These are the visionary descriptors for the future Portland is reaching for in the Comprehensive Plan now being drafted. The current long-range plan (the last one was published 30 years ago) is seen as an effective tool for guiding and shaping how Portland grows and develops over the next 20+ years. Portland is projected to grow by nearly 280,000 people in that time, all to be absorbed within the city’s current boundaries. Forecasters predict the addition of 150,000 jobs within the same period. City planners are floating several alternative growth scenarios to try to manage this projected growth.
It is vitally important for Portlanders to engage in the city’s planning process to help determine the shape of our collective future. Neighborhood livability issues come into play, for example, in the consideration of zoning changes in local business districts as well as changes to city residential building codes related to infill. This draft plan process is a window of opportunity for us to influence city policies by sharing our own visions for the future.
Working Draft Now Available
Working Draft Part 1 of the Comprehensive Plan was released to the public on January 16, 2013 and is now available on the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability website. This is the “60% draft” which means there are still a lot of details to be filled in—an optimum time for public comment. The current comment period stretches from now until May.
Since wading through a 285-page document is a daunting task to say the least, BPS has released a friendly Companion Guide for the Comp Plan Draft. This 12-page “cheat sheet” lays out the main ideas and is designed to help citizens navigate to the sections of the draft most pertinent to their interests.
How to Engage in the Draft Process
Study the draft and submit comments to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Individual comments are the most helpful to city planners and much preferred to group petitions. Visit the Comp Plan’s Get Involved web page to learn how to get started. Comment online by May 1, 2013. (Comments may also be sent to the bureau via email or snail mail.)
Attend a WNA Land Use Committee study session. Neighbors who attended January’s meeting, at which Portland BPS liaison Matt Wickstrom presented, agreed to study Comp Plan sections pertaining to housing and urban infill design (Urban Design Framework and Chapter 5: Design and Development). Woodstock Neighborhood Land Use Committee next meets on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at the Woodstock Community Center.
Attend a community workshop. In February and March, City staff and partners will be sharing information and soliciting input on the Working Draft Part 1 through a series of community workshops. The Southeast workshop is slated for Thursday, February 28, 5:30–8:30 p.m. at Franklin High School, 5405 SE Woodward Street.(Find additional dates for workshops being held in other parts of the city on the BPS News and Updates page.)
Attend a Policy Expert Group meeting. In May 2012, BPS formed eight Policy Expert Groups (PEGs) to help develop, review and provide comments to City staff on proposed policy recommendations for the Portland Comprehensive Plan Update. The PEGs consist of 15 to 25 members with specific skills and expertise relating to each PEG topic, with a representation of both community and government perspectives. These groups have been meeting monthly to review Comprehensive Plan proposals since June 2012 and will continue to do so until June 2013. All meetings are open to the public. The two PEGs most concerned with issues impacting neighborhoods such as ours are the Neighborhood Centers Policy Expert Group and the Residential Development and Compatibility Policy Expert Group.