Joint effort by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), Portland Fire & Rescue, the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County to improve wayfinding, 9-1-1 dispatching and emergency response
(April 29, 2020) After over two years of planning and development, on Friday, May 1, 2020 South Portland will officially become the City of Roses’ sixth sextant. It is the first major readdressing effort in Portland since the Great Renaming of 1931 which created the current N, NE, NW, SE and SW Portland.
For decades, due to the eastward curvature in the Willamette River, addresses in Southwest Portland located east of SW Naito Parkway (and SW View Point Terrace in more southern Portland neighborhoods) have used a leading zero to differentiate them from addresses west of Naito Parkway. A leading zero address is a property address that starts with a zero. These addresses make wayfinding difficult for delivery drivers and, most importantly, first responders to locate and easily navigate to leading zero properties.
Over 6,000 Portland addresses, or 8% of the total, in the area of Southwest Portland east of SW Naito Parkway will change from Southwest to South. They will also lose their leading zero if they have one. Crews contracted by PBOT will update street signage in phases, starting with replacing street signs in poor condition or visibility. Street signs in good condition will be updated with stickers placed over the “W” in “SW”, followed by a gradual replacement over time of all street signage as the signs age. Larger street signs will be changed at a later stage, when social distancing guidelines allow for it. Click here to view an interactive map of the South Portland Addressing Area.
The May 1, 2020 address change date was established by City Council and was reconfirmed after consultation with health care partners in the community to prioritize emergency response through improved wayfinding. PBOT has collaborated and communicated closely with health care providers in the future South Portland Addressing Area for over two years in preparation for this addressing change. This address change is especially important in our current public health state of emergency.
“Thank you to the hardworking staff at PBOT, Portland Fire & Rescue, the Portland Police Bureau, the Bureau of Development Services, the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC), Multnomah County, and the support and participation of South Portland’s neighborhood associations and residents,” said Transportation Director Chris Warner. “This change will make wayfinding easier and, more importantly, support the lifesaving efforts of first responders.”
“OHSU recognizes that the current address system can slow emergency response. Faster response by paramedics means more lives saved in our emergency department when seconds count. OHSU applauds the city for taking this step,” said Skai Dancey, Associate VP, Facilities, OHSU.
“PBOT and Portland Fire & Rescue provided hands on leadership, spending hours working with our neighborhood association and listening and answering residents' questions,” said Maryellen Read, a Collins View resident. “This project was a wonderful demonstration of recognizing that each neighborhood has its own unique demographic and geographic challenges and working to address them.”
The Bureau of Emergency Communication’s (BOEC) database will still recognize former addresses as “alias addresses” for people calling who may not immediately recall their new address when dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency.
With the addition of the South Portland address area, Portland has officially become a city of sextants. However, many Portlanders do prefer to call the city’s address areas quadrants regardless of the total number. In this spirit, PBOT will also informally recognize sixth quadrant as a designation for the new part of the city.
Learn more about the South Portland Addressing Project on the website at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/75814 and view Frequently Asked Questions about the project at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/75815.
Do you live in the new South Portland? View the Bureau of Development Services’ address change chart to find your new address: https://www.portlandmaps.com/reports/index.cfm?action=south-portland