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  • 16 Sep 2014

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Portland to release draft comp plan

Get ready for planning overload — if you're not feeling it already.

The city is set to release the draft of its comprehensive land-use plan update on Tuesday, complete with its own webpage that features goals, policies, proposed infrastructure projects and maps. The Planning and Sustainability Commission will receive the first of three briefings from staffers working on the project that evening, with two more scheduled for Aug. 12 and Sept. 9. Public hearings will begin on Sept. 23, with the goal of sending a recommended version to the City Council early next year.

But work on the comp plan update didn't begin on Tuesday and it won't end when the council receives it. The plan is required by state policies that require all cities to comply the Oregon's land use planning goals. It must be completely updated every 20 years or so. Work on this update actually began with Vision PDX, which was a lengthy public outreach effort led by former Mayor Tom Potter. It continued under his successor, Mayor Sam Adams, as the Portland Plan, which was adopted by the council on April 2012.

And a separate but related planning process is also underway at the this time — Central City 2035, which will shape close-in neighborhoods for the next 20 years. It is broken down into north/northeast, southeast and west quadrants of the city. The council is scheduled to receive it from the commission some time after the comp plan update. The council will then be briefed and host its own hearings on the two plans before melding them together for final approval.

But even that is not the end of the planning process. The update must then go to the state Land Conservation and Development Commission, which must assure that it complies with all of Oregon's land-use planning goals.

As confusing as all this sounds — or, more accurately, actually is — there are good reasons to follow the comp plan update. Portland has been shaped by a number of long-range plans. The Downtown Plan of the 1970s produced Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the Transit Mall and Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Central City Plan of the 1980s led to the Pearl District. It's first update influenced South Waterfront. The last update of the comp plan allowed for increased densities in existing neighborhoods — something proving controversial today.

Much of the comp plan update is also being driven by projected population increases. According to Metro, the regional elected government, the Portland-area population is scheduled to increase by up to 750,000 people during the next two decades. As many as 440,000 new jobs are also expected to be created in the U.S. Census-defined area that includes Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Columbia, Yamhill, Clark and Skamania counties. The update will help determine how many of the additional people and new jobs are in Portland, and what will be done to try to maintain the city's livability.

The draft comp plan update is scheduled to be available Tuesday on the Planning and Sustainability Commission website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/pdxcompplan