March 2020 – Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) Updates

News Article
A monthly snapshot of land use planning work going on in your neighborhoods. Please visit each project website and contact project staff with any questions.
In this article

Useful resources

Coronavirus Impacts

Please be aware that public meetings are being cancelled or rescheduled for public health and safety, so be sure to check project calendars for meeting updates and other information.

Residential Infill Project (RIP)

What: Updating the rules that shape Portland’s residential neighborhoods, so more people can live in them, while limiting the construction of very large new houses.

Status: Following work sessions on January 29 and February 12, City Council directed staff to develop specific code amendment proposals for seven topics. These include:

  1. Changes to align the proposals with recently adopted projects for consistency.
  2. Changes to align duplex allowances with state mandates in HB2001.
  3. Changes to respond to the SB 534 requirement to recognize certain substandard platted lots.
  4. Creating a combined process for lot consolidations and property line adjustments.
  5. No zoning code amendment proposed.
  6. Provisions for a “Deeper Affordability Bonus.”
  7. Historic Resource Demolition Disincentive.

Each of the amendment packages includes a description of the amendment, a table listing the particular sections of code that are proposed to be amended, followed by the specific revised code language and explanatory commentary. The text of the full amendment packages is  available under “Amendment Packages for Council’s March 12 Hearing” on the project documents page.

The public record has reopened and been extended for written testimony regarding these amendments only. Testimony must be received by noon on April 9, 2020. You can submit written testimony:

City Council
Residential Infill Project Testimony
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 130
Portland, OR 97204

Be sure to include “Residential Infill Project Testimony” so it gets routed to the right place.

You can view the zoning proposals for individual properties by using the project Map App. You can also sign up to receive project email updates by filling out this quick form.

Next opportunity to engage: Council will hold a hearing and a work session on the amendments only and subsequently vote on them. A vote to adopt the entire RIP package is TBD. Please check the RIP website and/or the Council calendar to confirm dates and times of hearings.

Contact: Morgan Tracy, 503-823-6879,

Better Housing by Design (BHD)

What: Updating rules to expand housing options in Portland’s multi-dwelling zones and to improve the design and livability of new development.

Status: City Council voted to adopt the Better Housing by Design ordinance on Dec. 18. At the same meeting, they also adopted the Connected Centers Street Plan for East Portland. The adopted zoning code and map amendments became effective on March 1, 2020.

The Better Housing by Design Adopted code documents, incorporating amendments passed by City Council, are available online. You can view the multi-dwelling zoning proposed for individual properties using the project Map App.

Next opportunity to engage: The new regulations and zoning map changes are adopted and became effective on March 1, 2020. This is the final project update.

Contact: Bill Cunningham, 503-823-4203,

River Plan / South Reach

What: Developing an updated vision and implementing maps, code and action items for the southern part of the Willamette River as well as Natural Resources and Scenic Resources protection plans.

Status: Project staff released a Proposed Draft for public review on January 14. The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held a public hearing on February 25. The PSC held a work session on the proposed draft on March 10. The next work session with possible PSC action on the draft plan is scheduled for April 14.

Next opportunity to engage: PSC work sessions are open to the public, but public testimony is not taken. A public hearing with testimony on design recommendations for South Portland / Macadam plan district area will be set for the Design Commission in April or May. City Council will hold a public hearing on the River Plan / South Reach Recommended Draft in Summer 2020.

Contact: Debbie Bischoff, 503-823-6946,

Environmental Overlay Zone Map Correction Project

What: Correcting the location of environmental overlay zones to better align with rivers, streams, wetlands, floodplains, forests, steep slopes and wildlife habitat.

Status: The Proposed Draft will be released in April 2020.

Next opportunity to engage: The Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold public hearings in May 2020.  Notice of hearings will be sent to all affected properties. or 503-823-4225

Expanding Opportunities for Affordable Housing

What: Supporting community-based organizations (CBOs) that want to use their property to develop affordable housing. Supported by a Community Planning grant from Metro, the project is identifying development barriers, and is proposing zoning code changes to the Conditional Use review process for the development of housing on conditional use sites, and map changes on some CBO-owned sites.

Status: The Proposed Draft of zoning code changes and Comprehensive Plan map and zoning map changes was released Jan. 2, 2020. Public testimony ended on Feb. 14. The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) hearing was held on Feb. 11, and 33 people testified. On March 10, the PSC voted to support all of the proposed code changes, and most of the proposed map changes, with amendments further liberalizing code standards for parking and property line adjustments on conditional use sites.

Next opportunity to engage: The Recommended Draft will be released in early April, and public testimony will open again at that time. The project will be heard before City Council on May 14, 2020 (time to be determined).

Contact: Nan Stark, 503-823-3986,

Historic Resources Code Project

What: Updating the zoning code to change how the City identifies, designates and protects historic resources.

Status: Staff are incorporating public feedback received in 2019 into a Proposed Draft of possible zoning code changes.

Next opportunity to engage: The Proposed Draft will be released in late spring 2020. A public hearing before the Planning and Sustainability Commission is tentatively scheduled for May 2020.

Contact: Brandon Spencer-Hartle, 503-823-4641,

Design Overlay Zone Amendments Project (DOZA)

What: Updating and improving both the process and tools used within the design overlay zone.

Status: Staff released the Proposed Draft on Sept. 16, 2019. A joint public hearing with the Planning and Sustainability Commission and the Design Commission was held on Oct. 22. Opportunities for submitting public testimony ended on Nov. 15, 2019.

Next opportunity to engage: The two commissions continue to hold work sessions on the staff proposal through May 2020 before making their recommendations. The Recommended Draft is anticipated to be released in late Summer 2020, with a City Council hearing to follow.

Contact: Phil Nameny, 503-823-7709,

West Portland Town Center Plan

What: Creating a vision and identifying actions to transition “the Crossroads” area into a healthy, inclusive and complete community. Work will cover housing and displacement, improved health and prosperity for low-income residents, transportation and stormwater improvements, economic development, zoning changes and urban design.

Status: Community feedback from Fall 2019 was integrated into the creation of three growth concepts for the town center, which were shared with the public at an open house on March 4. Community input from the open house and an online survey will help staff narrow choices further and develop a proposed plan. A set of existing conditions memos covering health equity, urban form and demographics are also available online. A Community Advisory Group (CAG) meets every other month to guide development of the plan.

Next opportunity to engage: Portlanders are invited to review the three growth concepts for the West Portland Town Center and take an online survey. The April CAG meeting date is being rescheduled due to COVID-19 closures. See project event page for updates. CAG meetings are open to the public and past materials are available online.

Contact: Joan Frederiksen, 503-823-3111,

South Portland Area Planning

What: The Bureaus of Transportation (PBOT) and Planning and Sustainability (BPS) are working with community members to develop land use, circulation, and urban design plans along SW Naito Parkway and around the Ross Island Bridgehead in South Portland. This effort is part of BPS’s Southwest Corridor Inclusive Communities Project.

Status: At an open house on Feb. 25, 2020, staff presented urban design concepts and streetscape design options for SW Naito and development concepts for the opportunity sites created by the Ross Island Bridgehead realignment. Feedback received from the open house will be used to further refine the design options and to help inform a preferred development concept for the opportunity sites.

An existing conditions report is now available and includes an addendum summarizing major infrastructure projects in the study area.

Next opportunity to engage: The next open house is TBD around late April or early May 2020. Check the project calendar for updates.

Contact: Kevin Bond, 503-823-1112,

South Portland Historic District Design Guidelines

What: New approval criteria for alterations, additions and new construction in the South Portland Historic District.

Status: A Community Advisory Group (CAG) is meeting monthly to guide development of the draft approval criteria.

Next opportunity to engage: CAG meetings are open to the public, with time reserved for public comments at every meeting. The next CAG meeting will be held in April 2020 TBD.

Contact: Brandon Spencer-Hartle, 503-823-4641,

Bicycle Parking Project

What: Updating the regulations for bicycle parking in new development.

Status: City Council voted to adopt the amendments on Dec. 4, 2019.

Next opportunity to engage: The new regulations are adopted and went into effect on March 1, 2020. This is the final project update.

Contact: Sarah Figliozzi (PBOT), 503-823-0805 or Phil Nameny (BPS),

Montgomery Park to Hollywood Transit and Land Use Development Strategy (MP2H)

What: Exploring options for a successful land use and transit system, including potential streetcar, linking Montgomery Park in NW Portland to the Hollywood Town Center in NE Portland. The project is a joint effort between the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT).

Status:  The project will assess land use and transportation issues and options, including affordable housing, economic development and business stabilization opportunities associated with potential transit investments. A consultant team has been selected to assist with land use and transportation planning elements. A prior study, Northwest Portland Streetcar Extension & Land Use Alternatives Analysis, explored preliminary issues and options for the NW Portland component of the project. An Existing Conditions Report and Community Engagement Plan have been published and are available on the MP2H project webpage. A kickoff open house was held on March 2.

Next opportunity to engage:

Community Engagement Grants: A Request for Proposals (RFP) for community engagement grants is currently open and posted online. The grants are targeted to community organizations that can engage underrepresented communities potentially affected by the project.

Project Working Group: The City of Portland is seeking a diverse group of community members that wish to serve on a Project Working Group to provide advice and guidance to the project team specifically for the NW Portland portion of the MP2H study area. This group will act as a “sounding board” for the NW portion of the study. The PWG will review and inform draft products and the overall public involvement process. More info and workgroup application available online.

Contact: Barry Manning (BPS), 503-823-7965, or Kate Drennan (PBOT), 503-823-4599,

Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Project

What:Restrict the development and expansion of bulk fossil fuel terminals. These Zoning Code amendments were adopted by the Portland City Council on Dec. 14, 2016. That ordinance was appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court and went back to City Council.

Status: City Council voted to adopt the ordinance on Dec. 18, 2019. The ordinance has been appealed to LUBA by the Western States Petroleum Association, Portland Business Alliance, Oregon Business and Industry, and Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council. LUBA proceedings are expected later this spring.

Next opportunity to engage: Only parties to the appeal can submit testimony to LUBA.

Contact: Tom Armstrong, 503-823-3527,