 2 to approve a new amendment to change height limits on four and a half blocks in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District to 200 feet. This amendment included what is known as Block 33, a surface parking lot between NW Couch and Davis between 4th & 5th, and four blocks in the northern part of the district near the Lan Siu Chinese Garden. 

Heights for the western half of Block 33 would increase from a previously approved bonus height of 160 feet to a bonus height of 200 feet. Heights for four northern blocks in the historic district went from a base height of 160 to 200 feet with no opportunity to gain bonus height.

Council’s vote also approved an increase in base FAR from 6:1 to 9:1 for Block 33, if all floors above the ground floor on the western half of the block are developed for residential use.

While preparing for the Council session, staff identified an additional amendment necessary to ensure that a shadow study would be required for any development adjacent to the Lan Siu Chinese Garden. Council will continue their discussion of and vote on this amendment on May 30. 

Read the addendum to amendments document.  

Green Loop rides on

At the end of the day Thursday, Council took a more celebratory tone as they voted on the Green Loop resolution. The Green Loop emerged from the community process that helped create the CC2035 Plan and has engaged the imagination of Portlanders ever since. A six-mile linear park around the Central City, the Green Loop would provide a safe and easy-to-navigate car-free pathway for rollers, strollers and cyclists through the myriad neighborhoods and districts within the Central City.   

Introducing the Green Loop resolution, Mayor Ted Wheeler said it would add to the network of great places in the Central City and integrate with new development on the Post Office site as well as OMSI’s redevelopment of its riverfront campus.

“It will connect Central City destinations and neighborhoods like the Park Blocks, Portland Art Museum, PSU, South Waterfront and the Moda Center,” he said. “And like all great public spaces and parks, it promises to bring Portlanders together to share an exciting new common space.”  

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson, PBOT’s Art Pierce, Go Lloyd’s Transit Program Manager Jenny Taylor and Wade Lange, vice president/regional manager for American Asset Trust, also spoke enthusiastically about the Green Loop.

Watch the video of the Council session and the Green Loop resolution vote. (Green Loop starts at 2:22:15.)

Next Steps

Council will hold another session on May 30 at 10:15 a.m., time certain, to discuss the shadow study amendment. Final vote on the plan is still scheduled for June 6 at 2 p.m., time certain. Plan goes into effect on July 9.