By Don MacGillivray


For those interested in the planning of Portland, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has outdone themselves. The new Draft Comprehensive Plan (Part 2 was released in early October for public review) is unique and somewhat complicated so it is accompanied by a Companion Guide that will explain how the general public can use it.

The “Map App” (short for application) is the primary document containing the proposed changes and characteristics of the entire city and the ability to drill down to just the area one is interested in studying.

It is a website composed of many layers of maps that include background information using each map layer to propose changes in a different areas of the City. The information in the Map App is based on the policies and goals in Part I of the draft Comprehensive Plan. It is also consistent with The Portland Plan, Vision PDX, and the Coalition for a Livable Future’s Equity Atlas among many other completed plans and recently released documents.

The intention is to keep most of the City as it is except where change is needed or desired to make Portland a more livable and successful city. The Map App is also the primary way for the public to comment and make suggestions about the information and changes in the inner southeast district.

Each map references one subject such as: centers, corridors, bicycles, industrial development, open space, etc. By clicking the on/off option turn on (or off) each map layer. Several layers can be merged together to make a composite map. By clicking the various titles and features of each map, informational text appears explaining  each item. The text can be made to appear in any of eighty different languages.

When turning on each map layer, you’ll be able to draw, comment, and add new ideas about any feature of the map. These will then be saved by the program to a file that the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will use to make changes to the plan. The personalized maps can be emailed to staff, friends, or saved for future reference. The options are endless.

Everything is explained well in the supplemental planning documents and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff are willing to answer questions. The “Map App” is designed and intended for desktop computers, but it is equally compatible with I-Pad or smart phone technology.

Various map layers indicate a number of changes that are suggestions for inner southeast Portland over the next twenty years.

• The area from Belmont to Division, 30th to 50th   Avenues as a Town Center is composed of the three commercial corridors of SE Belmont, Hawthorne, and Division (layers: Centers & Corridors).

• Generally, inner southeast is not expected to grow beyond average expectations and it does not have an excessive concentration of vulnerable residents (layers: Population related)

• Belmont is a proposed streetcar corridor. (layer: Public Transit)

• There will be a city greenway north to south between 7th and 11th Avenues and east to west between SE Stephens and SE Grant. (layer: City Greenways)

• A potential natural habitat corridor extends through Ladd’s Addition, into Lone Fir Cemetery in Buckman, and on through Sunnyside and into Laurelhurst. (layer: Urban Habitat)

• The Washington-Monroe Community Center continues to be a potential major park improvement. (layer: Parks)

The Citywide Systems Plan is the other major document in Part 2 of the draft Comprehensive Plan. It deals with infrastructure and capital improvements that are likely or needed over the next twenty years. The State of Oregon requires each local government to develop and implement a public facilities plan describing transportation, water, sewer, parks, civic facilities and other necessary infrastructure.

The current draft of the plan is over 300 pages in length and contains chapters about the major responsibilities of city regarding the various types of infrastructure. It includes a great deal of information about resources we have and what is needed in the future.  The plan is considered 60% complete and is also open for comments and suggestions from the public.

For those unfamiliar with the Comprehensive Plan it is a long-range plan for the growth and development of the City of Portland through 2035. It is used to manage the future locations of population and job growth, land development, and public investments in streets, sidewalks, parks and storm-water systems. It sets guidelines for community involvement in future plans and decisions and establishes a shared plan that will be used to coordinate policies and actions across City bureaus, regional and state agencies, and to influence private sector investments.

In addition, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability hosts a series of Comprehensive Plan conversations and open-house style events to focus on area-specific questions. Staff are available for neighborhood, community or interest group meetings. To schedule a meeting, contact Marty Stockton at 503.823.2041. The online link to the Comprehensive Plan is .


Comment period closes December 31, 2013. The 90% draft plan is scheduled to be released to the public in the spring of 2014 for comment. The final draft of the Comprehensive Plan is expected to be adopted by City Council before the end of 2014.