City Council approves a new land use and transportation plan for Lower SE Portland

News Article
Cover image of the Proposed Draft of the Lower Southeast Rising Area Plan, showing an aerial bird's eye view of the project area.
Changes will allow for more neighborhood businesses and address gaps in transportation infrastructure

On May 2, City Council voted unanimously to approve the Lower SE Rising Area Plan. The plan’s land use amendments will allow for more neighborhood businesses and housing opportunities in Brentwood-Darlington and parts of nearby neighborhoods, including Mt Scott-Arleta, Woodstock and Lents. The adopted ordinance also calls for the plan’s transportation projects to be included in an update to Portland’s Transportation System Plan.

A joint effort of the bureaus of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and Transportation (PBOT), the LSER Plan was jointly sponsored by Commissioners Carmen Rubio and Mingus Mapps, the commissioners in charge of the two bureaus, respectively.

Council’s May 2 vote followed public testimony on the plan during their April 25 meeting. The plan’s land use amendments will be effective Oct. 1, 2024.

What commissioners said

During closing comments on May 2, Commissioner Rubio thanked community members for their involvement in the plan over the past few years. Commissioner Mapps praised the plan’s combined land use and transportation approach, noting the plan was “responsive to the reality that living in a community is both about where you go and how you get there.”

Commissioner Gonzalez highlighted the underinvestment in infrastructure in the plan area and acknowledged that ”the plan is a good step forward to starting to bridge the gaps.” Commissioner Ryan highlighted the plan’s safety improvements, important for “creating a great place for families.”

What community members said

At the April 25 public hearing on the LSER Plan, the majority of testifiers supported the plan. Pamela Hodge, a long-time Brentwood-Darlington resident and a member of the LSER Community Advisory Committee, testified that ― almost 40 years after annexation of the area into the City of Portland ― “The Lower Southeast Rising Plan will finally establish the framework for [the area] becoming a ‘complete’ neighborhood, with … amenities common to most [other] city neighborhoods … and, ultimately, create a more livable neighborhood where residents can thrive.”

Watch the April 25 City Council hearing

Watch the May 2 City Council decision

What’s in the Lower SE Rising Area Plan?

The Lower SE Rising Area Plan's zone changes expand opportunities for more neighborhood businesses and affordable housing, along with transportation improvements to make it easier for people in the plan area to meet their daily needs close by. The Plan changes include:

  • Designation of a Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood center, with zone changes to allow for a neighborhood business district to serve as a hub for commercial services, along with expanded multi-dwelling zoning nearby to allow for more people to live close to services.
  • Zone changes along transit corridors to allow more small businesses and a greater range of housing, including more affordable options. Note that proposed zone changes do not require any changes to existing houses and other development; rather they allow more options for future property uses.
  • Transportation improvements to make it safer and easier to walk, bike and take transit in the area. The plan includes recommendations for transportation safety projects along major corridors, such as adding pedestrian crossings and filling in sidewalk gaps. The plan also includes neighborhood greenway projects on quieter streets to provide safer ways for people to walk and bike to parks, schools and other community destinations.
  • Community stabilization approaches that support continuation of the area’s existing low-cost apartments and manufactured home parks. The plan’s zone changes are focused strategically along transit corridors and in mixed-use centers – the majority (71%) of the plan area will retain existing single-dwelling zoning, further contributing to community stability.

Read the adopted plan