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PDX Airport Futures was a collaborative effort between the City of Portland, Port of Portland, and the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan community to create an integrated, long-range development plan for Portland International Airport (PDX). To support the integrated planning process, the City and Port convened a 30-member Planning Advisory Group (PAG) to serve as an advisory body. The PAG - comprised of community, government, and business interests – met 24 times and held 63 subcommittee meetings over a three-year period. At key milestones, the City of Portland and Port project staff participated in 131 stakeholder meetings and hosted 13 public meetings to invite input on work products and inform decision-making. An additional eight stakeholder meetings were held during Planning Commission deliberations over the summer of 2010.

Sustainability was an overarching goal and integral part of Airport Futures. Sustainability for this process was defined as "meeting the region's air transportation needs without compromising the livability and quality of life of future generations." This focus required a balancing of economic, environmental, and social values (the "Triple Bottom Line") and is reflected in the overall package adopted by the Portland Planning Commission, Portland City Council, Vancouver City Council and Port of Portland Commission. This package includes: a PDX Master Plan; a City Land Use Plan for PDX; three intergovernmental agreements formalizing Airport Futures commitments, and the PAG Final Report.

PDX Master Plan

The PDX Master Plan is the Port's long-range development plan for PDX through 2035. Updated aviation forecasts estimate passenger volumes may increase from today's 13 million annual passengers to just under 27 million in 2035, a significantly slower rate of growth than the 2000 Master Plan projected. Two significant findings reported in the facility requirements analysis are that (1) a third parallel runway will not be required during the planning period, and (2) the existing airport terminal and roads can meet the demand forecasted in the next 25 years with modest improvements.

The Master Plan identifies the locations of facilities (e.g., airfield, passenger terminal, ground transportation, parking, cargo, and general aviation) that are consistent with the forecast and long-range development plan. Project implementation is phased based on levels of activity. To accommodate airport growth up to 18 million annual passengers, the plan proposes additional parking and an interchange at 82nd and Airport Way as the primary facility improvements. To accommodate 27 million passengers in the most sustainable way, the plan proposes that the existing terminal area be maximized through operational efficiencies (e.g., shared use of gates and ticket counters). Limited expansion of the terminal, roadway, parking and airfield is envisioned. Consistent with the focus on maximizing the existing terminal development area, general aviation facilities for private planes (business aviation) may be expanded or relocated based on demand at locations on the north side of Airport Way or at a new site off Marine Drive east of 33rd Avenue.

City of Portland Land Use Plan for PDX

The City's Land Use Plan recognizes that the Airport is a unique land use within the City and addresses airport development in a broader context, eliminates the need for the Port to periodically reapply to the City for a conditional use review and approval to continue operating the Airport. The Land Use Plan provides the Port with the flexibility to respond to changing circumstances while allowing the City to examine complex issues related to the Airport and gives the community a greater opportunity to influence decisions related to Airport development.

The Airport Futures Land Use Plan consists of three major components:

  • Amendments to the City's Comprehensive Plan goals to acknowledge sustainability goals and PDX's economic value to the region, the importance of partnerships with the City and an ongoing PDX community advisory committee, airport investments and environmental, height and noise regulations to achieve City goals and objectives;
  • Establishes an Airport Plan District, which allows customary airport uses by right and makes other amendments to the City's Zoning Code to address the unique circumstances of the airport and surrounding properties. This includes amendments to the height and noise overlay zones, and updates to the City's environmental program to comply with Federal and State mandates, including Metro's Title 3 and Title 13; and
  • Creates three intergovernmental agreements, which bridge the PDX Master Plan and the City Land Use Plan. These agreements memorialize the City-Port partnership and commitments from the Airport Futures planning process (described below).

A key feature of the City Land Use Plan zoning code is a prohibition of a third parallel runway and a new decentralized passenger terminal. Prior to developing either, a legislative process would be required, including hearings at Portland Planning Commission and Portland City Council. A second key feature is the creation of an ongoing PDX Community Advisory Committee to provide the broader community an opportunity to inform airport planning and development decisions (described below).

Background reports on natural resources, transportation and economic development supporting the above are included in the City Land Use Plan appendices.

Intergovernmental Agreements

  • Ongoing PDX Community Advisory Committee – The first Agreement proposes the creation of an ongoing PDX Community Advisory Committee (PDX CAC) to be convened at the conclusion of Airport Futures (approximately fall 2011). The mission of the committee will be to support meaningful public engagement, encourage the community to inform airport decision-making, and raise public awareness about PDX and impacted neighborhoods. The PDX CAC will be comprised of 20 voting members and 10 ex officio members representing diverse, bi-state, regional interests. In recognition of the long-term, critical interconnection between economic development, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility, a key focus of the committee will be to work toward assuring PDX becomes the most sustainable airport in the world. The committee will be sponsored by the Port, City of Portland and City of Vancouver.
  • Natural Resources – The second Agreement outlines the Port's mitigation and enhancement commitments related to the City's update of its environmental program for the area. The City and Port agree that in lieu of the City applying overlay zoning to 268 acres of upland grassland, the Port agrees to mitigate for 300 acres on Government Island. This approach gives the Port additional flexibility and certainty for future development and it gives the City a more programmatic approach to restoration of upland grassland by requiring advance mitigation. In recognition of other habitat impacts associated with airport development, the Port also commits to provide $30,000 a year for a 25-year period for enhancements to the Columbia Slough watershed, and $20,000 a year for a 25-year period for enhancements to the urban tree canopy within the Columbia Slough watershed. Indexed for inflation, the total value over the next 25 of those two watershed improvement commitments is $1,823,000.
  • Other Commitments – The final Agreement defines Port transportation mitigation requirements and the process for future transportation impact analyses; affirms commitment to sustainability guiding principles and goals to inform future development and operations; identifies recommendations from a noise work group which explored creative solutions to noise in the neighborhoods; and establishes a process for updating and reporting on noise contour changes.

PAG Final Report

The PAG Final Report summarizes the recommendations and work of the PAG over the three-year planning process. The products referenced above were informed by the PAG and extensive stakeholder outreach, which was a cornerstone of Airport Futures. In addition to recommending approval of the work products described above, the PAG offered 14 additional recommendations to the City of Portland and Port of Portland Commission.

Final Products are available on the project website Document Library.