New West Portland Center Considered By City Council

Photo: Brad Newgard

The far southwest part of Portland is the focus of a new land use and equitable development plan that is headed to City Council tomorrow, Oct. 12, for a public hearing. The Plan creates a framework for population and job growth in and around the West Portland Town Center. 

The West Portland Town Center Plan is particularly relevant because – eventually – a new light rail line will likely run through this part of the city, making it a hub for housing and businesses around the Barbur Transit Center and connecting Portland with neighboring Tigard.

Notably, the area south of the Crossroads (the intersection of Barbur, I-5 and Capitol Highway), known as West Portland Park, is the most racially diverse area of SW Portland, with BIPOC Portlanders making up 28% of the population. Roughly, 17% of residents are foreign born, and 9% are from Africa. But adjacent areas are much less diverse, have higher incomes and a history of exclusive land use and housing access practices.

The Plan prioritizes and addresses the needs of these diverse and vulnerable populations, particularly the thriving East African and Arab Muslim communities, which are anchored by two mosques in the area. The plan also aims to expand housing options in this area, which has lower housing and employment capacity than other town centers around the city (e.g., St Johns, Hollywood and Lents).

What’s in the Plan?

Community priorities are reflected in the main components of the WPTC plan, including:

  • More areas for shops and homes.
  • Employment focus areas to support jobs.
  • Tools to help preserve existing low-cost housing.
  • A multicultural hub to bring together and support community through gathering spaces, cultural shops, restaurants, social services and housing.
  • A “Green Ring” circulation and recreation network for walkers and rollers to provide safe and low-stress access in and around the center and to shops, schools, and parks.

The Plan prioritizes housing stability and long-term affordability through the zoning code, with phased zoning coordinated with infrastructure needs and plans. It also ties some increases in development capacity to public benefits. Along with Zoning and Comprehensive Plan map changes, the plan includes:

  • A coordinated growth strategy with recommended transportation and stormwater improvements.
  • A new West Portland Multicultural plan district in the zoning code.
  • Actions and roles for public and nonprofit sectors.
  • A West Portland Town Center Character Statement for the ‘d’ overlay areas.

City Council to hear public testimony

Portlanders are invited to share their feedback on the WPTC Plan Recommended Draft with City Council in writing via the Map App or in person/virtually at the public hearing tomorrow, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. Written testimony on proposal will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14. 

Source: Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

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