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Willamette Industrial URA: Overview

The impetus for formation of the Willamette Industrial Urban Renewal Area began in 2003 and the district was adopted by the Portland City Council on November 24, 2004. At 755.5 acres, the Willamette Industrial URA became the fourth largest URA among the city’s eleven districts created since 1974. The Willamette Industrial Urban Renewal Plan represented a major step to address the critical challenge of attracting new industrial investment in the heart of Portland’s industrial waterfront, which continues to be hampered by an under-use of development sites partly the result of environmental contamination.

The URA is located on the east side of the Willamette River at Mock's Bottom and Swan Island, as well as in two areas in NW Portland. All of the areas in the URA are currently zoned for industrial uses.

View a map showing the boundaries of the Industrial URA detailing the four areas.

Portland currently has few sites attractive for new industrial, high-tech, manufacturing and distribution businesses. By improving the area and making financial assistance available to businesses, PDC and the City hope to encourage existing businesses to stay and expand, and to attract new employers to the area. Yet much of the land within this URA is currently vacant or underused and suffers from contaminated soils and water. The Willamette Industrial URA is intended to help solve these problems.

Objectives

  • To encourage existing business to stay and expand within the URA • To attract new employers and jobs to Portland
  • To expand supply of serviced, developable industrial lands 
  • To enhance employment opportunities for inner city residents who need close access to jobs 
  • To reduce pressures to expand industrial investment to outlying areas
  • To help restore properties that may be contaminated, vacant and/or underused and help bring them back to productive use.

Public benefits

The Willamette Industrial URA was created to help assure the long-term economic viability of one of the city's most critical industrial areas and create a new job growth center within the City of Portland. With public benefit in mind, the URA is expected to:

  • Address Portland’s severe shortage of ready-to-build industrial land. This URA will open up vacant acres for much-needed industrial development, which in turn will create family wage jobs for Portland residents.
  • Provide financial resources to help address environmental cleanup or other challenges. Many of these properties would not be redeveloped without this kind of assistance.
  • Attract new business and employment. One new high-technology plant for this URA could create up to 500 new jobs.
  • Assist existing businesses in the URA. Urban renewal provides a funding source to help these businesses to expand or modernize their operations.