What is the Central City?
Portland’s Central City is Oregon’s urban center, with the densest population of people and jobs in the state. People from across the country are drawn to the Central City’s mix of urban vitality, compelling public spaces, innovative employment opportunities, rich transportation network, signature cultural amenities — and its connection to the Willamette River.
The Central City stretches from the West Hills to SE 12th Avenue, and from the Lloyd and Pearl districts to Powell Boulevard and South Waterfront. For planning purposes, the Central City is divided into 10 subdistricts as shown on the map to the right.
Portland’s Central City has a rich history shaped by abundant natural resources and a temperate climate. Since Native Americans fished the Willamette for salmon, this unique location along the river has been a gathering place for work, play, culture, food … and ideas.
Now, in a new century, we have a chance to make an even more vibrant place … focusing on the river, celebrating the area’s distinct districts and neighborhoods, and connecting people, places and activities through enhanced public spaces.
What is the Central City 2035 Plan?
The Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035) replaces the 1988 Central City Plan as the primary guiding policy document for the Central City with goals, policies and tools designed to make Portland’s urban core more vibrant, innovative, sustainable and resilient. A place that every Portlander can be proud to call their own. The Plan builds upon the city’s traditions, honoring the history of the place while boldly moving forward in new directions.
The plan also includes an update to the 1987 Willamette Greenway Plan for the Central Reach, incorporating elements of the 2001 River Renaissance Vision into an exciting vision that will create a more vibrant, multi-purpose and habitat-rich Willamette riverfront.
The Central City 2035 Plan process
The Central City 2035 Plan is the culmination of over five years of planning and public involvement that began in 2010 with the identification of issues and goals and the development of the Central City Concept Plan (published in 2012). With input from an advisory group, a series of symposia and a steering committee, the Concept Plan established the policy framework and preferred urban design direction for the Central City.
Three detailed planning projects followed, each with their own community engagement processes that included stakeholder advisory committees, open houses and other outreach events. These resulted in the North/Northeast Quadrant Plan (2012), the West Quadrant Plan (2015), and the Southeast Quadrant Plan (2015). Following public hearings and work sessions, City Council adopted each of these plans by resolution as guidance for completing the update of the Central City Plan.
At the same time, a Central Reach Working Group worked with planners to develop the Central Reach Urban Design Concept (2014) and identify the greatest opportunities for habitat restoration and improved human access and activities on this important stretch of the Willamette River.
A handful of other projects were conducted simultaneously with the help of working groups and other committees, including updates to the:
- Natural Resources Inventory and Implementation Concepts
- Scenic Resource Inventory and Implementation Concepts
- Willamette River Greenway Inventory
Finally, a bonus study analyzed how development incentives were being used in the Central City. This effort resulted in proposals that focus on creating more affordable housing.