About the River Plan / South Reach project

Purpose, background, timeline, and contact information for the River Plan / South Reach project.

Project purpose

A map showing the area covered by the project

The River Plan / South Reach project will update the Willamette Greenway Plan (1987). The plan will establish a renewed 20-year vision, update existing policies and regulations, identify implementation actions and prioritize future investments. The draft plan includes the following recommendations:

Watershed Health & Resilience

  • Apply new River Overlay zones, which include a 50-foot river setback and new bird-safe glazing, exterior lighting and landscaping requirements.
  • Update floodplain development regulations to reduce flood risk and expand salmon and steelhead habitat.
  • Identify key river and upland restoration opportunities.

Recreation and Scenic Resources

  • Increase access to the Willamette Greenway Trail network.
  • Support planning of and implementation funding for the Ross Island/Oaks Bottom/Sellwood Riverfront Park complex and the former Staff Jennings site.
  • Allow a small amount of river recreation-supportive retail in three South Reach parks.
  • Encourage partner agencies to strengthen enforcement and expand boater education and safety programs.
  • Designate and protect the unique views of the South Reach.

Northwest Tribes and Native Peoples

  • Work with tribal governments and community members to identify indigenous culturally-significant locations, natural resources and practices to honor and support tribal customs and traditions.

Riverfront Communities

  • Ensure all nearby neighborhoods have safe and convenient access to the riverfront.
  • Improve coordination and services to houseless communities, while reducing impacts on natural resources.

Project background

The South Reach of the Willamette River includes areas south of the Ross Island Bridge to the City boundary and areas along the river in Riverdale/Dunthorpe (see map). With its proximity to Downtown and the Central City, the South Reach of the Willamette River is a distinct recreational and environmental asset.

It’s been more than 30 years since the City and community members focused on the future of the South Reach of the Willamette River. The River Plan / South Reach project will include a vision for the future of this unique part of the river over the next 20 years, updated Willamette Greenway Plan-related policies and regulations, implementation actions and a list of desired future investments.

The riverfront area in Dunthorpe, a neighborhood in unincorporated Multnomah County, is included in the project. This is because the City and County have an agreement that Portland will conduct planning for the County’s urban unincorporated areas.

Project steps and timeline

A graphic showing the timeline of the project

Winter–Spring 2018

Initial Input: Existing Conditions Inventory / Analysis

Summer 2018–Winter 2019

Initial Input: Visioning Urban Design

Government Input: Intergovernmental Review Draft

Winter–Spring 2020

Public Input: Discussion Draft

Formal Public Testimony: Hearings & Recommendation - Proposed Draft to Planning and Sustainability Commission

Formal Public Testimony: Hearings & Decision - Recommended Draft to City Council