‘South Portland,’ Central City 2035 plan OK’d

RiverPlace high rise

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Now that the city has a South Portland designation, will tall buildings sprout in that zone?


The Portland City Council made 2 consequential votes on Wednesday. They voted to add a 6th region of the city — South Portland — and they passed the Central City 2035 plan, which is the blueprint for the city’s development over the next 15 years.

Commissioners Nick Fish, Chloe Eudaly and Mayor Ted Wheeler voted in favor of the Central City 2035 plan. Commissioner Amanda Fritz voted no and Dan Saltzman, who is retiring, was not there.

“We are defining the future for the next 20 years,” Wheeler said. “Every part of this decision is controversial.”

Under the plan some buildings may reach more than 400 feet. In some areas there will be taller buildings but the preservation of some of the city’s sight lines remains in play.

Other elements of the 2035 plan include the Broadway Corridor, the area around the old Post Office, where higher rise buildings may go. Taller building heights may also go in an area known as Block 33 by the City of Portland, which is the area in Northwest Portland between 4th and 5th and Couch and Davis.

Developers in that area could possibly go higher with their buildings if they include some affordable housing in some of their developments.

The plan will increase housing by 2000 units and allow buildings up to 325 feet tall by Riverplace along the South Waterfront for thousands of apartments. Part of the plan includes affordable housing units.

But where to allow that height in return for more housing has divided the City Council. Some are still upset over the approval of taller buildings in Chinatown that could block the light from the Chinese Garden.

Wheeler feels the heat specifically on that one. He said he was sad over something his wife said.

“She said, ‘We’re probably not welcome there anymore,” Wheeler recounted at the council meeting. “That makes me sad because of all the places in the city, that’s where I asked her to marry me.”

In the end, the council voted for more housing to meet the need as more people move to the city of Portland.

South Portland

South Portland will carve out a slice of the area mostly along the South Waterfront, joining North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest Portland. The 6 regions are collectively known as the city’s sextant.

About 8% of Southwest Portland addresses are in the area which includes a zero as the lead number in their mailing address. The leading zero causes confusion with 911 dispatchers, emergency responders, package delivery and mail.

It will take about 5 years to implement beginning in 2020 and would change about 5,000 Southwest Portland addresses to, simply, South Portland.

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