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Planning and Sustainability Commission Votes to Recommend the Ezone Map Correction Project to City Council

News Article
Updates to Portland’s environmental zones will increase protections for natural resources, wildlife, homes and other structures, as well as property owners and other community members.
Published

On Sept. 28, 2021, the Planning and Sustainability Commission held their final work session on the Ezone Map Correction Project and voted unanimously (8 - 0) to recommend the proposals to City Council. 

The vote culminated a year and a half of work to update the city’s environmental overlay zones, which provide places for water to flow, store floodwater, maintain water quality, reduce the risks of erosion and landslides, keep the air cool, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and provide places for people to rest and recreate. 

The Commission’s review included three briefings, three public hearings and work sessions, 388 pieces of written testimony, oral testimony from dozens of property owners and concerned residents, and subsequent deliberation by commissioners.  

Tryon Creek running through Marshall Park
Tryon Creek running through Marshall Park

What will the changes do?  

The Ezone Map Correction Project adjusts the boundaries of the conservation ‘c’ and protection ‘p’ overlay zones (collectively called the ezones) to better align with existing streams, wetlands, flood area, vegetation, steep slopes and wildlife habitat. The changes will add roughly 150 acres of ezones across the city, a 1.12% increase in coverage.  

The PSC also approved the following amendments to the proposal: 

Map Amendments  

  • Adjusted the overlay zone boundaries to better reflect existing protection policy and natural features, based on more than 200 site visits and 200 wetland determinations to verify locations of trees, streams and wetlands.  

Code/Policy Amendments  

  • Clarified vegetation management options to reduce wildfire risks. 

  • Allowed fire breaks between vegetation. 

  • Allowed trail widths that are consistent with ADA recommendations. 

  • Created a new standard for replacement of septic system drain fields. 

  • Created a new standard for minor improvements to flood control facilities. 

  • Clarified the relationship between scenic corridors and natural resources. 

  • Approved a consistent wetland protection policy. 

Next steps 

City Council hearings on the Ezone Map Correction Project Recommended Draft will be in early 2022. Check the Ezone Map Correction Project Website for the hearing date and other updates as the project moves forward. 

Learn more 

  1. Look up proposed ezones and search by street address.  

  1. Download a copy of the project documents at https://www.portland.gov/bps/ezones

  1. Sign up for Ezone Enews updates. 

  1. Contact staff at 503-823-4225 or ezone@portlandoregon.gov.