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How Portland's New Comprehensive Plan Affects You


View of Portland from the Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon.

View of Portland from the Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon.

Holly Hayes/Flickr

The city of Portland is required to update its Comprehensive Plan every 20 years. That’s the overarching document that guides the way the city manages growth. Portland is expecting about 120,000 new households by the time 2035 rolls around, and this document, currently being revised, will determine a wide range of planning-related issues.

Here are some of the ways that the Comprehensive Plan may affect you:

  • The city is taking different strategies to approach problems throughout areas in the city. In East Portland the plan will invest in infrastructure, such as sidewalks and parks.
  • In the central city, the plan focuses more on managing growth than building infrastructure.
  • More apartment buildings will be built in Portland, which planners say will reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 30 percent of the growth will occur in the center of the city, such as the Lloyd District and the South Waterfront.
  • 50 percent will be along main streets, such as Williams, Division, Interstate, and Hawthorne.
  • 20 percent will be residential infill in neighborhoods.
  • The plan aims to provide commercial and industrial space for 140,000 new jobs, although the Portland Business Alliance thinks there should be more industrial land set aside.
  • The plan prioritizes establishing more “complete neighborhoods” — areas that provide all necessary needs, such as grocery stores, ideally within walking distance.
  • For the past several years, new housing has failed to keep up with new residents. The comprehensive plan aims to address that imbalance.
  • Middle income jobs are a priority in the comprehensive plan. It aims to encourage the development of health care, education and manufacturing jobs by providing sufficient land for those employers.

Think Out Loud host Dave Miller was joined by Eric Engstrom, principal planner with Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Marion Haynes, vice-president of government affairs and economic development for the Portland Business Alliance, and Steve Novick, Portland city commissioner to talk about how the plan will impact the city.

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