City approves zoo's plans for upgrades, expansions - KPTV - FOX 12

City approves zoo's plans for upgrades, expansions

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The Oregon Zoo is going to see some big changes over the next decade.

The city of Portland granted land-use approval for improvements to be made throughout the zoo.

The Oregon Zoo, a service of Metro regional government, operates under a conditional-use permit issued by the city of Portland.

Every 10 years the zoo updates its master plan and Metro submits a conditional-use application. City workers conduct a thorough evaluation of proposed new development, assessing potential impacts on and benefits to the surrounding area, including transportation, utilities, neighborhoods, Washington Park visitors and the greater community.

The city's approval will allow work to proceed on the full complement of zoo projects approved by metro-area voters in 2008. In all, the projects will transform nearly 40 percent of the zoo site.

The most dramatic expansion will be to the new Elephant Lands habitat, which will encircle the entire eastern edge of the zoo and quadruple the elephants' space. The elephant exhibit will feature a variety of terrains, from a rolling meadow to a hilly forest.

Other projects scheduled for the next six to eight years include a new conservation education facility and improved habitats for polar bears, primates and rhinos.

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