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Proposals to update Portland’s floodplain regulations move forward in preparation for City Council consideration in August

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Community members will have opportunities to provide input on building code (City Title 24) updates in July; City Council hearings on both building code and zoning code at the end of August.
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For several years, City staff have been working on a long-term program to manage Portland’s floodplains and update regulations for new development in floodplain areas in the Central City and other areas.

The purpose of the Floodplain Resilience Project is to:

  1. Ensure that homes and businesses located in the floodplain continue to be eligible for federal floodplain insurance;
  2. Bring City regulations into compliance with evolving federal regulations related to endangered fish species and habitat; and
  3. Advance the City’s climate resiliency goals.

Proposed changes to manage Portland’s floodplain

The proposed package of changes balances the need to address these issues, while recognizing the importance of building housing and future economic development in existing areas that allow for development. This package has two main components, both of which are scheduled to be adopted in Fall 2023 and go into effect in Fall 2025:

  1. Update the City’s building code (Title 24) that address excavation (grading) requirements for new developments in the floodplain.
  2. Update the City’s zoning code (Title 33) regulations that address vegetation and landscaping requirements and improvements to habitat in new development in the floodplain.

In addition to these regulatory changes, City bureaus have been working together to identify potential mitigation bank opportunities for development projects that cannot address their flood storage and habitat impacts on site. That work is expected to move forward as a separate project and will need to be informed by these changes.

A draft of the Building Code, Chapter 24.50 ordinance language will be available for public review and comment in July 2023. In November 2022, the zoning code amendments were considered by the Planning and Sustainability Commission, which recommended that City Council adopt the proposal.

You can learn more about the detailed proposal in the project summary:

Upcoming engagement opportunities and schedule

Over the next few months, the public will have an opportunity to learn more about and provide input on these two important projects.

  • June & July – Public outreach opportunities and information sessions (details forthcoming).
  • Week of July 10 – Detailed building code (Title 24) proposals released for public comment.
  • July 10 – August 1 – Public comment period for building code proposals.
  • August – Final drafts published both building and zoning code ordinances, which will be brought to Council.
  • Late August to September/October – City Council briefing, public hearing, and potential adoption.

Check the project website for the hearing date and other updates as it moves forward. Those interested can also sign up for email updates.

Contact

Eden Dabbs

City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Ken Ray

Public Information Officer, Development Services