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Comprehensive Plan Update E-news, February 2014
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Outreach and process updates | six new CIC members confirmed and sworn in | presenting the Green Loop | Mixed Use Zones Project and Institutional Zoning Project launch Early Implementation phase


February 28, 2014

Comprehensive Plan Update E-news, January 2014
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Processing Portlanders’ comments and feedback on the Comprehensive Plan Update | Community Involvement Committee welcomes six new members | New advisory committees forming to guide early implementation projects


January 29, 2014

October issue of the Comprehensive Plan Update E-news
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Comprehensive Plan Update Working Draft Part 2 | The Map App | Upcoming Mapping Conversations | Policy Expert Group wrap-ups | Opportunities to volunteer on a committee, and more!



November 1, 2013

Online Map App Ready To Go
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Map App webpage

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability just launched a new online tool that allows users to make comments on a series of maps for the Comprehensive Plan Update. From centers, corridors and urban habitat corridors to employment, stormwater, transportation and more, the new Map App offers a dynamic map-based environment for Portlanders to dive deeply into the inner workings of their city.


Roughly 30 map layers are included in the Map App, including 11 "discussion layers" that represent areas of potential change or investment. A collection of "background layers" provides visual information about Portland's median age and income, population density, park access, employment areas, watershed health and other data sets. Users can combine layers together to see connections between different map layers. They can also comment directly in the Map App or with the online comment form. Public feedback is welcome until December 31.


The Map App is part of the Working Draft Part 2: Maps and Infrastructure, which complements the Working Draft Part 1: Goals and Policies. Together they make up what will become Portland's new Comprehensive Plan. For more information about the Comprehensive Plan Update, please visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/pdxcompplan.   

October 7, 2013

August issue of the Comprehensive Plan Update E-news
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District Mapping Conversations recap | Comp Plan & CC2035: How they work together | Youth intern profile | PEG updates


August 26, 2013

Striving for Health in Portland
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Adults playing basketball at outdoor court


Following the examples of national public health agencies, the Portland Plan includes “healthy weight” as an indicator — or sign — of healthy people in the city. People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of experiencing chronic diseases, from Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.


Although healthy weight data is not available at the city scale, we can use data at the county scale as an approximation. In Multnomah County, the percentage of adults at a healthy weight is on the decline. In 1993, 55 percent of county residents were classified as being at a healthy weight. The latest data (from 2006-09) shows that about 44 percent of adults in the county are at a healthy weight, down 11 percent. Of those not at a healthy weight, about 34 percent are considered overweight and another 22 percent are obese. And only about 55 percent of adults in the county meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended daily level of physical activity — 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days.


It’s no secret that eating healthier foods and exercising more is the way to reverse this trend. But what actions can public agencies take to encourage this?


The Portland Plan features the Healthy Connected City strategy, which aims to increase access to grocery stores and healthy foods while promoting physical activity for residents.


Living in walkable neighborhoods with easy access to amenities and transit is a growing priority for Portland families. Through the actions in the Portland Plan and the Comprehensive Plan Update, the City and its partners hope to create more places where it’s easy to get around by foot, bike or public transportation, giving people more opportunities to be active.


In the long run, a more connected urban environment may be one of the most practical solutions to preventing obesity and reducing related diseases. How walkable is your neighborhood? 


Oregon Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System County Combined Dataset, 2006-2009.

Multnomah County Community Health Assessment Quarterly, Fall 2008.

July 30, 2013

June issue of the Comprehensive Plan Update E-news
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Growth Scenarios Report released | Public feedback summary from Part 1 | District Mapping Conversations check-in | PEG updates


July 16, 2013

May issue of Comprehensive Plan Update E-news published
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Highlights include District Mapping Conversations, profile of the Industrial Land and Watershed Health Working Group and summer outreach efforts


May 16, 2013

April issue of the Comprehensive Plan Update E-news is out
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Comprehensive Plan vs. Portland Plan: What's the Diff? | Part 1 Workshop Recap | Policy Survey Closes May 1 | Getting Ready for Part 2 | PEG Updates


April 16, 2013

My Portland Plan: How is the Portland Plan being implemented through the Comprehensive Plan?
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Springwater trail, railroad tracks and the riverRecently, Portland residents have been asking Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff what it means to say the Comprehensive Plan is a Portland Plan implementation project. Others wonder why we need the Comprehensive Plan if we have the Portland Plan.


The Portland Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in 2012, is a strategic plan that provides the public and decision-makers a way to evaluate budget requests and proposed projects against citywide goals.


It highlights four focus areas: equity, education, prosperity and health. Each focus area has a strategy, which includes policies to guide how the City approaches work in that area, and a list of potential actions to take over the next five years.


The Portland Plan was adopted by a resolution. Plans adopted by resolutions serve as a guide for future government action and are not legally binding.


The Comprehensive Plan, however, must be adopted by an ordinance; plans adopted by ordinance are binding.


The Comprehensive Plan is a state-mandated plan to prepare for expected population and job growth as well as infrastructure investments. It will also guide the City’s community engagement practices to ensure inclusion, transparency and equity in the decision-making process around key priorities.


Staff used an open-ended and flexible process during the creation of the Portland Plan to gather feedback from thousands of residents to help shape the future direction of our city. The Comprehensive Plan builds on that input, as well as lessons learned about community involvement.


In addition to new, more detailed policies, the draft Comprehensive Plan includes many of the policies from the Portland Plan Guiding Policies. Once adopted, these will all become binding and guide land use, transportation and investment decisions for the next 20 years.


Key concepts from the Portland Plan are incorporated throughout the draft Comprehensive Plan:

  • The Healthy Connected City strategy is a core component of the Urban Design Framework, as well as the Urban Design and Development and Watershed Health and Environment goals and policies.
  • Issues related to freight movement and providing land for traded sector development are addressed in the Economic Development and Transportation goals and policies.
  • Policies that support youth success can be found in the Housing, Economic Development, Urban Design and Development, Public Facilities and Transportation chapters.

As a legally binding policy document, the Comprehensive Plan is an important implementation tool of the Portland Plan. 

April 8, 2013

Comprehensive Plan Update E-News, March 2013
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Portlanders speak up at community workshops | Policy survey available online | The Comp Plan: Then & Now | Getting ready for Part 2 | PEG feedback and updates


March 14, 2013

Comprehensive Plan Update E-News, February 2013
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Community workshops run through Mar 14, breakout sessions described; online survey offers another chance to comment; PEG updates


March 5, 2013

Comprehensive Plan Update E-news, January 2013
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Working Draft Part 1 released, community workshops announced, PEG updates


March 6, 2013

My Portland Plan: What Makes a Neighborhood Complete?
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A “complete neighborhood” is an area where residents have safe and convenient access to goods and services they need on a daily or regular basis. This includes a range of housing options, grocery stores and other neighborhood-serving commercial services; quality public schools; public open spaces and recreational facilities; and access to frequent transit. In a complete neighborhood, the network of streets and sidewalks is interconnected, which makes walking and bicycling to these places safe and relatively easy for people of all ages and abilities.


Why measure complete neighborhoods? Having safe, convenient and walkable access to schools, parks, grocery stores and transit can help Portlanders save money and stay healthy. For example, lower transportation costs help reduce overall household costs and increase housing affordability. And incorporating daily exercise is a lot easier with a safe network of sidewalks outside your door.


Today, fewer than half of Portlanders live in complete neighborhoods. By 2035, the City aims for 80 percent of Portlanders to be living in complete neighborhoods. The “heat map” below shows Portland’s neighborhoods in varying stages of “completeness”; the cooler colors in purple and blue (note outer East Portland, Southwest and the West Hills) have fewer amenities and safe streets, whereas the inner eastside neighborhoods in warm reds, oranges and yellows offer greater access to both. 

"Heat" map of Portland's 20-min neighborhoods

The “20-minute neighborhood” index measures access to everyday goods, services and amenities. The “heat map” shows the range of accessibility. 

February 26, 2013

My Portland Plan: How Baby-Boomers and Millennials Might Be Tipping the Scale Toward Even More Active Transportation Use
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In a previous post, we discussed how Portlanders in the past few decades have steadily shifted their preferred way of commuting to work away from driving alone to more active transportation options. Recall in 1990, 68 percent of commuters drove alone to work. By 2000, that number was down to 64 percent. In 2011, less than 60 percent of Portland workers were driving alone to work.


Commuters on Hawthorne BridgeIn this follow-up post, we’ll discuss how that trend will most likely continue over the next few decades, given demographic trends. And keep Portland on track towards its goal: by 2035, 70 percent of commuters will either take transit, bike, walk, telecommute or carpool.


Portland is on the path towards that future, but much work still must be done. The good news is, we have demographics on our side. Over the next few decades, the scales may tip with the preferences of the baby boomers and their children — the Millennials — of the later 1970s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s.


Combined, they are the largest population group. And their preferences will shape the mobility landscape in the years to come.


Just as boomers’ preference for driving shaped the development of the country over the last forty to fifty years, so too, as they age, will their increasing preference to take transit shape how the urban landscape evolves. Their children, who make up an even larger group than the boomers, will have a similar impact, if not more.


How these demographic groups choose to live and get around will have an impact on all Portlanders.


The American Assocation of Retired Persons recently reported that as baby boomers move into retirement age and older, driving will continue to steadily decline as an option for getting around. And more and more seniors will increasingly depend on a variety of public transportation options.


On the other end of the age spectrum, fewer teens, 20-somethings and early 30-somethigs are falling in love with the car culture. Fewer young people are getting their driver’s license. Researchers and various media report that between half and two-thirds of 18-year olds had their driving licenses in 2008; in 1983, more than 80 percent had their licenses. And they’re buying fewer cars.


Millenials also don’t mind getting around by transit, walking or biking. Carpooling and even car-sharing is an acceptable alternative. Owning a car is not out of the question, so long as they do not have to spend so much of their income on a monthly payment.


Millenials also prefer — even demand — a more urban lifestyle. They tend to want something different from the suburban way of life of their parents’ generation. Most young workers today want to live in a more urban setting.


And more and more, too, Millenials are choosing to live alone (or with a dog). Thus, the trend is towards smaller and smaller households that demand less space.


Given these demographic trends, a variety of policies will need to be put in place to address mobility and access services and the complementary land use activities that reinforce such services. To be sure, over the long run, investment in public transportation to make it more accessible to seniors will also benefit young working adults. And building communities that invite more transit use, walking and bicycling, while also supporting affordable and inclusive housing options, will help spread the benefits of good living to all Portlanders.


Given these preferences of the two largest population cohorts, it should be no surprise, then, that a high probability of better quality urbanism is in all of our futures. 

January 8, 2013

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Recent Updates
Comprehensive Plan Update E-news, February 2014 - Outreach and process updates | six new CIC members confirmed and sworn in | presenting the Green Loop | Mixed Use Zones Project and Institutional Zoning Project launch Early Implementation phase
Comprehensive Plan Update E-news, January 2014 - Processing Portlanders’ comments and feedback on the Comprehensive Plan Update | Community Involvement Committee welcomes six new members | New advisory committees forming to guide early implementation projects
October issue of the Comprehensive Plan Update E-news