The Port of Portland owns the west half of Hayden Island, which is within the urban growth boundary but outside the City of Portland. (The developed portion of Hayden Island is within the city limits.) The Port wants the City to annex its property and zone it to allow the Port to develop it as a marine terminal. Hayden Island neighbors object to the traffic that it would bring, and people on and off the island object to developing one of the largest remaining relatively natural areas within the UGB. (The Tribune has a good discussion of the history and issues, here.)
Here are two points that the Port and the City should consider before pushing forward. First, Multnomah County has zoned the entire Port property with the SEC overlay. SEC stands for "significant environmental concern." Uses in the underlying zone (which at the moment is multiple use agriculture) are allowed outright, but must apply for an SEC approval and demonstrate that they comply with special land use criteria. Among these are criteria I and M.
Criterion I reads as follows:
Areas of annual flooding, floodplains, water areas, and wetlands shall be retained in their natural state to the maximum possible extent to preserve water quality and protect water retention, overflow, and natural functions.
Criterion M reads as follows:
An area generally recognized as fragile or endangered plant habitat or which is valued for specific vegetative features, or which has an identified need for protection of the natural vegetation, shall be retained in a natural state to the maximum extent possible.
When Portland annexes west Hayden Island, it can rezone it to an urban use, such as housing, commerce, or industry. The City must, however, be prepared to justify its choice to the Department of Land Conservation and Development, and in particular, will have to deal with the existing environmental zoning. Opponents of the Port's proposed development might well urge the City to impose its own notorious environmental overlays on the site, simply to carry forward the existing County protections. The opponents can point out that the area includes floodplains, water areas, and wetlands that should be retained in their natural state (see criterion I, above), and that the area is valued for specific vegetative features (see criterion M).
And let's not forget the County's criterion A for lands of significant environmental concern:
The maximum possible landscaped area, scenic and aesthetic enhancement, open space or vegetation shall be provided between any use and a river, stream, lake, or floodwater storage area.
That's not compatible with a marine terminal, which needs to be on a river, not just near it.
Second, the Port's ideas for west Hayden Island are tied up with the Columbia River Crossing. All local goverments -- including even the anti-car City of Portland -- agree that the current Interstate Bridges are inadequate to handle the demand, and that the Hayden Island interchange with its miserable merging lanes is a big part of the problem. The bridge can't handle any more traffic to or from Hayden Island. Opponents of a rezoning can argue to the City that current transportation services aren't adequate to serve any development of west Hayden Island, and under the state's Transportation Planning Rule, the CRC can't be taken into account until it's designed and fully funded. So until the CRC is fully funded and ready to be built, the Port can't develop the property unless it builds its own bridge to be the sole access to its property.
I'm dubious about whether the Port can qualify to have the property annexed to the City, because if I remember rightly, the Port would have to show that urban services are available or can be provided to the property. One of those urban services is transportation, and based on the progress of the CRC to date (at a cost of 1 Sellwood so far, without a shovel of earth turned to show for it), a factfinder could reasonably conclude that transportation isn't available, and won't be for years to come.