Portlands Downtown Plan 30K New Jobs 20K Housing Units And Possibly 1 Capped Freeway

Dated: 01/02/2015

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The latest Portland quadrant plan — those are the design ideas that, in many ways, shape economic development and housing within Portland's five geographical areas — takes a shot at redefining the way parts of downtown will look 20 years from now.

The West Quadrant Plan is set to go to Portland's City Council for approval as a "non-binding resolution." A public hearing on the plan takes place Feb. 4.

The plan is 238 pages and, for anyone remotely interested in planning and commercial real estate, a must read. It contains ideas, some of which may come to fruition (many don't), that effect an array of businesses.

For instance:

  • One idea is to spur "a true 21st Century urban riverfront, with additional development along an enhanced Naito Parkway and a rejuvenated Waterfront Park with improved trail facilities." The long-held call for a healthier and vibrant river is also back in play."

  • The city could seek more zoning tools that increase flexibility when possible. That would mean "more mixing of office, retail and residential within buildings and specific districts than previously possible." The strategy could, in particular, boost activity — "increased investment and vibrancy" — in Goose Hollow and the West End.

  • Streets and rights-of-way comprise 40 percent of the Central City's land area. Portland officials could seek more opportunities to create "quieter and greener" shopping streets that encourage traffic from pedestrians, bicyclists and transit vehicles.

  • A "Green Loop" was presented as one of the Plan's "big ideas." The loop would "safely and conveniently connect parks, attractions, civic institutions and employment centers throughout the Central City. "

All told, the plan looks to generate 20,000 new households and 30,000 new jobs in the quadrant's area. The neighborhoods include, downtown, West End, Goose Hollow, the Pearl District, Old Town/Chinatown, South Waterfront and South Downtown/University.

The plan is part of the Central City 2035 project, which updates the 1988 Central City Plan.

Along with the "Green Loop," the current ideas include adding a "Times Square" for Portland at the intersection of West Burnside Street and Broadway.

"Many cities have a signature civic space at "Main and Main," the intersection at which the major east-west and north-south thoroughfares intersect. In Portland, this key intersection would be Broadway and West Burnside," planners wrote.

"The Central City's uniquely aligned grids meet at West Burnside, creating a dynamic area with different street configurations, irregular lots and a unique feel. In the heart of downtown's core, the area could additionally connect to activity in Waterfront Park and Saturday Market along a unique, pedestrian-oriented Southwest Ankeny."


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Mark Ross

For Mark Ross, founder of Ross NW Real Estate and professional real estate broker, real estate has always been the career of choice. During his 25+ years in the industry, Mark has gained experience in....

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