Portland, OR, Comprehensive Plan

Updated March 2020

By: City of Portland Planning Bureau

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Table of Contents

Accessory Dwelling Units

The city’s comprehensive plan includes several policy statements that support the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The Design and Development chapter encourages the development of more alley-facing ADUs (Policy 4.8), the creation of accessory dwelling units in lower-density residential areas outside of centers and corridors (Policy 4.15), and the development of space- and energy-efficient ADUs (Policy 4.61). The Housing chapter encourages the development of ADUs to increase housing choice (Policy 5.4). The Economic Development chapter says that home-based businesses should be allowed on sites with ADUs (Policy 6.65).

Affordable Housing Programs

The city’s comprehensive plan discusses affordable housing in its Housing chapter. It includes goals that address housing diversity, access, health and connectivity, affordability, and quality. It shares 54 policies that make these goals actionable.

Autonomous Vehicles

The city's comprehensive plan addresses new mobility, including autonomous vehicles, in its Transportation chapter. Policy 9.68 and Policy 9.69 include actions to ensure that autonomous technologies align with advancing the Vision Zero initiative and that the built environment prioritizes automated electric vehicles carrying more passengers.

Comprehensive Planning

This city's comprehensive plan is the first new comprehensive plan for Portland in more than 35 years. It is based on the city's 1980 Comprehensive Plan, the city's Climate Action Plan, as well as the 2012 Portland Plan and its equity framework. Three integrated strategies of Economic Prosperity and Affordability, Healthy Connected City, and Thriving Educated Youth, form its foundation. The plan includes five guiding principles of economic prosperity, human health, environmental health, equity, and resilience. Goals and policies are grouped within chapters on Community Involvement, Urban Form, Design and Development, Housing, Economic Development, Environment and Watershed Health, Public Facilities and Services, Transportation, and Land Use Designations and Zoning. The plan also includes a matrix of significant capital improvements (e.g., stormwater, water, and transportation) projects necessary to support the land uses designated in the plan.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

The city’s comprehensive plan contains guidance for natural resource protection. The Environment and Watershed Health chapter identifies environmental areas for protection, including rivers, floodplains, wetlands, and habitats. It provides guidance on how to lower adverse impacts on significant natural areas during new development projects by requiring an impact evaluation, establishing a hierarchy for regulatory approaches and mitigation efforts, and encouraging new projects to improve their environmental conditions. The plan also contains watershed policy statements that focus on topics like habitats, connected environmental areas, and hazard risks.

Inclusionary Housing

The city’s comprehensive plan addresses inclusionary housing in its Housing chapter. Under Housing affordability, the plan includes a policy to use inclusionary zoning and other regulatory tools to effectively link the production of affordable housing to the production of market-rate housing and work to remove regulatory barriers that prevent the  use of such tools (Policy 5.35). 

Social Equity

The city’s comprehensive plan lists Equity as a guiding principle and incorporates equity goals and policies into all plan elements. Some notable examples include Goal 2.B and the environmental justice policies in the Community Involvement chapter, Policy 3.3 on equitable development in the Urban Form chapter, policies related to equitable household prosperity in the Economic Development chapter, Goal 7.D on environmental equity in the Environment and Watershed Health chapter, and Goal 9.E on equitable transportation in the Transportation chapter.

Solar Energy

The city's comprehensive plan includes an energy goal (Goal 7) to promote a sustainable energy future by increasing energy efficiency in all sectors of the city by ten percent by the year 2000. Several policies and objectives accompany this goal including investigating the potential for energy savings from solar access standards for commercial buildings and multifamily housing, exploring opportunities for promoting solar energy use and daylighting in commercial buildings, promoting energy conservation as the energy resource of first choice, and developing an energy supply assessment for the city which includes solar (7.4.F, 7.5.I, 7.8, 7.8.C).

Tree Preservation and the Urban Forest 

The city’s comprehensive plan includes urban forestry policy recommendations. Policy 7.11 of the Environment and Watershed Health chapter addresses tree preservation, urban forest diversity, tree canopy, tree planting, vegetation in natural resource areas, resilience, trees in land-use planning, and managing wildfire risk.

Portland, OR

2010 Population: 583,776

2010 Population Density: 4,375.25/square mile