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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

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How was the plan created?

document coverHow was the plan created?

Under state‐mandated Periodic Review, there are several steps that must be taken to update a Comprehensive Plan. Below is a summary of the state-approved process used to create the 2035 Comprehensive Plan.


The first step of Periodic Review is assessing the adequacy of the existing plan and background data to determine if conditions have changed enough to require the development of a new Comprehensive Plan or updates to portions of the Comprehensive Plan. The 2008 assessment showed that a significant update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan, including new background information, was needed. This direction ultimately resulted in the development of new Comprehensive Plan Goals and Policies and a substantial update to the Comprehensive Plan Map. 

Periodic Review Work Plan 

The next step in Periodic Review is the development of a work plan. As part of periodic review, the City is required to develop and adopt a work plan to guide the update of the Comprehensive Plan. In 2008, after review and recommendations by the Planning and Sustainability Commission, the Portland City Council adopted a work plan by Resolution No.  36626. This document includes the Council‐approved Periodic Review Work Program & Public Involvement Plan (August 6, 2008).

Factual Basis 

After the work plan is adopted, the next step is the development of a factual basis, as required by ORS 197.625 and OAR 660‐0025. The purpose of this work is to provide a thorough and current analysis of existing conditions in Portland on which to base the content of the Comprehensive Plan. The factual basis includes the following documents:

  • Economic Opportunities Analysis 
  • Housing Needs Analysis 
  • Natural Resource Inventory 
  • Infrastructure Condition and Capacity 
  • Buildable Lands Inventory 

Growth Scenarios and Alternatives Analysis 

In the Buildable Lands Inventory Report, published in 2012, the City analyzed existing development patterns and intensity, land and development values, and existing land use designations and zoning to determine where there is vacant land and land that is likely to be redeveloped. The report identifies constraints, such as inadequate infrastructure services or natural hazards. The Growth Scenarios Report offers a basis for making informed decisions about which investments and growth patterns will bring the greatest benefit to the most Portlanders while moving the city closer to meeting performance goals. Performance goals include things such as reducing carbon emissions, improving access to living‐wage jobs, and providing safe and convenient access to goods and services within walking distance of where people live. The Growth Scenarios Report uses information from the Buildable Lands Inventory and measures the performance of different possible growth alternatives, and how those choices may impact our ability to meet the Measures of Success adopted with the Portland Plan. Based on analysis in the Growth Scenarios Report, a “preferred scenario” was developed. The proposed Comprehensive Plan Map implements that preferred scenario.

Working Draft (Part 1 and Part 2) 

Staff prepared a Working Draft of the Comprehensive Plan in 2013, in consultation with a group of advisory committees (known as Policy Expert Groups, or PEGs). In total, more than 60 volunteers participated in this process, including business and neighborhood leaders, and a variety of other topic experts and community representatives. The Working Draft was shared with the general public at meetings and events and online. The Working Draft Part 1, which included the Urban Design Framework and the Goals and Policies, was released for public review in January 2013. The Working Draft Part 2, which included the Comprehensive Plan Map and the Citywide Systems Plan, was released for public review in October 2013. 

Proposed Draft 

The Proposed Draft was developed by staff, informed by public feedback and additional analysis. The draft was published in July 2014 and circulated for broad public review. Formal testimony was invited for a 9‐month period, July 2014 through March 2015. Testimony occurred in person (at public hearings), in writing (via email and letters), and through an interactive online map application (the Map App). Over 4,000 comments were received and considered by staff and the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC).  

Recommended Draft 

This Recommended Draft included all changes to the Proposed Draft approved and recommended by the Planning and Sustainability Commission between July 2014 and June 2015. This draft was published in August 2015. After receiving the PSC recommendation, City Council held five public hearings in late 2015 and early 2016. Over 4,000 comments were received and considered by the City Council. In February 2016, City Council identified potential amendments they wanted to discuss. City Council scheduled several public hearings in April of 2016 to hear public testimony about the amendments. Adopted Plan City Council voted on amendments to the PSC recommendation in late April and May, and adopted the Plan in June 2016.

Early Implementation 

The final step in the state‐required Periodic Review process is updating City codes and zoning maps to be consistent with the new Comprehensive Plan. This step was completed in December 2016.

State Acknowledgment

After adoption at the City level, the City notified the state of Oregon, and requested that the state review the plan for conformance with Statewide Planning Goals. The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) approved the plan in late 2017.  That decision was subsequently appealed to the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC). LCDC rejected all appeals in a March 2018 meeting. To allow sufficient time for state acknowledgement, the Council established an effective date of January 1, 2018. That date was later changed to May 24, 2018. 

Future updates 

The Comprehensive Plan is a long‐range plan to guide land use decisions for a generation. Given the breadth of the Plan, its long‐term planning horizon, and the amount of work required to update the Plan’s components, the full Comprehensive Plan is only updated periodically.  However, it is often necessary to update portions of the plan or to create more focused area plans. When smaller updates are completed or area plans like the Central City 2035 Plan are completed, they must be adopted as “post‐acknowledgment plan amendments.”