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About the South Portland Area Planning project

Information
Computer model showing aerial view of new residential buildings along Naito
Project purpose, background, timeline, and contact information.

Project purpose

The bureaus of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and Transportation (PBOT) are working with community members to develop transportation and land use plans in South Portland. South Portland is roughly the area just south of downtown, surrounding the Ross Island Bridgehead and including the Lair Hill neighborhood.

Reconfiguring the Ross Island Bridgehead is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reconnect a divided neighborhood with improvements to SW Naito Parkway, land uses that contribute to a healthy connected community, and preservation of Portland’s first historic district.

This planning effort is part of BPS’ Southwest Corridor Inclusive Communities Project and PBOT’s Naito Main Street Project.

Planning will result in:

  • Designs for realigning the Ross Island Bridgehead.
  • New land uses and street designs for a complete street along SW Naito Avenue.
  • Development concepts for publicly owned opportunity sites created by the Ross Island Bridgehead realignment.
  • Updated South Portland Historic District Guidelines.

Project background

Auto-oriented infrastructure projects, land use regulations, urban renewal and real estate practices shaped the growth in – and harmed – South Portland for generations. Investments in projects like OR 99-W, Harbor Drive widening, I-5, and the Ross Island Bridge highway access ramps split the Lair Hill neighborhood that was once home to many Southern European immigrant and Jewish households, depressing home values and exposing residents to pollution.

In addition, the City's urban renewal program demolished more than 400 homes in the 1950s and 60s. As well, redlining of the neighborhood and racially restrictive covenants in surrounding neighborhoods contributed to fewer lower income households and people of color living in Southwest. Those who did move in were concentrated along the more dense and unhealthy corridors.

The City is obligated to ensure new transportation infrastructure, land use plans and housing investments redress these past harms to low-income people and communities of color. PBOT’s transportation improvements will stitch together the neighborhood and better connect residents and workers to downtown Portland and the region. Other plans will support more affordable housing, commercial services and jobs that meet the needs of low-income residents and communities of color. Community engagement will be designed to improve the capacity of the community to advocate for their goals.

Project steps and timeline

Major project documents and resources, an event calendar, news and updates will be posted on PBOT’s Naito Parkway Main Street webpage.

Other related efforts under the SW Corridor umbrella:

Project status

In July 2022, project staff released the Discussion Draft of the land use plan for the Main Street Street / Ross Island Bridgehead in South Portland for public review and comment. Currently, this planning project is on indefinite hiatus. More details about the project status and the draft land use plan are available in the announcement.

Contact

Kevin Bond

City Planner II, Planning and Sustainability