Metro 2040 Growth Concept
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DRAFT2. Metro 2040 Growth Concept

Metro 2040 Growth Concept Map
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The Metro 2040 Growth Concept sets a regional framework for how growth will be concentrated, based on goals for making efficient use of land, protecting natural areas and farm land, and promoting a multi-modal transportation system.

In Portland, the 2040 Growth Concept calls for concentrating residential and commercial development in and around mixed-use areas that include the Central City, the Gateway Regional Center, six town centers (Hollywood, St. Johns, Lents, Hillsdale, West Portland and Raleigh Hills), main streets, corridors and in light rail station communities.


Metro’s 2040 Growth Concept, approved in 1995, sets a framework for the region’s development pattern. It provides guidance that includes an emphasis on identifying where growth should be concentrated, based on goals for making efficient use of land, protecting natural areas and farm land, and promoting a multi-modal transportation system.  The Growth Concept is complimentary to and reflects the land use designations adopted in the city’s 1980 Comprehensive Plan.  It designates the best places for more intense concentrations of housing and businesses and where to protect industrial and employment lands that are the backbone of the regional economy and provide high paying jobs.  The Region 2040 Plan anticipates that focusing development in key design type areas will be complimented with services and excellent transportation linkages.  At the same time, this concentration of development allows major change to be directed away from traditional single family neighborhoods.  

The Metro 2040 Growth Concept assumed that some expansions of the urban growth boundary would be needed to accommodate new growth. But rather than growing out, the plan gave new emphasis to "growing up," that is, focusing growth in the central city (downtown Portland, Lloyd District, South Waterfront, the Pearl and other nearby areas), in seven designated regional centers, in 27 identified "town centers," in scores of light rail station communities and along the roads and arterials ("main streets" and "corridors") served by frequent bus service.

These urban design types are the "building blocks" of the regional strategy for managing growth.  This hierarchy of places allows us to focus public investments, create livable places, protect existing neighborhoods and contributes to the region’s compact urban form. Capacity for additional housing and jobs is evident in many of these designated areas. 

Note that Portland has:
  • The only Central City designation – downtown Portland is the hub of business and cultural activity in the region
  • 1 of the 8 Regional Town Centers – Gateway is the focus of transit and highway improvements and serves a large market area
  • 5 town centers (Hollywood, St. Johns, Lents, West Portland and Hillsdale – also a portion of  the Raleigh Hills town center) that provide localized services to a 2-3 mile radius; have a strong sense of community identity and are well-served by transit
  • 57 miles of Main Streets (ex. Sandy Blvd., NE 82nd Avenue, Cully Blvd., MLK Blvd.) that have a traditional commercial identity and feature good access to transit
  • 100 miles of Corridors (ex. Interstate Avenue, SE Powell Blvd.) that are key transportation routes for goods and people
  • Over 75% of the Regionally Significant Industrial Land Areas and more than 50% of the region’s Employment Land supply
Progress on the 2040 Growth Concept:
  • Portland has captured more than a third of the region’s new housing starts, averaging 36% of the new residential growth.
  • Nearly 100 mixed use, transit oriented developments have been built over the last 10 years.
  • New housing developments in the Pearl and River Districts and South Waterfront are providing more housing than expected while using less land.
  • “Main Streets” like Belmont and Hawthorne have seen new mixed use developments with ground floor retail with 2-3 stories of residential above.
Challenges to realizing the 2040 Growth Concept:
  • Lack of funding to address incomplete or missing pedestrian infrastructure limits pedestrian access to and through some centers, such as Gateway, Hillsdale and West Portland Park
  • Lack of civic amenities, such as public gathering places, parks and community centers
  • Not all centers and main streets have experienced much development

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Metro 2040 Growth Concept
Metro 2040 Growth Concept