ENB-10.03 - Willamette Greenway Plan Update

Non-Binding City Policies (NCP)
Policy category
Policy number
Non-Binding City Policy

WHEREAS, the Willamette River plays multiple and competing roles: it is a critical ecosystem and habitat; it is a transportation way and port; it is a scenic resource; it is a playground. Each of these functions adds value to the City; and

WHEREAS, the Central City Summit held on November 19, 1998 affirmed that the health of the Willamette River is a priority for Portland's citizens, and Council endorses the Vision Statement from the Summit set forth in Exhibit A; and

WHEREAS, the Willamette Greenway Plan is part of Portland's Comprehensive Plan and should establish the policy framework for City actions affecting the river, including infrastructure investments, city services, and regulations affecting development; and

WHEREAS, the Willamette Greenway Plan was last updated in 1987. The update was based upon inventories and analysis of public recreation sites, significant natural areas and vegetative cover, fish and wildlife habitats and areas in flood plains; and
WHEREAS, since 1987, there have been significant changes. North Macadam has been identified as an important development opportunity within the Central City. Other industrial lands have become available for development or recreation. The Greenway Trail has been expanded. Steelhead have been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The data and analysis completed in 1987 do not reflect these many changes; and

WHEREAS, the Greenway consists of the river's bank, the setback area between the top of bank and the setback line; and the area landward of the setback line. The rules for development in each of these areas are different but inextricably linked to each other. Revisions to these rules must be comprehensive, not piecemeal. The revisions must be supported by adequate scientific data and physical inventories; and
WHEREAS, some citizens have expressed dissatisfaction with the standards, especially FAR bonuses, building heights and setbacks, which now apply to development in the Greenway zones; and
WHEREAS, recent land use cases have shown that the relationship of the Willamette Greenway Design Guidelines to other code provisions is ambiguous and unclear when applied to development in the Greenway zones; and
WHEREAS, City Bureaus are currently engaged in a number of separate projects related to the Willamette. These include the North Macadam framework planning process, the Master Plan for Willamette Cove, the Portland Development Commission study of bank treatment methods and the City's response to the steelhead listing. These projects are important and must continue. However, the information developed as part of these projects can contribute to an overall assessment of the River. There is currently no coordination of these projects; and
WHEREAS, the Council anticipates that the North Macadam Framework Plan will be submitted to Council in the Fall of 1999, prior to completion of a revised Willamette Greenway Plan;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Portland City Council directs the Bureau of Planning, in collaboration with the Bureau of Environmental Services, Bureau of Parks and Recreation, and Portland Development Commission to prepare a work program for a planning project that will result in a comprehensive revision of the Willamette Greenway Plan and implementing regulations. The work program must include at least the following elements:
  • Citizen involvement;
  • Creation of a vision for the Willamette River with citizen input;
  • Completion of inventories and analysis of the river bank, vegetative cover, fish and wildlife habitats, public recreation sites, natural areas, areas in flood plains and other aspects of the river, consistent with State Goal 15, and in coordination with on-going projects such as North Macadam and the City's response to the Endangered Species Act;
  • Review and revision of the Willamette Greenway Plan policies; and
  • Review and revision of the full range of regulations affecting the river and the river's edge, including but not limited to the zoning code, design guidelines, stormwater management standards, fill and excavation rules, Recreation Trail standards; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Council directs that the work program include Bureau of Planning management of the planning process and active coordination by the Bureau of Planning of the on-going separate projects affecting the Greenway; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Council directs that the work program be prepared by December 30, 1998 and provided to Council for consideration as part of the 1999-00 budget process; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Parks and Greenway element of the North Macadam Framework Plan as adopted by Council will be incorporated into the revised Willamette Greenway Plan.

Resolution No. 35742 adopted by Council November 25, 1998.
Filed for inclusion in PPD September 24, 2004.

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