West Portland hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years. The use of land and roadways reflects outdated planning practices that prioritized cars over people: Important roads lack sidewalks and safe crossings, and reaching transit or getting around without a car is challenging. Housing costs are rising, while housing choices are not. And commercial and community services are limited.
However, in the coming years more people and businesses will move to SW Portland. And while challenged by its existing housing, transportation and infrastructure issues, the West Portland area has the makings of a dynamic, multicultural, amenity-rich town center.
Today it provides residents and employees with access to good schools, from primary grades to colleges; well-paying jobs like those at OHSU and in Washington County; and great open spaces, such as Woods Memorial Natural Area and Spring Garden Park. A large Arab and East African immigrant population also calls the area home, with many living in some of the few remaining low-cost apartments in Portland. Here they enjoy a strong sense of community supported by two local mosques, several schools, a library, and a few nearby ethnic food shops.
So, as the area grows and diversifies, it’s a good time to plan for the improvements and benefits the community needs with this expected growth and change – even without light rail in the near term. A new plan that prioritizes equitable growth and development will ensure that improvements and public benefits accompany that change, while centering the needs and priorities of households historically excluded from economic opportunities, such as Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities.
Enter the West Portland Town Center Plan
The Proposed Draft of the West Portland Town Center Plan is now available for public review and comment.
Created over the past two and a half years, this long-range plan for growth in SW Portland reflects countless hours of community engagement and neighborhood meetings, door-to-door outreach, open houses, surveys and more. It especially reflects the voices of those who have previously been unheard: renters, people of color, immigrants, and low-income households.
Portlanders are invited to visit the Proposed Draft online overview and MapAppto learn more about the Plan and find links to related materials, as well as how to share their comments (called “testimony”) with the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC), which will be considering the proposal this fall. You can also view a video of the recent PSC briefing on the Proposed Draft.
How to testify on the WPTC Proposed Draft
The PSC will hold two online/virtual hearings on the Plan:
The hearings can be viewed on the BPS PSC YouTube channel.
You can provide verbal testimony at a PSC hearing. To do this you must register by 5 p.m. the day before the hearing via the events pages linked above.
You can also providewritten testimony. Written testimony on the Proposed Draft is due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, unless extended by the PSC Chair.
Written testimony may be submitted via:
MapApp: The MapApp is as easy as sending an email.
- Go to the West Portland Town Center Plan on the Map App and click “Testify” at upper right to provide comments.
Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission
West Portland Town Center Plan Testimony
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100
Portland, OR 97201
What comes next?
This Fall the PSC will hold public hearings on the Proposed Draft of the Plan and read written testimony. They will consider what community members have to say, then discuss and deliberate in order to refine the proposals in the Plan. They will then send their amended version to City Council in late fall or early winter. City Council is expected to review the Plan and take testimony (verbal and written) starting sometime in late Winter 2022.