Over the last few editions, the Mid-county Memo has included articles about Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) and what happens when zoning is ignored (“2035 Comprehensive Plan is Portland’s future” MCM November 2015). In its final phase before adoption by council, the Comp Plan serves as the basis for the city’s decisions on zoning and planning throughout Portland neighborhoods for the next twenty years. Zoning decisions come from the Comp Plan, and this is citizens’ last chance to weigh in before the Comp Plan is finalized.
It’s a wee technical, but what your neighborhood becomes, what changes take place and even how you live in your neighborhood in the future depends upon your neighborhood’s zoning.
We’ve used circumstances in east Portland’s Argay Terrace neighborhood as an example of what happens when no attention is paid to neighborhood zoning. Suddenly, a new apartment complex is being built over your back fence on land you thought would always be a farm, or, new homes like yours and those of your neighbors might be built (“Argay Angry over farmland’s development MCM January 2014). However, that land is neither zoned for homes nor farming, it’s zoned for apartments. If the house down the street on that large lot is zoned for apartments, it might become a three-story apartment building, even if your neighborhood is fully developed. That little house on the corner might be sitting on property zoned for commercial that someday becomes an all-night convenience store, or worse. We have a couple of suggestions to make sure that does not happen in your neighborhood
To see how your neighborhood is zoned, visit portlandmaps.com. Portlandmaps.com has a wealth of information about more than just zoning. Type in your address and click “Search.” When the screen showing a map with the outline of your home comes up, go to the menu bar at the top of the page where the word “Explorer” is in bold type, move the cursor to the word “Maps” and a line of options will appear. Click on the word “Zoning” and a zoning map and key will appear showing the zoning for your property and your overall neighborhood. If everything looks fine, that means everything is fine—for now. But what will the future bring?
If you’re without computer or internet access, call the city’s Planning and Sustainability Bureau at 503-823-7526 and ask them to check your zoning.
In addition, to see what’s in store for your neighborhood’s future, visit portlandoregon.gov/bps/mapapp. Since bureaucrats regularly tout its user-friendly ease, the map apps should be accessible and usable by the average citizen.
There are several map choices on the opening page. Click on the “View Map” button for the first map listed “Land Uses” and the map showing the 2035 Comprehensive Plan proposed changes will appear. You can scroll over the map with your mouse to your exact location or type in a specific address in the box provided. A note referring to that specific address will appear. The three buttons in the upper left corner of your screen will enlarge (+), reduce (-), or show the map legend color code corresponding to the colors on the map which show the proposed future uses. There is also an option to see the area as an aerial photograph. By searching the site, you can find further explanations and more details.
If you don’t like what you see, contact your neighborhood association and see what, if anything, they’re doing about it. There are several ways to make your voice heard: Follow instructions and comment directly on the Comp Plan map. Send in your comments by email or regular mail. Testify at a hearing in your area; city planning staff reviews every comment. Their bosses meet council members regularly in work sessions to adjust the plan in light of input received. The city plans to close the comment period for all forms of testimony at midnight on Jan. 7, 2016.
How to Submit Comments:
Interactive Map App: www.portlandmaps.com/bps/mapapp/
U.S. Mail: Comprehensive Plan Testimony c/o Council Clerk 1221 S.W. 4th Avenue, Room 130 Port., OR 97201
In person, at a hearing:
Thursday, Dec 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 S.W. Capitol Hwy.
Thursday, Dec.10, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Parkrose High School Community Center, 12003 N.E. Shaver St.
Thursday, Jan. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Self Enhancement, Inc., 3920 N. Kirby Ave.
Sign up prior to the hearing to testify. Sign-up sheets are available one hour before the start of each hearing. Testimony is limited to two minutes per person. Rehearse your comments ahead of time; two minutes go by very quickly. You’ll lose your opportunity to testify if you are not present when your name is called from the list.