Whew! It is over…the Central City Plan was adopted in early June by the Portland City Council. The Central City 2035 Plan replaces the 1988 Central City Plan as the primary guiding policy document for the Central City with goals, policies and tools designed to make the Portland’s core more vibrant, innovative, sustainable and resilient. If the process to get to this point were a race it definitely would not be a 10k or even a 26 mile long marathon but closer to an Iron Man! The Central City Plan is the culmination of over eight years of planning and public involvement that began in 2010 with the identification of issues and goals and the development of the Central City Concept Plan (2012). Three detailed planning projects followed each with their own community engagement processes that included stakeholder advisory committees, open houses and other public outreach efforts, but more importantly it was geographically segregated to address the very unique and diverse character, challenges and future of three distinct parts of Portland’s central core area. These individual plans were the Northeast Quadrant Plan; West Quadrant Plan (downtown/NW) and the Southeast Quadrant Plan which aligned with the boundaries of the Central Eastside. Another two years of public hearings, work sessions and a lengthy amendment process finally resulted in the City Council adopted the 2035 Plan in early June. The effective date for these changes was July 9th.
The hard work was really accomplished with the creation of the Southeast Quadrant which started in 2012 and was completed in 2015 where the draft plan was adopted by the City Council. In between there was close to a hundred meetings involving city work sessions, open houses, stakeholder meetings, community outreach events and more. The nexus of the effort was the Stakeholder Advisory Group which represented over 25 property and business owners and neighborhood leaders who met monthly over a 2 year period to really dig into the details, debate the issues and changes and craft the tools and updates, they saw as instrumental to keeping the Central Eastside economically healthy, livable and more importantly evolving from its older industrial past to a more flexible, dense and creative future. “The Stakeholders in the Central Eastside really were engaged and thoughtful about the changes they wanted to see and issues they knew had to be addressed. This was evidenced by the fact that there were very few changes from the plan they approved in 2015 and what the City Council adopted here in June of 2018” says the senior planner who led the Southeast Quadrant process
with the City; Troy Doss.