Terminal Master Plan Header


An integral part of the Port of Portland's mission is to enhance the region's economy and quality of life by providing efficient cargo and air passenger access to national and global markets. The maritime industry, which involves the importing and exporting of agricultural, bulk and manufactured goods, generates more than 20,000 jobs in the Portland metropolitan area. To preserve these jobs and meet the future needs of the region's maritime economy, the Port periodically updates its Marine Terminals Master Plan.


To help achieve the Port's mission, the Port Commission has recently adopted a new strategic plan, which identifies key strategic issues, objectives and strategies for the organization. Coordinated with this process, the Marine Department has completed a master plan with staff, tenants and stakeholders.

The Marine Terminals Master Plan 2020 (MTMP 2020) serves as a road map for Port staff when making decisions about repairing and/or developing its marine facilities on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. A comprehensive approach was used to prepare and refine a series of facility alternatives over an 18-month period through an interactive process involving all stakeholders (staff, tenants, neighbors, agencies and labor organizations).

The primary goals of the MTMP 2020 are to:

  • Optimize Port marine facilities through the identification and prioritization of improvements required to maintain, redevelop, and build-out existing marine Terminals 2, 4, 5 and 6;
  • Create a 10-year Capital Improvement Plan using a 20-year planning horizon; and
  • Develop a road map for investment decisions by the Port, its stakeholders and customers.

The MTMP 2020 integrates cargo demand, facility conditions and capacities, stakeholder needs and environmental considerations into a plan for the Port's marine terminals. The MTMP 2020 is a flexible plan with sustainable balance for the Port.

Facility and capital improvement plans can accommodate a doubling of cargo capacities in the Port's marine business lines over the next 10 years. The MTMP 2020 identifies the near-term projects and transportation improvements that will occur in the next 10 years and the long-term development approach to maximize the use of the Port's existing marine facilities.

This executive summary provides an overview of the findings and analysis of the MTMP 2020, which is contained in four volumes including facility conditions, environmental considerations, planning input and facility alternatives. These plans represent the Port's vision, and new facility development is dependent upon market-driven conditions.


Portland is a major West Coast seaport and Oregon's primary distribution hub. The harbor is home to a mix of public and private docks and terminals that handle international, coast-wide and Columbia/Snake River system cargo. Roughly one third of the cargo facilities in the Portland Harbor are owned or operated by the Port of Portland, and a bit more than two-thirds of the international cargo moving through the harbor moves across Port docks. The mix of cargo at the Port of Portland's marine facilities has continued to evolve over the last 100 years, and currently consists of a mix of terminals that handle bulk exports such as grain and minerals, automobile imports and exports, breakbulk steel and forest products, and containerized cargo. The mix will continue to change as our regional economy evolves.

The Port of Portland actively works with other public ports, in a region stretching from Idaho to the Oregon coast, to assure the continued competitiveness of the Columbia/Snake River system for maritime commerce, and to meet the changing shipping needs of the communities served.

mtmpportlandThe MTMP 2020 was coordinated with the I-5 Transportation and Trade Partnership, the Port of Vancouver USA, the City of Portland's River Renaissance Project, and other state and local agencies, to address the goals and objectives of other significant regional planning efforts affecting transportation and maritime commerce, the health of the river and the resilience of the regional economy.

Because of our location at the intersection of two interstate highways, two mainline railroads, and the Columbia/Snake/Willamette River system, the Port is well positioned for access to Pacific Rim markets. Portland enjoys an efficient road/rail/barge/ship transportation system, which has a history of steady growth. Port of Portland waterborne trade has tripled since 1970 and has grown from seven million tons in 1980 to 11.8 million tons in 2000.

Cargo Forecast
Facility Volumes, 10-Year Capital Plan, 20-Year Forecast
2000 Actual Volumes 2010 Capital Plan 2020 High Forecast
Containers (TEUs) 290,000 Allows for Flexible Growth 677,000
Breakbulk (MT) 585,000 Existing Capacity Allows for Growth 880,000
Automobiles (Units) 385,000 Accommodates One New Customer 503,000
Bulk Grains (MT) 2,919,000 Meets Growth Potential 10,000,000
Bulk Minerals (MT) 3,827,000 Facility Modernization and Storage Capacity Upgrades 5,720,000

Columbia River Waterborne Trade Forecast
A Commodity Flow Forecast Update and Lower Columbia River Cargo Forecast was developed in cooperation with the Regional Transportation Council, the Port of Vancouver USA, Metro and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The MTMP 2020 used this regional cargo forecast to predict the low and high cargo forecasts for the container, breakbulk, grain, mineral bulk and auto cargos that the Port´s terminals will need to handle. The low cargo forecast predicts that Port cargo volumes remain steady. The high forecast was used for the MTMP 2020. It predicts that container volumes could grow at 4.4 percent, breakbulk cargo at three percent and mineral bulks at two percent. The high forecast also highlights the opportunity for new grain and auto facilities.

Container Forecast
Export containers are expected to exhibit annual growth of between -0.1 percent (low) and 4.4 percent (high). Import containers are forecast to exhibit annual growth of between 0.7 percent (low) and 4.2 percent (high). Total containers (exports plus imports) are expected to increase from 288,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2000 to between 296,000 TEUs (low) and 677,000 TEUs (high) by 2020,


Breakbulk exports are expected to range from a low of 4,000 metric tons (MT) to a high of 19,000 MT by the year 2020. Breakbulk imports are expected to range between 468,000 MT (low) and 836,000 MT (high) by 2020.


Under the low growth scenario, autos decline slightly from existing volumes, to 331,000 units in 2020. Under the high-growth scenario, autos increase to nearly 503,000 by 2020, or at an average annual growth rate of 1.2 percent from year 2000 volumes. The high growth forecast assumes that another automobile importer/exporter is attracted to Portland before 2010.

Port of Portland Grain Forecast
Portland grain elevators are expected to export between 5.6 million MT (low) and 10 million MT (high) by the year 2020. This amounts to an annual growth of 0.1 percent (low) and 2.9 percent (high) between 2000 and 2020. Future Port of Portland grain volumes are highly dependent on the individual facility and marketing decisions of the grain companies. Given the age, condition and location of the Portland grain facilities (other than T-5), it is likely that new facility capacity will be built and old capacity will be retired during the forecast period.


Bulk Minerals
Future bulk mineral volumes are highly interdependent with the facility and marketing decisions of the major shippers and tenants.

Bulk mineral exports are expected to range between 3.4 million MT (low), which equates to a loss of 0.6 percent per year, and 5.7 million MT (high) by the year 2020, which represents 2.0 percent annual growth between 2000 and 2020.


Facility and Transportation Plans

Terminal 6 Preferred Alternative
Terminal 6 is the state's only intermodal container terminal, handling both automobiles and containers.
Terminal 5 Preferred Alternative
Terminal 5 handles both grain and potash through two modern facilities. There is currently room for one additional dry bulk facility.
Terminal 4 Preferred Alternative
Terminal 4 is the Port's oldest operating marine terminal. Redeveloping Terminal 4, including the closure of Slip 1, was envisioned in 1981. The redevelopment of Terminal 4 is a major feature of this master plan update.
Terminal 2 Preferred Alternative
Terminal 2 is one of the most modern and efficient multi-purpose cargo facilities on the West Coast, primarily handling breakbulk cargo.
header photo

Terminal 6 is the state’s only intermodal container terminal, handling both automobiles and containers.

grn sqrThe preferred plan for Terminal 6 includes the completion of the Hyundai and Honda auto facilities. Improvements include additional storage and rail ramp capacity for Hyundai and a new, wider floating dock and rail over-crossing for Honda. grn sqrPotential property acquisitions include 17 acres for future intermodal yard expansion and the reservation of 27 acres in Rivergate for future marine uses.
grn sqrFor containers, the preferred plan includes a berth extension at Berth 605 and two new post panamax cranes. Planning studies identified that the container yard, intermodal yard and truck gate improvements, completed over the last 10 years, have the capacity to accommodate the high growth forecast for more than 10 years. grn sqrGate improvements include modification of the entrance to the terminal to facilitate future security requirements and technology upgrades to improve gate and yard efficiencies.
header photo

Terminal 5 handles both grain and potash through two modern facilities. There is currently room for one additional dry bulk facility.

grn sqrThe preferred plan for Terminal 5 is to improve rail access for Columbia Grain by completing the South Rivergate Yard and looping the onsite rail system. grn sqrDeveloping one new dry bulk facility including a new dock and storage building and a rail loop track configuration that will allow two facilities to operate where only one operates today.
grn sqrDoubling the storage building capacity at Portland Bulk Terminal.
header photo

Redeveloping Terminal 4, including the closure of Slip 1, was envisioned in 1981. The redevelopment of Terminal 4 is a major feature of this master plan update.

grn sqrThe redevelopment is currently underway, with Toyota having begun construction on a facility modernization in early 2003. grn sqrThe loop track is made possible by the closure of Slip 1. Slip closure was identified in all of the Terminal 4 facility alternatives created during the planning phase of the project. Slip closure creates the potential for varied future uses such as habitat restoration or new terminal storage yard areas.
grn sqrThe development of one modern bulk facility is the preferred plan for Terminal 4. A 7,000-foot loop track provides unit train access for bulk cargos that are currently handled there, such as soda ash and grain. grn sqrTwenty-eight acres of property will no longer be used for marine purposes when the Toyota Redevelopment Project is completed. This property has been identified for industrial warehousing or for job-creating industrial uses.
header photo

Terminal 2 is one of the most modern and efficient multi-purpose cargo facilities on the West Coast, primarily handling breakbulk cargo.

  • Breakbulk cargo volumes are currently low and there is substantial competition for breakbulk cargo in the region.
  • The preferred master plan alternative is to continue operating Terminal 2 as a public terminal in the inner harbor.
  • Continue to provide breakbulk and project cargo shipping opportunities for domestic and international cargo, while investigating industrial uses to maximize the underutilized yard areas such as warehousing, storage, or truck transfer.

West Hayden Island
The preferred alternatives can accommodate a doubling of cargo volumes in the Port's business lines over the next 10 years at existing terminals.

Because of this, it appears that West Hayden Island will not be needed to accommodate marine cargo growth in the next 10 years.

The site will continue as marine reserve property and be used for maintenance dredging disposal and will be managed using the Port's natural resource policies and procedures.

Transportation Improvements
The MTMP 2020 planned for road and rail improvements necessary to accommodate the cargo volume increases within regional road and rail capacities. The Port coordinated the MTMP 2020 transportation planning with the I-5 Trade Corridor study. Necessary transportation improvements include:

  • Exit ramp capacity improvements at Marine Drive and I-5
  • I-5 capacity improvements through North Portland
  • Lombard Overcrossing improvement in Rivergate
  • Rivergate Yard Build-out
  • A&B Yard expansion adjacent to T-6
  • Ramsey Yard construction in Rivergate
  • T-4 to Barnes Yard improvements
  • Barnes Yard to Bonneville Yard improvements
Channel Improvement
  • Deepen the Columbia River channel from 40 feet to 43 feet
  • Deepening of the Terminal 6 container berths will be conducted in conjunction with the Columbia River Channel Deepening Project

Long-Term Development Approach
The MTMP 2020 identified two scenarios to meet the high cargo forecast during the 20-year time frame. These scenarios focus on the location of soda ash cargo. Relocating soda ash from Terminal 4 to Terminal 5 would complete the facilities at Terminal 5. Terminal 4 would then be available for the development of a bulk grain facility. This scenario would meet the high cargo forecast by fully utilizing the existing marine terminal property.

Redevelopment of Terminal 4 for soda ash would leave one bulk site available at Terminal 5. This bulk site is not suitable as a grain facility due to cargo incompatibility. To meet the high forecast during the 20-year time frame, marine reserve property or another Columbia River site would be needed.

Environmental Considerations

The Port of Portland is firmly committed to achieving its mission through responsible environmental stewardship and through the implementation of proactive environmental programs. With the MTMP 2020, the Port of Portland has integrated environmental considerations into its facility planning. The MTMP 2020 began with a detailed assessment of the environmental conditions at the Port's terminal facilities and a Strategic Environmental Assessment document to identify the aspects and impacts of the Port's marine activities.


The MTMP inventories existing environmental conditions and concerns at each of the Port's marine facilities. A combination of best management practices, facility capital improvements, and environmental enhancements are identified, which address significant aspects and impacts of the Port's marine operations.

Integrating Environmental Considerations Into the MTMP 2020
This comprehensive environmental documentation and review formed the basis of the Environmental Action Plan. The action plan identifies a series of targets and planning principles that have been incorporated into the preferred-alternative plans and will be used during the future development of these plans.

environment consideration
Environmental Action Plan
Reduce Impacts to Air Minimize Impacts to Water Resources Reduce Waste Generation and Hazardous Materials Use

Select terminal designs that reduce air impacts per unit of cargo by promoting efficient transportation systems.

Implement new technologies to increase efficiencies and reduce truck idling times.

Evaluate alternate energy sources for vessels at dock.

Avoid new infiltration storm water control facilities.

Develop and select terminal designs that minimize the risk of hazardous materials release through spills.

Plan to collect and treat all storm water from marine facilities and transportation facilities.

Avoid new moorage slips and design marine facilities to minimize dredging requirements.

Prepare a facility alternative that addresses sediment management needs.

Identify locations during facility design for the management of waste materials and source separation/recycling at the terminals.

Promote beneficial re-use of dredge material.

Minimize Impacts to Natural Resources Consider Design for the Environment in Planning, Construction and Procurement Promote Sustainable Marine Development

Maximize the utilization of existing marine cargo and marine industrial facilities.

Redevelop brownfield sites in the working harbor (where feasible) to maximize land use.

Plan to accommodate the need for natural resource restoration at Port marine facilities.

Minimize impacts to shallow water and riparian habitat areas and mitigate unavoidable impacts.

Utilize natural resource modeling and adaptive management to minimize impacts and enhance and sustain natural resources, reduce invasive species colonization, and identify and sustain existing resource functions.

Design facilities to reduce potential for fish stranding.

Design marine terminals to minimize invasive lighting and noise pollution.

Encourage green building design for new construction.

Avoid duplication with other public and private facilities in region.

Seek opportunities to provide community access to marine terminals.

Seek best solutions to regional marine cargo requirements that maintain long-term competitiveness.

Continue to seek community input during facility planning.