Planning and Sustainability Commission to consider new proposal by Mayor Sam Adams on Tuesday

Mayor Sam Adam’s proposal to allow the Port of Portland to develop part of West Hayden Island heads to an uncertain fate before the Planning and Sustainability Commission on Tuesday evening.

Adams is proposing that the city annex 800 acres of the island owned by the Port. Three-hundred acres would be developed as marine terminals and 500 acres would be preserved. Under the proposal, the Port would pay over $30 million to protect island residents against the development impact and mitigate the environmental damage.

Although the Port is open to the proposal, many island residents and environmentalists oppose it, in part because it was proposed at the last minute. Adams wants the City Council to approve the proposal before he leaves office at the end of the year. The proposal was rejected by an advisory committee appointed by Adams last week, however, with several members complaining they did not have enough time to study it.

The Planning and Sustainability Commission must review and vote on the plan before it can be considered by the council. Tuesday’s hearing is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in Room 2500A of the 1900 Building, 1900 S.W. 4th Ave. Public testimony will be accepted.

The Port bought the 800 acres years ago for future development. Port officials argue new marine terminals will eventually be needed and create hundreds of good-paying jobs. Opponents argue the existing natural land is unique wildlife habitat that should be maintained and enhanced.

The city is under pressure to identify more land for industrial development. It is currently undated its Comprehensive land Use Plan, as required by state law. An analysis prepared as part of the update identified a short of 635 acres of industrial land for future use, with 356 of those acres being in the Portland Harbor where West Hayden Island is located.

This is the first time the city has been required to present the state with a Comp Plan update that eliminates the gap in industrial lands. Until recently, the Department of Land Conservation and Development required all cities to only comply with the state’s environmental protection goals in the Comp Plan. New DLCD rules now require that state land use employment goals also be met.

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