Portland Adopts a Green Roof Requirement in the Central City 2035 Plan

Portland is changing the Nature of its rooftops!

Green roof advocates everywhere are celebrating the recently adopted Portland Central City 2035 Plan, which includes a mandate for vegetated roofing. The Ecoroof Requirement, as it is called, goes into effect starting July 2018 and includes buildings in the Central City over net 20,000 square feet, with rooftop parking exempt. The green roof must cover 100% of the roof (that includes appropriate vegetated free zones), with up to 40% exemptions for rooftop mechanical equipment.   
The success of this landmark mandate is due to a united effort between local nonprofits, community members, and our elected officials. The Green Roof info Think-tank (GRiT) has been supporting the City of Portland with green roof studies, symposia and stakeholder testimony throughout the years leading to the development of the requirement. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Greenroofs.com, the Audubon Society, Portland State University, and various local stakeholders have also had a significant impact on the awareness and research of green roofing in Portland and beyond.

Stewardship for the environment and human health does not get bestowed upon us from the top-down.  For a new paradigm to take root, communities must unite toward a goal, and then stick together throughout all of the challenges and objections that arise. It is our own responsibility to keep our municipal, state, and national leaders on track and informed to protect our resources and enhance our livelihoods.  Portland has spoken, adding our voice to the swelling tidal wave of cities incorporating green roofs into their long-term plans for urban resiliency.

City Council also directed the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to adopt two administrative rules related to standards in the new zoning code:

  • Low-Carbon Building Certification List – New buildings over 50,000 square feet in size need to register with one of the approved Green Building Certification Programs on this Low-Carbon Buildings list.
  • Bird-Safe Windows List – When a building triggers the standard requiring the application of bird-safe glazing on windows, developers must choose from the materials and spacing requirements on this Bird-Safe Windows List.

The Central City 2035 Plan will provide goals, policies and tools designed to make the Central City more vibrant, innovative, sustainable and resilient than it is today. A place that every Portlander can be proud to call their own. The plan replaces the 1988 Central City Plan as the primary guiding policy document for the Central City Plan District. The Central City Plan will be the first amendment to the City’s updated Comprehensive Plan, implementing the Portland Plan as it applies to the Central City.

Watch a recording of the vote

Learn more about these changes

Learn more about Central City 2035