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Portland's Director of Planning and Sustainability plenary address kicks off APA's 2011 statewide conference in California

UC Santa Barbara Alumnus Susan Anderson to talk about sustainable cities and climate change

BPS News


September 9, 2011


Julia Thompson

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson kicks off APA's 2011 statewide conference in California with plenary address

Portland, ORE. - Over the past decade, more and more cities have focused on sustainability and climate change as key issues for long-term planning. Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) for the City of Portland, is at the forefront of that trend.

"Environmental protection and sustainability are among the greatest challenges to our future well-being," Anderson states. "Yet behavioral psychologists tell us that only a small percentage of people will change behavior (what they do, where they live, what they buy, how they travel) because of the fear of climate change or environmental degradation."

On Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, Ms. Anderson will open the California Chapter of the American Planning Association's annual conference in Santa Barbara with a plenary address titled "Let's Not Talk About Climate Change."

Come learn how Portland and other communities are successfully developing more sustainable cities using urban design, technical assistance and financing tools - and are getting results by talking less about climate change and more about quality of life, jobs and prosperity, affordable housing and healthy families.

"By focusing on the benefits of addressing climate change rather than the doomsday messages, we've found that people become more engaged rather than overwhelmed by negative information," observes Anderson. "We are applying the principle of individuals taking small steps to create big changes over time."

Anderson led the development of the Portland Climate Action Plan and works with a community full of public and private partners to implement the plan. Efforts have focused on energy efficiency, solar, green building, waste reduction, composting and recycling, tree canopy protection, toxics reduction, green procurement, sustainable food, natural resource inventories, and healthy, walkable neighborhoods that reduce the need to travel.

Under her direction, BPS is the lead agency (with 110 staff) for the development and implementation of the Portland Plan - a 25-year strategic plan and five-year action plan to make Portland a thriving and sustainable city that is equitable, prosperous and healthy. A new comprehensive land use plan, river plan, airport plan, neighborhood plans and Central City plan are also under development or recently completed.
Ms. Anderson has held director-level positions in the public and private sector, including the Portland Office of Sustainable Development and Energy Office, and an environmental consulting firm. She also held positions with the Oregon Department of Energy, was a land-use planner and a public relations professional.
She holds undergraduate and advanced degrees in Urban and Regional Planning, Economics and Environmental Science. In 2008, she was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Oregon Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management. She was also named 2009 Outstanding Alumnus of the Environmental Studies Program from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Portlanders help shape the future of N/ NE Quadrant’s Lower Albina and Lloyd Districts

BPS E-News Issue 13 - September

Based on ideas captured at recent events and meetings, the N/NE Quadrant project team prepared draft concepts for how the Lower Albina and Lloyd districts could develop over time. They then presented these concepts for public review and comments through an open house, other meetings and an online survey, which posed questions about land use, urban design and local transportation in the area.
The quadrant-wide survey focused on how the N/NE Quadrant could develop as a whole. The results of eight subarea surveys (e.g., Historic Russell Street, Rose Quarter and Lloyd District) will help the project team work out details of smaller geographic areas.

Comments will be used by the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and project team to inform upcoming decisions this fall. The results of the surveys will be shared with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee on Sept. 29, 2011, as well as posted on the project website.

More about the land use, urban design and transportation design proposals for N/NE Quadrant

Ideas for the concepts were drawn from a number of sources, including examining existing conditions; identifying issues, opportunities and constraints; Stakeholder Advisory Committee and subcommittee meetings; and the Local Issues Charrette (February 2011). The concept alternatives are described in the Concept Alternatives Workbook.
The quadrant-wide concept alternatives display existing conditions and concepts based broadly on three potential future land use patterns:

  1. Residential

  2. Employment

  3. Residential/employment blend

Each concept alternative is further illustrated with three related infrastructure systems:

  1. Mobility

  2. Open space

  3. Green systems

The subarea choices highlight key land use, urban design and local transportation choices for the N/NE Quadrant subareas. Also included are maps and background information for these smaller geographic areas, with questions specific to each one. The subarea choices and issues will inform the refinement of the quadrant-wide concept alternatives (and vice versa), assist in developing a preferred concept, and provide guidance for more focused plan proposals at the subarea level.
For more information about the N/NE Quadrant Project, please contact Stephanie Beckman at 503-823-6042 or For more information about the Central City 2035 plan, please visit

About the N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans

The N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans (N/NE Quadrant Project) is a collaborative effort by the City of Portland and Oregon Department of Transportation. It is part of Phase II of Central City 2035, the City of Portland's effort to update the 1988 Central City Plan, providing detailed planning for the Lower Albina and Lloyd District areas. Working jointly with the Oregon Department of Transportation, this pr0ject will also explore options for I-5 freeway and local transportation improvements in the vicinity of the Broadway/Weidler Interchange. For more information visit the project website:


From BPS Director Susan Anderson: Three kids and a mini-can

BPS E-News Issue 13 - September

Now that curbside collection of food scraps is just around the corner, I thought I would share my experience with garbage and composting at home.

Several years ago, I proposed a challenge to my family (including three kids) to recycle and compost as much as we could, and shift to a 20-gallon mini-can for garbage.  Like many families, I was looking for ways to cut costs and, if possible, protect the environment.

We went to the hardware store and bought the mini-can, and after just a few weeks, the results were amazing.  The older boys were in charge of making sure all our veggie waste went into the compost bin on the side of the house, and my daughter, who was eight at the time, made sure we sorted the recycling and glass.  There wasn’t much left in the garbage.  In fact, some weeks we only had one small bag of trash.  And in the summer, we had great compost for the garden.

Fast forward six years, and now we are ready to compost even more. Starting October 31st, we will be able to compost meat scraps, fish, bread, grains and even pizza boxes in with our yard debris – and it will be picked up every week.  It will be good to know that when the truck picks up our green cart, our food scraps will become nutrient-rich compost for someone else’s garden.  

So if you don’t have a compost bin now, you will finally have an easy way to compost all your food waste and veggies.  And, if you’re like me, you can do both:  Compost veggie waste in your compost bin (or the green cart), and the rest of the food waste in your green roll cart.

So what’s next for the Anderson household?  With the shift to every week composting and recycling, and the boys going off to college, I’m ready for a new challenge — so we are getting ready to shift to once-a-month garbage pick-up!  

To learn more about the new food scrap program, please visit This new program will keep more than 20,000 tons of food scraps from going to the landfill, and less waste to the landfill means less greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.  In fact, the reduction in emissions is equal to Portlanders driving 48 million miles less each year.  

Your participation really adds up!

All the best,

Susan Anderson sig


Susan Anderson

New Curbside Collection Service is coming to Portland this fall

BPS E-News Issue 13 - September

Starting on Halloween, you* will be able to place all food scraps (including meat, bones and dairy!), along with yard debris, in your green Portland Composts! roll carts. *All Portland single-family households and residents living in buildings with four or fewer units.

As part of the new Curbside Collection Service, the green Portland Composts! roll cart will increase to weekly pick-up, and garbage collection will be changed to every-other-week, allowing additional food scrap and yard debris collection without raising prices for most residents. The blue Portland Recycles! roll cart and yellow glass recycling bin will continue to be collected weekly.

The new Curbside Collection Service means residents will be making shifts in how they deal with garbage in their kitchens and at the curb. Over the past year, the 2,000 Portland households who took part in the Food Scrap Curbside Collection pilot have proven that the new service can work for Portland residents. Not only were 87 percent of pilot survey respondents satisfied with the Curbside Collection Service at the end of one year, they also provided honest feedback that helped the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability understand when and how residents need assistance.

“Composting was new to us and at first my family was skeptical that we could make the change to every-other-week garbage collection work,” said Val Thorpe, a pilot resident from the Centennial neighborhood in East Portland. “We were surprised how much of our garbage really was compostable in the green roll cart and we quickly learned to make composting part of our family’s day-to-day routine. We feel great about turning what was garbage into something valuable that can be used again.”
Composting food scraps reduces waste and creates nutrient-rich compost for fertilizing yards and gardens. The food scraps and yard debris will be sent to local commercial composting facilities with specialized processes that break down food scraps and turn them into compost. The compost is then sold to landscapers and other agricultural users to fertilize the soil, prevent erosion, block weeds, retain water and prevent plant disease.

Why is the system changing?

The addition of curbside food scrap collection marks the implementation of Phase II of the Portland Recycles! Plan, which was adopted by city council in 2007 and included an extensive public involvement process. Read more about the Portland Recycles! Plan.

What’s next?

Prior to October 31, 2011, residents can expect to receive a kitchen pail for collecting food scraps in their kitchens, instructions on collecting food scraps, tips for maintaining the kitchen pail and green roll cart, as well as information about selecting a service option appropriate for their household.

Have questions?

Three easy ways to get help:
1. Visit to learn more and submit a comment form online.
2. Call the Curbside Hotline at 503-823-7202.
3. Send an e-mail to


Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans project off and running

BPS E-News Issue 13 - September

A lot has been happening around Cully Boulevard these days. In addition to the green street improvements that were recently completed and celebrated by the community on June 21, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability hosted a Roll and Stroll event to kick off the Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans project. See Cully Neighborhood Roll and Stroll Summary for event results.

Existing Conditions Report now available online

To start the project, staff researched and documented existing conditions of the Cully Main Street area and the Cully neighborhood overall, particularly its transportation system. The results of that research are summarized in the new Existing Conditions Report, which includes key findings about business climate conditions, transportation and mobility options and challenges, and community desires for enhanced neighborhood services.

Cully Main Street Redevelopment Analysis ready for review

The market research firm, Marketek Inc., which specializes in market analysis and economic development services for downtown revitalization projects, has completed an analysis of the existing conditions and potential for future development of the Cully Main Street area. This information will inform future rezoning recommendations to enhance the area with more opportunities for commercial development. The analysis focused on:

  •  retail/office/service analysis and identification of businesses that can be supported in the project area for a 25-year planning horizon.
  • A commercial land needs analysis to quantify the land required for supportable businesses.

To learn more about the Cully Main Street Project Redevelopment Analysis, please visit