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North Macadam URA: Overview

Twenty years ago, the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area (URA) was a largely vacant, under-performing industrial part of town hampered by a lack of infrastructure and a need for environmental clean-up. It was physically close to downtown, but disconnected and overlooked. But this began to change in 1999, when City Council established the URA to realize its potential as an employment center, a vibrant neighborhood and an extension of the Central City District.

North Macadam is well positioned to meet the demand for high density, mixed use, environmentally friendly development and urban living here in Portland. Completed projects in the area include new housing, employment, walking paths, parks, trails, streetcar and the aerial tram.

Oregon Health & Science University plays a critical role in the development of the URA, as the city’s largest employer and as a center of research and innovation that will lead to new jobs and economic growth. The completion of OHSU’s Center for Health & Healing and the continued expansion of the OHSU campus to the South Waterfront are important milestones for OHSU’s growth within the Central City.


  • Pursue significant commercial and housing development in a former industrial area by redeveloping the district into a mixed-use Central City neighborhood, with a spectacular greenway and parks system 
  • Improve transportation infrastructure and accessibility 
  • Enhanced public amenities and uses, including greenway, riverfront improvements and access 
  • Economic development, job creation – new Research cluster integrated with OHSU

Project Areas

The urban renewal area has several subareas that focus planning and redevelopment into functional, accessible communities.

  • South Waterfront and the Central District
  • OHSU Schnitzer Campus and the North District
  • RiverPlace 
  • Transportation Strategy
  • Open Spaces/Willamette Greenway 
  • Harbor Naito Study Area
  • North of Kelly District Plan