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New directions for a NW Portland neighborhood are emerging

News Article
Street view photo looking towards the Montgomery Park building in the distance.
Help shape the character of this evolving area around the Montgomery Park building.

The area around the historic Montgomery Park building in NW Portland is in transition and has significant potential for future change. The Montgomery Park to Hollywood (MP2H) – NW Plan proposes to transition the area between NW Nicolai and Vaughn, west of Highway 30, from industrial and employment uses to a broader mix of uses, including new housing and opportunities for new jobs, shops, and services. These changes would complement a planned extension of Portland Streetcar to Montgomery Park, via 23rd Ave. and Wilson/Roosevelt Avenues.

In addition to a new zoning plan district to inform and direct future development, the MP2H NW Plan will apply the Design overlay zone (‘d’ overlay) to much of the area. The ‘d’ overlay requires creation of a character statement for the plan area in collaboration with community members and other stakeholders, to serve as a guide for the review of future development projects subject to design review.

Help refine future design guidance

New buildings and public spaces in the district will significantly contribute to the area’s emerging character. At a June 2023 Open House and Design Character Workshop, as well as in earlier phases of the plan, community members shared that they want future development to support and foster the area’s diverse mix of uses and community. They also want the area’s industrial heritage, significant historic resources, and proximity to Forest Park to be honored as more people and businesses call it home.

Has the draft MP2H NW Plan Area Character Statement captured this direction? Are there other resources or elements that should be included or highlighted? Tell us what you think.

We want to hear from the community on what works, needs improvement or may be missing in this draft MP2H NW Plan Area Character Statement. We also want to hear more about what makes this place special. This statement will inform development for years to come, so we want to make sure that it articulates the history, places and future aspirations that are important to the community. Your feedback will be used to revise the character statement, which will be a part of the MP2H – NW Plan Proposed Draft, expected out in early 2024.

A computer-generated perspective of what the Northwest study area might look like in the future. Three-dimensional shapes of new buildings are shown in grey, surrounded by green spaces and tree-lined streets.

A little more background - What is a Character Statement?

Diagram showing the three components that go into drafting a Character Statement: nature, community, and architecture.

Character statements supplement the Portland Citywide Design Guidelines for each designated center, from town centers like St Johns and West Portland to the Central City. Following a template, the statements provide specific context aligned with and supporting Guideline 01: Build on the Character and Local Identity of the Place.

Character statements are a placemaking tool and speak to three important aspects of an area’s future development: community character; architecture and urban design character; and natural and scenic resources. The NW Plan Character Statement will document the Montgomery Park NW Plan Area’s unique context, including its existing and emerging character, e.g., proximity to Willamette River and Forest Park, history of industrial uses, and the area’s future diverse mix of uses and community.

What comes next?

Staff introduced the plan to the Planning Commission, Design Commission and Historic Landmarks Commission in August and September 2023. Now they are developing a Proposed Draft of the MP2H NW Plan, informed by public comments and technical, infrastructure, and economic analysis. Feedback from this NW Plan Character Statement survey will inform the character statement part of the Proposed Draft, expected to be released in late 2023 or early 2024. The Planning Commission and Design Commission are anticipated to hold formal public hearings on the entire plan, including the character statement, in Winter 2024. After that the plan goes to City Council for public hearings, tentatively in Spring/Summer 2024.

Please tell us what you think

The survey closed on November 13, 2023. Thank you.