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The attached Portland Plan “Hazard” map has a “Rapidly Moving Landslide Zone” designation but does not indicate any liquefaction hazards or amplification of peak ground acceleration hazards, which seem just as relevant as the landslide data. Are these hazards documented on a different map?

This type of multidimensional seismic hazard data is available on-line for Seattle, but in Oregon, you have to buy the paper map “Relative Earthquake Hazard Map of the Portland Metro Region, Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties, Oregon” from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

I hope the Portland Plan will take a lead in fully informing people about all these hazards and preparing for them. I think the full information would be useful in the debate about what we should build where and for example, might push Portland more toward a mid-rise approach, rather than point towers.


What is that first city rendering for? Over half of each of those red buildings is almost as tall as the US Bancorp Tower! Does the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability really see over two or three dozen 500+ foot buildings being constructed in the next twenty five years?


The city rendering Brain is showing is the “Likely Capacity” illustration from the February Portland Plan presentation. If you would like to see a scarier image of our future go the presentation link and look for the “Zoned Capacity” illustration (Pg. 24) here:


More evidence that Portland planners are detached from reality. Dozen's of new small footprint towers in downtown? Hundreds of thousands of new jobs in Portland? Huh?

What data are they looking at? Do they have a clue that the past few years of building is absolutly not evidence of what the future holds (just ask any developer)?

This "updated" plan will just gather dust with the rest of them.

I also like the part about how they are going to designate more historic districts on the east side and decide what "we" are going to do with "iconic" buildings, as if we weren't talking about private property.


I agree with tt, why plan for the future when we can just react to changes as they happen. Planning is overrated and will only confuse people with dusty paperwork and renderings.

Also spot on with the abuse of private property that "happens" to be of significant historical value.

You go tt.


I say kudos to the planners. If we get 105,000 to 135,000 new households in Portland (500,000 to 600,000 regionally)or even a portion of this projected growth by 2035 then the downtown needs to take on more housing and jobs.

Otherwise, we can do as many cities have done rely more on new roads, wasted infrastructure and sprawl to accomodate this growth. If that happens it will become an ugly and expensive mess. One and two hour commutes are common in other cities let's not go there. Thank you planners for thinking ahead!


This looks like some good ideas that are coming out of this, and I like the zoning map. Portland's willingness to plan for the future is always such a refreshing thing to see compared to most cities in this country that tends to try and deal with such growths after they happened.


Yea Brad, planners know all and we best just wait for them to lay down the edicts we all are to follow. Its great that Porlanders like you are willing to pay as much as folks do in San Fran for housing and workspace. Thats where we are heading with all those skinny highrises to accomodate all this supposed growth. And its great that you can afford those rents without a decent job. Trustfunds are great for those that have them.

Let's just remember that Portland came to its own over the last decade because it was a relatively affordable place to make a living. That won't be the future with plans like these that are devoid of any connection to costs and reality. But the planners know better, so maybe I shouldn't worry. They have always been right in the past. You go Brad.

Fred Leeson

I wonder if tt would have been upset by the planners in the 1950s who would have ruined the central city with a network of freeways. Land-use planning evolves, as do other professions. I think it's widely accepted that the downtown planning of the early 1970s helped keep (and improve) beneficial aspects of the city we admire today.

Steve L.

I agree that Portland has been a “planning mecca” as Brain says, and so planning documents have had an important role in the development of Portland’s famous neighborhood livability and vibrant downtown.

I hope the efforts to establish 20-minute walkable neighborhoods will reengage the city in its historic role as schools planners. In recent years, the city was disengaged with schools planning and that has led to overcrowded elementary schools as schools facilities were sized to fit a historic low in enrollment and enrollment has risen faster than expected in lower grades. The rising enrollment also necessitated adding many new portable trailer classrooms at the cost of millions of dollars.

Though better than the truly sub-standard older trailers that PPS continues to maintain, the new trailers pose new health issues and are less efficient (green) than our existing shuttered schools.

If the new plan is ignored as the current Comprehensive Plan has been ignored in recent years, then maybe new plan will “gather dust”, but I hope not.


Steve, The current comprehensive plan hasn't been ignored at all ... all development, each park, road, required density, economic development etc. is required by state law to comply with the city's comprehensive plan. By law, the plan's goals and objectives are always addressed in the land use activities. The ordinances are created to reflect those goals and objectives.

tt, you really have to move to a place like Los Angeles and see what years of little planning has done. Do you think that life in Los Angeles is inexpensive? Try commuting an hour or two to your job. Yes, density makes sense. The cost of infrastructure per capita is far less in Portland. Los Angeles is trying to work with the problems that were created over many years ,,, and, their only salvation will be through making plans for the future.

Steve L.

The current Comprehensive Plan's City School Policy (ORD 150580) has been in ignored by the city and PPS is recent years to our detriment.


Lyle, Los Angeles has much higher density than Portland. It also has far fewer freeway miles per capita, a better jobs/housing "balance", and more efficient transit service than Portland. Most planning going on here is more of an attempt to replicate LA than to keep us from becoming like her. Not that that is a bad thing, I'm just saying...


According to the “Portland Planning Commission’s Recommended DRAFT Preliminary Work Program -July 15, 2008” the Portland Plan should:

“e) Identify and map natural hazard areas that have potential to affect land use:”

“• Earthquake hazard areas: fault lines, and areas subject to liquefaction (required under Periodic Review). Use the following state data: Areas with varying degrees of susceptibility to damage from earthquakes (IMS-1, and IMS-16)”

IMS-1 is the map to which I referred earlier. It illustrates the information that should be available on-line, but is not. I do not see any of the liquefaction data reflected in the Hazard map from the February presentation despite it being recommended for inclusion back in 2008. Why?


I stand corrected re: density comment about LA and should have compared Portland to a place like Phoenix. And the point is that density is a good thing when you can reach activity centers by walking, biking, and transit with less dependency on car usage.


Yes Lyle, people in very dense LA have almost no dependence on car usage... People there bike and walk in a pollution & congestion free utopia.

Same goes for other dense western cities like San Diego, Las Vegas and San Jose).

BTW, even Phoenix is more densely populated than Portland.

I like to live in a dense area but also like to be aware of the drawbacks.


Hmmm, good luck with your cynicism. And, who says LA has no dependence on car usage? The problems that you mention have everything to do with sprawl (including bedroom communities and a huge dependency on the automobile). Whether you like it or not density, done right minimizes these problems. Personally, I like having things within walking and biking distance.


Lyle, I do too! I have not driven my car in over a week.

And I think you missed my sarcasm about LA. They and those other cities ARE DENSE and they are not the car-free cities you imagine. You simply cannot legislate or zone or plan people out of their cars. When you try you get lots of negative things but people still drive.


Ed, Sorry I missed your sarcasm but I am sure that most understand that LA has been the one of the worst for car dependency. I would blame that dependency on land use patterns and the type of density that started in the 50's and 60's.

By contrast, density done right minimizes the use of the car. It allows more walkable, bikeable and transit-connected neighborhoods. It gives us more time to live outdoors rather than be stuck in the car. Much of LA would like to use their cars less but the density that they live with (including vast areas of purely residential neighborhoods) requires them for just about everything they do.

Of course, there have been some changes in the more recent years but 'bedroom communities' are still predominant in LA. We are lucky that we a better planning model for much of our city. And, we do not have as much urban sprawl that we need to improve.


I'm still unclear what you are saying Lyle.

LA's population density in 1950 was 10,399 people per square mile. It decreased slightly in the early 60's but has increased steadily until around 1990 then has held pretty steady.

Portland's today is less than half LA in the 50's.


Density doesn't tell the whole story boys. Low-rise pattern of development and our addiction to driving is more a function of cheap gasoline.


I think Portland is doing a great job of PR but not so much on the ground. Between 1990 and 2000 Portland grew by 21% but he suburbs grew much faster (Beaverton & Gresham by 30-40% and Vancouver by over 200%). Salem/Keiser is even becoming a bedroom community of Portland. Rather than preventing sprawl, I contend that to some degree our planning has accelerated it. Instead of leading people to drive less, the plans are forcing people to commute longer distances to find affordable housing.

Despite huge costs, transit usage in Portland has remained between 1.8 and 2.6 percent for 35 years.

Sorry, not trying to hijack the thread or stir up hornets, I just hate perceptions that are so far removed from fact.


Ed, I think you forgot to add that transit use percentage with the percentage of people that bike and walk. Which with that in mind, non car commuting is alittle over 22%. Without the planning we have had in this city, that number would not be that high.

Also the growth in the suburbs were planned, all of that happened within our growth boundaries and a large percentage of people that live in the suburbs also work in the suburbs while most people that live in Portland work in Portland. There is less people doing cross city or city to city commuting in Portland that most other cities.

And final note, last time I checked Portland doesnt have any say on what happens in Vancouver, so technically it could grow by 2000% and that would still be a bridge issue with another state that did not focus on proper planning when they had the chance.


Metro says about 94 percent of all trips in the Portland area are by auto. I commute by walking but I am definitely not the norm.

Los Angeles, the topic we started with has no more than 4% of employment in any one central area. A goal we are aiming for. Unfortunately this results in MORE city-city trips as it is rare to have a household with both people being employed in the same place.

Vancouver's growth is due, at least in part, to people escaping the results of Portland's planning.


Actually we need to clarify something here because I think there is an issue with this debate Ed, you are talking about the metro as a whole, while I am referring just Portland. This article is about the Portland Planning Bureau which has little to no weight when it comes to any other city in the metro. Therefore your numbers are more correct when it comes to the Portland metro, but that is a different issue and I am not sure what you are pointing out is any fault on Portland for its planning movements, without such plans, Portland would probably have a struggling city center and surrounded by bad inner neighborhoods like most cities are.

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