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BPS E-news Issue 7
When the elementary students at Opal Charter School found out about the Portland Plan last fall, they did what they do best: They started exploring ideas. Through discussions, drawing, modeling and building, they collaborated on the creation of their own community. At the heart of their investigation was the question: What can we do to create a caring neighborhood that is healthy for generations to come?
By the time Mayor Sam Adams came to visit and cut the ribbon to their model community, they had fully realized their vision of a thriving neighborhood complete with tree houses sprinkled throughout the green spaces for music, reading and contemplation; a small urban farm with tiny clay strawberries and flowers; places for people to gather and play, a library, a wild animal park, bike paths and, of course, an ice cream parlor. They even figured out a way to share cars.
That a group of 7- to 9-year-olds could take on the task of making a place with creativity and gusto — intuitively grasping some of the key concepts of urban design and planning and the principles of sustainability — confirms that we can all play a part in planning for our future, regardless of age. It’s also an affirmation that innovation happens, whether in high-tech incubator labs or on the playground.
As an organization, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability recently reached a milestone in our strategic planning process, slightly reorganizing our 100+ employees to emphasize our capabilities as the City’s planning, research and development branch. And just like Opal School, whose mission is to “provoke fresh ideas [about the] environments where creativity [and] imagination … thrive,” we see our role as an incubator of both innovative ideas and practical solutions to address the challenges and opportunities of our time.
In this issue we’ll feature a handful of projects that include students and youth and show you how we’re cultivating innovation within our programs and policy development.
Thank you for being a part of that process,
City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
BPS E-news Issue 7
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is lucky to have a team of Youth Planners, who work to involve Portland’s youth in the Portland Plan process. The Youth Planning Program was initiated in 2007. Youth Planners reach out to Portland youth who consider themselves unheard — or just don't know how to be heard as they advocate on behalf of youth around Portland. The Youth Planners show their peers how to get involved and how to translate the words of city government into language they can understand.
The Portland Plan is the City’s 25-year strategic plan, so who better to consult than the people who will be adults in 2035? Youth provide a fresh perspective, and given that 45 percent of K-12 students in Portland are people of color, they can help us understand and plan for Portland’s changing demographic.
Just recently the Youth Planners hosted Portland Plan workshops at Midland Library, EcoTrust Natural Capital Center, Portland Community College and even near P.S.U . The Youth Planners partnered with the Library Teen Councils to help distribute the Youth Bomb Surveys and provide opportunities for youth voice to be heard. With the help of the teen councils, Youth Planners collected over 800 Youth Bomb Surveys (which is only a small fraction of the youth in Portland).
The Youth Bomb Survey asked questions about arts, education, neighborhoods and housing, employment opportunities, and parks. Survey results emphasized the importance of community events, arts education, job and skill development, and housing choices/affordability. The Youth Planners awarded Midland Library Teen Council an ice cream party for collecting the most surveys.
One of the first projects for the Youth Planning Program was the creation of “Our Bill of Rights: Children + Youth.” The document was passed by Portland’s City Council in August 2006, guaranteeing all youth the right to be involved in decisions that affect their lives. To advance Council’s directive, the Youth Planners recently unveiled the Youth Engagement Manual to assist local government with the integration of youth engagement, empowerment and voice into the City’s work.
To create the Youth Engagement Manual, the Youth Planners spent months interviewing youth organizers, adult community organizers who work with youth, Portland and Multnomah County government employees, elected officials and business people. With distribution assistance from Portland Parks and Recreation and the Multnomah County Library Teen Councils, Youth Planners surveyed more than 100 youth to see where and how they would like to engage in local government. Focus groups and panels were aimed at engaging youth in local government, and ensured that local government knows how to support those youth when they do express interest in increased involvement.
The Youth Planners also held in-depth discussions with members of the Multnomah Youth Commission. The Multnomah Youth Commission, the official youth policy body for both Multnomah County and the City of Portland, is a group of young people, ages 13-21, that strives to provide a voice for youth in the County & City’s work. Housed within the Multnomah County Commission on Children, Families & Community and the City of Portland’s Office of the Mayor the MYC works to change policy affecting young people, as well as negative community perception about youth.
Youth Planners, in partnership with Global Citizen Corps, Portland Community College, Mercy Corps, and the Multnomah Youth Commission awarded over $5,000 for community based projects initiated, designed, and run by youth 21 and under. The Youth Action Grants Program provides grants of up to $1,000 to any youth or group of youth in Portland who want to take creative action that makes Our Bill of Rights: Children + Youth a reality! Strong youth-adult partnerships enable communities to build their own Portland and turn community vision into action!
Mayor Sam Adams, Portland Community College President Preston Pulliams, Portland Community College Foundation’s Heidi Wilcox, Multnomah County Commissioner Barbara Willer, PCC Students4Giving Program Instructor Kim Smith, PhD were on hand to award Portland youth grants to support cultural celebrations, host a battle of the bands, help welcome incoming freshmen, paint a mural, and help create a film. These projects will involve over 1,000 youth this summer!
All Youth Planners are in their teens and work with an adult Youth Program Coordinator. They have become an integral part of the bureau, and the outreach they have done with their peers and the minority communities has been invaluable. Through their efforts, Portland might one day be known as the City of Youth Voice!
As highlighted in the new Youth Engagement Manual, The Youth Planning Program aspires to:
• have youth considered in every decision that affects them.
• have successful youth programs and advisory groups in every bureau and every part of local government.
• ensure that youth enter City Hall and other government buildings confidently, knowing they will find a receptive ear.
• have strong community youth organizations that have many vocal allies within government.
With the Youth Planning program, Portland’s youth can make a difference in the city's future. Youth and adults can get involved by visiting www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=50268.
What to expect.
Beginning in the fall of 2010 a series of Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) meetings will be conducted to generate input on the development of the quadrant plan. All SAC meetings are open to the public and will include a public comment period to allow the committee and staff to hear input from other interested stakeholders.
This web page will be updated regularly with meeting dates and times, agendas and meeting minutes. Materials provided at each meeting will also be posted on this site.
The N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans SAC meetings will generally occur monthly and are scheduled as follows:
On July 29th, the Council voted 4-0 to continue planning efforts for a potential marine terminal and open space on WHI
After listening to several hours of testimony on the evening of July 29th, the City Council voted 4-0 (Leonard absent) on a resolution to move forward on planning efforts to potentially develop a concept plan on West Hayden Island (WHI) that includes up to 300 acres of development for marine terminal facilities while preserving 500 acres for open space. The approved resolution, originally proposed by the Mayor included amendments submitted by the other three council members. Click here to see the Bureau's posting on the decision. For additional media articles on this decision, you can check out the BPS "In the News" section.
On July 29, 2010, the Portland City Council authorized Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff to take the next step in planning for mixed uses on West Hayden Island (WHI). In front of an overflow crowd, Council approved 4-0 (Leonard absent) Mayor Adams' resolution recommending the City continue planning for future use of WHI, including no more than 300 acres for marine terminal development and no less than 500 acres of protected environmental habitat. WHI is owned by the Port of Portland and encompasses approximately 800+ acres.
Following a brief staff presentation, Council heard a report from the WHI Working Group (CWG) presented by Chair Anne Squire. The CWG was convened in 2009 by Mayor Adams to consider WHI's future. Specifically, their charge was to “advise City Council on how marine industrial, habitat and recreational uses might be reconciled on WHI; and, if the CWG determines that a mix of uses is possible on WHI, to recommend a preferred concept plan.” To assist the CWG, BPS worked with a consultant, ENTRIX, to prepare several technical “Foundation Studies” exploring the relevant economic and ecological facts. The working group -- comprising representatives from the working waterfront, environmentalists, residents and others -- could not come to an agreement on the future use of the island.
While the CWG remained divided on the question posed to them, the principles and points of agreement they outlined in their report could be a starting point for further productive discussion about the future of WHI.
"I believe there's real potential and demonstrated need for both world-class habitat and a Port facility on West Hayden Island," said Mayor Adams. "But I know much work -- and more due diligence -- remains to be done."
In order to give some structure to the Council’s discussion, Mayor Adams submitted a resolution to the CWG on July 20, 2010. The resolution was further refined by other Council members during the hearing and focuses on the following parameters:
• At least 500 acres of the site should be designated as permanent open space and managed as a natural area for the benefit of the regional ecosystem. Any land management option must include financing models for the restoration and long term care of the natural area.
• No more than 300 acres should be designated for future marine terminal development, including all related development such as rail and access roads. The marine terminal footprint should be located, to the extent feasible, over the existing dredge disposal site footprint.
• Any proposal should consider the costs of financing the infrastructure against the public benefit of the improvements.
• Any docks should be designed to avoid shallow water impacts and will not include a vertical sea wall or similar structure. The proposal must include information on environmental regulatory requirements and how they may be met.
• Nature-based recreational uses should be evaluated in more detail, particularly if recreational improvements can be used as a means to direct and manage human access in ways that support habitat objectives.
• Traffic impacts should be examined in light of the most up-to-date Columbia River Crossing design options. The plan should minimize any adverse impacts on East Hayden Island residents as well as consider air quality impacts (dust and emissions), noise and light impacts on this adjacent community.
The resolution directs BPS staff to prepare a Comprehensive Plan update and zoning proposals consistent with the above-listed parameters. They would also develop a legislative proposal for annexation of WHI into the City, but the decision on whether to proceed with annexation and possible development will not go before the City Council until mid-to-late 2011.
City Council members called for further due diligence and analysis on several basic assumptions and issues, including the need for port facilities in this location, operational efficiencies that might allow more compact marine terminal facilities, and an evaluation of opportunities for increased coordination with the Port of Vancouver.
Citing how important it is for Portland to "get this right," Council members stated that the next phase must be done in accordance with their expectations and must answer the questions above. The Mayor proposed holding Council work sessions during the next phase of the planning process so Council can track the issue closely.
City Council has already received considerable written testimony on this issue, and more than 90 people signed up to testify at the July 29 hearing. Commissioner Nick Fish remarked that in the time he has been on the Council, he had never heard such insightful testimony, the quality of which helped commissioners come to agreement.
Resolving this long-standing question is important in order to provide certainty to the Port and the region and inform the City's state-mandated Comprehensive Plan update, occurring through the Portland Plan. Under Oregon land use law, city and regional planners are responsible for monitoring the supply of development-ready land, and ensuring enough supply exists to satisfy the expected needs over the next 20 years. This is necessary because land supply is regulated by the Urban Growth Boundary. WHI was brought into the Metro Urban Growth Boundary in 1983 to “satisfy a long term regional need for water-dependent, marine terminal and industrial facilities.” Industrial development is generally not permitted outside of the region’s urban growth boundary. In addition, industry is not permitted unless land is zoned for that use.
The process of annexation, adopting zoning, developing specific plans and obtaining development permits is expected to take 5 to 10 years. If Portland intends to make any portion of WHI available for development over the next 20 years, this planning process needs to begin now.
The next steps for the West Hayden Island planning process include:
• Developing a new work plan to match the resolution
• Working with the Mayor to evaluate the CWG process and propose a new public involvement plan for the next phase of work
• Discussing funding needs with the Port of Portland, leading to possible changes to the IGA by September
Target dates are:
• Complete the above by mid September 2010
• Complete additional technical studies by Spring 2011
• Bring an annexation agreement and zoning proposal to Council by December 2011