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Portland Plan promotes business resiliency through Economic Prosperity and Affordability strategy

BPS E-News Issue 11

Throughout the process of developing the Portland Plan, the city’s 25-year plan for growth and development, Portlanders have said that one of their top priorities is a robust economy and living wage jobs. The Portland Plan Economic Prosperity and Affordability Strategy presents a smart response to the complex challenges facing Portland.

Many Portlanders are out of work and struggle to make ends meet. The reasons for this are complex. Regional job growth has not been fast enough to bring down Multnomah County unemployment rates, and average wages and salaries in Multnomah County have not kept up with the rising cost of living over the last decade.

The Economic Prosperity and Affordability strategy focuses on business growth, a robust regional economy and individual prosperity. It draws on a broad range of implementation tools and partners in business development, urban innovation, land development, transportation, housing, education and training, and social supports, which collectively broaden local business opportunity and prosperity. Recognizing the connection between an educated workforce and a robust economy, for example, the strategy would pursue connections between higher education and firms in target industries to help solve technical challenges facing industry and transform innovations within school walls into commercially viable and valuable products.

The strategy identifies a series of “quick-start” actions that focus on traded sector job growth, urban innovation, trade gateway and freight mobility, and growing employment districts. One of these actions “… focus[es] business development resources on enhancing [the] competitiveness of businesses in five industry concentrations: Advanced Manufacturing, Athletic and Outdoor, Clean Tech, Software, and Research and Commercialization.” It also includes actions that address affordability, expanding opportunities for households that are currently unable to cover costs for basic needs. Another action would facilitate private investment in moderate-income housing to expand affordable housing options.

Based on thousands of public comments, expert counsel and extensive research, these focus areas and actions promise to be the most effective in achieving our goal of a thriving and prosperous city, with opportunity for all.

The Portland Plan team and its business partners are working together to make this strategy as strong and effective as possible. On April 29 (7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.), the Portland Plan team will be hosting a business forum at the NW Natural Building to solicit more feedback on the Economic Prosperity and Affordability strategy, in particular, as well as the other Portland Plan strategies and an Equity Initiative. As in the past, we’ll be soliciting feedback from the business community to refine the strategies and ensure that they will help Portland businesses survive and thrive into the future.

For more information about the Portland Plan Business Forum, please contact Barry Manning: 503-823-7965 or barry.manning@portlandoregon.gov.

Portland Plan Business Forum
Friday, April 29, 2011
7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.
NW Natural Building
220 NW 2nd Ave.

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BEST Business Center helps businesses be sustainable and successful

BPS E-News Issue 11

Want to green your business but don’t know where to start? Portland business leaders in search of more sustainable practices are teaming up with the BEST Business Center, a "one-stop shop" for local businesses that want to become greener and more profitable.  


BEST provides businesses with a free evaluation of their operations in the areas of energy, water, waste, purchasing, green building and transportation. From there, businesses receive customized recommendations, assistance from a Sustainability Advisor, and access to financial incentives, free tools and resources. 

 
 The BEST Business Center is a partnership of city and regional government programs and energy utilities, including the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, City of Portland Water Bureau, City of Portland Bureau of Transportation, City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Metro, Pacific Power, Portland Development Commission and Portland General Electric.


To access free tools and advice to help boost your company’s sustainability and profit, check out www.bestbusinesscenter.org.

Portland Plan Fairs unveil draft strategies for Portland’s future

BPS E-News Issue 11

The month of March ushered in several Portland Plan Fairs around the city, family-friendly events where Portlanders learned about draft strategies for Portland’s future. Participants were invited to comment on strategies for education, economic prosperity and affordability, and healthy connected neighborhoods, as well as an equity initiative.  

In addition, local food, music and dance made each of the four Portland Plan Fairs unique. An armadillo and yo-yo champion were the stars at the Oregon Zoo fair. Samosas and an all-girl indie folk band were featured in East Portland. And bilingual staff and interpreters were on hand in North Portland for a Latino-focused event, complete with an El Rey (KYRP-FM) station appearance.

The fairs drew hundreds of people, who provided essential feedback on the draft strategies while enjoying food, entertainment provided by Colored Pencils Art & Culture [http://www.coloredpencilsart.com/], and the company of their friends and neighbors.  

What's next in the Portland Plan process? The City will take the feedback gathered from the surveys, fairs and other community meetings and write a draft Plan by early summer. The draft Plan will then be open for comment. The draft Plan will head to the Planning and Sustainability Commission in the fall, and be presented to the Portland City Council by the end of the calendar year.

The Portland Plan will drive public decisions and investments as the city grows and changes over the next 25 years. With its partner agencies, the City will use the Portland Plan as a strategic plan to ensure that Portland is a prosperous and healthy city, with opportunity for all. Addressing jobs, education, health, housing, transportation and equity and more, the Portland Plan will affect something important to everyone in the community.

Add your thoughts by May 1st

Don’t miss one of the last opportunities to share your perspective on the ambitious strategies for Portland’s future, before the draft plan is published this summer. Make sure your voice is part of the plan by filling out our survey before May 1 at www.pdxplan.com.

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Youth initiate action for a better Portland!

BPS E-News Issue 11

Portland’s youth are making it happen for themselves through an $8,000 grant from the BPS Youth Action Grants Program. On March 18, 2011, eleven projects for youth 21 and under were awarded funding for proposals that encourage girls to study math and science, hold a bi-lingual reading competition and address issues of institutionalized racism, among others.

Supported by the BPS Youth Planning Program, PCC Students4Giving, the Multnomah Youth Commission, the Office of Mayor Sam Adams and Mercy Corps Global Citizen Corps, the Youth Action Grants encourage new and creative youth-designed and youth-led projects, particularly those which engage large numbers of youth, broaden youth skills, and involve new youth leadership.  The 11 projects awarded prioritize any one of six articles in Our Bill of Rights: Children + Youth in order to help make it a reality for the youth of Portland.  

In the 2011 grant cycle, Miranda Zook, 17, of East Portland, was awarded $1,000 to accomplish her action proposal. With the help of local non-profit Free Arts NW, she will work with the Youth On A Mission Thrift Store to create a mural to attract attention and support to the local business. The Youth On A Mission Thrift Store, located at 11923 N.E. Halsey St. sells second-hand goods to fund programs that teach life skills and provide services to youth who have been through the juvenile justice system in Multnomah County. The store also employs youth who have experienced the justice system, giving them the opportunity to learn business and sales operations, while providing a space for them to express themselves. The mural project draws on art therapy as a tool towards building skills for success in youth who are often forgotten.

"I've been doing bad things all my life. And I wanted to flip that around and do some positive things for the community,” shared a youth who works at the thrift store. The hope is that the store front mural will not only beautify the East Portland community they live in, it will also increase profits which allows the store to employ and serve more youth who struggle through the justice system.  

This spring, Miranda’s project brings together community groups like the East Portland Action Plan, Free Arts NW, the Multnomah County Department of Juvenile Justice, and local business in an innovative way that empowers youth to participate and be positive in their communities.  

Sampling of Projects to be awarded in the 2011 grant cycle:
•    A math tutoring program to motivate and inspire young girls towards math and science success;
•    An education series for youth workers and youth about the importance of Queer and Transgender inclusiveness;
•    An education and celebration event to promote awareness of the experiences of undocumented youth in Portland;
•    An art and creative expression forum about the value and experiences of youth in alternative school programs citywide;
•    A bilingual reading competition at James John Elementary School, where children learn literacy along with their Spanish-speaking parents, while stepping as leaders in their school; and  
•    A workshop series designed by youth to educate and speak honestly about dismantling institutionalized racism in Portland.

For more information about this and the 10 other awarded projects, e-mail Pam Phan, Youth Program Coordinator at pam.phan@portlandoregon.gov.  

 

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Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans Project

BPS E-News Issue 11

Community members in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood will soon collaborate on a plan to enhance their neighborhood business district. Beginning this month, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), in cooperation with the Bureau of Transportation, will engage with Cully folks to plan for the future of Cully Boulevard Main Street. Development of a local street plan for the neighborhood is also a key component of the project.

This one-year project will help create more neighborhood-serving commercial development, such as shops, restaurants and other amenities and services. The project will conclude with a report with zoning recommendations for the Cully Boulevard Main Street area and a local street plan. The street plan will identify opportunities for future street connections, ideas for new local street designs, and the community’s prioritization of local street improvements with ideas for funding. The report with recommendations will be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission and then to the City Council at public hearings in Spring 2012 for final action.

The Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans project implements high priority actions desired by the community that relate to economic development and improvements to local street infrastructure. An outgrowth of the Cully-Concordia Community Assessment Report and the Cully-Concordia Community Action Plan, this project addresses some of the key issues and opportunities to improve livability for residents, especially families with children. The bureau’s northeast district liaison worked closely with diverse community and agency stakeholders in the Cully (and Concordia) area for the past few years to develop the assessment report and action plan, and in 2008, City Council approved both.

The Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans project is funded in part by a grant from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development’s Transportation and Growth Management Program.

For more information contact Debbie Bischoff, Senior Planner, at 503.823.6946 or debbie.bischoff@portlandoregon.gov.

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