City wide issues

Comp Plan July update

Portland's Comprehensive Plan Update E-News


July 2014


It’s here! The proposed draft of Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan

The wait is over.
The draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan will guide the City as we leverage new investments and growth to ensure that Portland becomes more prosperous, healthy and resilient for everyone. Much more than simply a map or new zoning code, the 2035 Plan provides a framework for the City to create opportunities for more jobs, affordable housing, a low-carbon economy, a clean environment, increased mobility and greater equity among Portlanders.
The draft 2035 Plan carries forward the best of many successful approaches from the 1980 Comprehensive Plan, such as directing growth and development in vibrant centers like St Johns, Multnomah Village and Hollywood and along bustling corridors like Sandy, Powell and Barbur boulevards, to support a connected network of healthier, more complete neighborhoods. 

Draft 2035 Comp Plan released
Interactive Map App allows Portlanders to zoom into their neighborhoods from the comfort or their kitchen or couch
Built entirely in-house by the geographic information system (GIS) team at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the Map App is intended to engage more Portlanders in the planning process. As a tool, it gives people more options to learn about and comment on the Proposed Draft without having to attend a meeting or read long documents.
The new Map App makes it possible to view the draft Comprehensive Plan maps online anytime, anywhere, on your desktop, tablet or smart phone.
The Map App even has a built-in translation function, powered by Google Translate, providing text in many languages. For people who don’t have access to computers (or don’t like to use them), printed copies of the maps are available as pdfs and as large format district-wide maps displayed at Neighborhood Coalition offices.
Reasons for and benefits of the Map App
This isn’t the first Map App the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has created. Version 1 was created for the Comprehensive Plan Working Draft. Showing some 80-plus map layers of background information, it is being updated and will be available to the public as another resource/tool some time in August. 
Some 22,000 people visited the Map App v1, enough to overflow the Moda Center. The new Map App for the Proposed Draft (v2) is an attempt to “grow that table of decision-makers even more,” said BPS Technical Services Manager Kevin Martin.
Martin notes that feedback received on the first Map App indicated that users wanted to learn how these proposed changes would affect them. “They also want good design, more manageable bits of information, and they want to have a conversation — to see what other people are saying about the proposals.” 
In addition to addressing those requests, Martin and others on the Tech Services team wanted to ensure the new Map App was completely mobile-friendly, “so we had to hone our messages way down to fit a very small screen.” 
Online mapping tools like these are “just another tool in the public engagement toolbox,” said Martin. “We learned from the last app that we can reach a lot more people whose attention is being pulled in many different directions.”
Building the Map App took about three months of development time for GIS staff, all while working on several other projects (see story below). And that doesn’t count the data wrangling, mapping and content creation that was also required. “If I had to guess, I’d say it cost roughly $10,000,” Martin speculated. “If we paid a consultant to do the same thing, we’d be looking at $100,000 minimum.”
Response rates
Within the first 12 hours of the Map App Preview release, 628 of 704 subscribers clicked through to the map app.  “That’s pretty excellent,” Martin grinned. 

Proposed Draft Map App
Carmen Piekarski and Derek Miller
Meet the makers of the Map App
The interactive Map App is an essential tool for sharing, learning about and commenting on the proposed Comprehensive Plan maps. Under the leadership of Kevin Martin, BPS Technical Services Manager, Carmen Piekarski and Derek Miller have been working to collect, organize and visualize data, while developing a user-friendly web interface.
Data can be complex and messy, and Carmen says it’s her job to “keep it clean.” Working with geographic databases in Esri ArcGIS and SQL Server software, she coordinates with BPS District Liaisons and staff in other City bureaus to collect, maintain and track changes to the data for the Comprehensive Plan. With this information she creates maps on themes like land use changes, transportation and infrastructure projects, urban design concepts and environmental issues. 
Carmen studied geography at Portland State University, then joined Washington County’s planning department before a career detour working at an Alaskan fishing lodge. Lured back to Portland by an offer at BPS, she has been with the bureau since 1997. She says the work is “always interesting” and enjoys that her job involves finding creative ways to solve problems. Outside the office, she stays busy training Gracie, her 4-year-old thoroughbred horse.
Derek built the front-end user interface of the Map App, which lets users access and display the data and maps. JavaScript code “does the heavy lifting” of making the app run, say Derek. It’s a customized blend of Esri software components combined with JavaScript and HTML/CSS. Together they coordinate the back-end databases with the interface users see on their desktop browser or mobile device. 
Originally from Kentucky, Derek joined BPS after a stint in Nashville with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. He studied cartography and data analysis with University of Oregon’s Infographics Lab while getting his master’s in geography. His hobbies take him outdoors, where he bikes, plays soccer and hikes the Columbia Gorge with his wife.

This video is the first in a series of five about Portland’s growth management strategy and what it will look like in the 21st century.

New video features Portland’s vibrant centers and corridors
Neighborhoods and streets that offer diverse amenities, housing options, commercial services and shopping are a big reason why Portland is a great place to live. You’ll see why when you watch this video about the Centers and Corridors concept — an important part of the Comprehensive Plan’s strategy to help make Portland a more vibrant, healthy and connected city.

Dear Al
Introducing a new monthly feature in the Comprehensive Plan Update E-news! Senior Planner Al Burns has answers to all your questions about the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan and what it means for you, your neighborhood and your city.
Dear Al,
Why should I care what my Comprehensive Plan Map designation is?
Dear Wondering,
Good question! That map is part of the Comprehensive Plan, and quite frankly people have gone for months and years not thinking about the Comprehensive Plan with no harm befalling them whatsoever. While the plan map is binding policy for City decisions, it does not directly affect the day-to-day lives of the good people of Portland.
Why you might want to care is that the plan map determines what kind of zoning you can have, and zoning says what you can and can’t do with your own land. The plan map designations say what uses are allowed on every property in Portland. These allowed uses can be residential, employment, open space, or a mixture of residential and employment uses. The plan map also says how intense the allowed uses can be. For example, the range of allowed residential uses can include houses, duplexes, row houses, apartment buildings or condo towers.
When the City changes the zone map, those zone changes can’t allow different uses or more intense uses than those allowed by the plan map. It can allow fewer uses or less intense uses, but not more.
It is like a leader and a follower. The plan map is the leading map and the zone map is the following map. The zone map can catch up to the plan map, but it can’t go past it.
The plan map is a long-range map saying what will be allowed 20 years from now, while the zone map says what is allowed now. As a practical matter, for most properties in the city, what is allowed now and what will be allowed 20 years from now are essentially the same.
There are, however, places in the city where the plan map designates uses and intensities different from what is allowed by the zoning map now. The differences amount to a call for a change. These changes can be either “up,” “down” or “sideways.” Up is where more uses — or more intense uses will be allowed. Down is where fewer uses or less intense uses will be allowed. Sideways is where a different mix of uses or intensities will be allowed — somewhat different from what’s allowed now, but the changes are not easily categorized as either up or down.
The desirability of these plan changes can be, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. Some people like up, some people like down and some people like staying the same.
Think of the plan map as a big “heads-up.” If you don’t like what’s allowed by the plan map, you’d better weigh in now. Because you won’t be able to fix it later when the city considers zone map changes.
Al works on environmental protection, land use and urban growth management issues. Shoot him a note; he would love to hear from you. Maybe your question will be in his next column. Write him at” data-type=”email” href=”” style=”font-weight:normal;font-weight:normal;color:#464646;text-decoration:underline;font-weight:inherit”>



Campus Institutional Zoning Update Project Advisory Group

August 14, 3–5 p.m
1900 SW 4th Ave, Room 7A

Mixed Use Zones Project Advisory Committe

August 20, 4–6 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500

Planning and Sustainability Commission
Briefings and hearings for the Comprehensive Plan Update

Map Briefing
August 12, 12:30–3:30 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Ave, Room 2500A
Citywide Systems Plan (CSP) and Transportation Systems Plan (TSP) Briefing
September 9, 12:30–3:30 p.m
1900 SW 4th Ave, Room 2500A
Hearing: Focus on Goals and Policies
September 23, 5–9 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Ave, Room 2500A
Hearing: Focus on Maps
October 14, 5–9 p.m.
Location TBD
Hearing: Focus on Maps
October 28, 5–9 p.m.
Location TBD
Hearing: Focus on CSP and TSP
November 4, 4–8 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Ave, Room 2500
Community Involvement Committee and Comprehensive Plan Update Work Session #1
November 18, 6–9 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Ave, Room 2500A

1900 SW 4th Ave, 7th Floor | Portland, OR 97201 US

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s