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BPS E-News, February 2014
Cruise along any street in the Central Eastside industrial area, and the energy and change is palpable. Husks of old warehouses are being rehabbed across the street from new commercial buildings. Pedestrians and cyclists are just as likely to travel the streets as a variety of freight vehicles. And the new light rail line taking shape across the river and south to Milwaukie will soon connect with the streetcar loop and provide additional opportunities for development around new station areas.
And as more businesses seek office, industrial and flexible work space in this dynamic and close-in area, development pressures could jeopardize the still-reasonable lease rates and the district’s unique character and urban form.
The land use challenges in this unique part of Portland have caught the eye of planners around the nation. The Urban Land Institute Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use recently chose Portland as one of four cities to study this year, with Mayor Charlie Hales, and directors Susan Anderson (BPS), Leah Treat (PBOT) and Patrick Quinton (PDC) named as Rose Center Fellows.
During the week of February 10, ULI staff and Rose Center fellows toured the Central Eastside, talked with project staff, interviewed stakeholders and presented their findings and recommendations to a crowd of about 70 people at the Eastside Exchange building at the end of the four-day investigation.
According to the ULI, their “goal is to initiate the creation of a strategy to position the Central Eastside … as a 21st century business district offering sufficient flexibility to serve longtime industrial employers as well as new, emerging industries.”
At the final presentation on Thursday, February 13 at the Eastside Exchange building, ULI staff and fellows emphasized the need to redefine the notion of an industrial sanctuary and create a “haven for doers and makers” in the Central Eastside. They called on the City of Portland to create an employment strategy, not a regulatory strategy, through infrastructure and access improvements, land use flexibility, work force training, programming and partnerships.
The presentation ended with some “homework” assignments, which will be reviewed when the teams reconvene in April in Vancouver, Wash. For more information about ULI and the Daniel Rose Center, please visit http://uli.org.
To address the changing dynamics in the SE Quadrant and ensure that the industrial sanctuary in the Central Eastside preserves and enhances new employment growth, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is leading the SE Quadrant planning effort and recently released a dynamic introduction to the area. Titled Portland’s Central Eastside, the document covers the history and background of the district, its role as a regional employment center, types of businesses, urban character, transportation issues, the riverfront and future of the industrial sanctuary. The book includes bold illustrations by a local artist, fascinating historic photographs and compelling stories about the people and places in the Central Eastside.
Through narrative, images and case studies, the book paints a picture of a place transformed from farmland to loading docks to train tracks and freeways. It shows how the district went from Produce Row to industrial sanctuary, and describes the various business sectors thriving in the area today. It describes an evolving industrial “ecosystem,” where metal fabricators and other craftspeople form a “colony” of mutually supportive services that are accessible by foot or bike. And it identifies the issues around urban form and character, transportation and the riverfront, and offers discussion questions to start conversations with the community that will be necessary to chart the path ahead.
BPS E-News, February 2014
Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick have started a community conversation about how to improve funding for transportation. You can have your say by attending an upcoming meeting or taking an online survey now at ourstreetspdx.com
Please join Mayor Hales, Commissioner Novick, staff from the City of Portland, and your neighbors on to review specific transportation needs and comment on possible solutions:
The first meeting on needs was held last night, Feb. 20.
The February meetings focus on transportation needs. A second series of meetings will be scheduled in April to review specific funding proposals.
Portland is facing these same challenges as many local governments:
Last year, 35 people in Portland were killed in traffic crashes and the overall condition of our streets and bridges continues to deteriorate. Many of our streets are unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists because they lack sidewalks for people to walk on and/or features like rapid flash beacons that make intersections safer to cross.
Our maintenance backlog gets worse on a daily basis, because roads are like teeth: If you don’t brush, floss and have annual cleanings, you end up having much more expensive root canals and extractions.
For more information, visit the project web site ourstreetspdx.com or contact Mark Lear at (503) 823-7604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BPS E-News, February 2014
The City of Portland and Multnomah County’s new draft Climate Change Preparation Strategy and draft Risk & Vulnerabilities Assessment have been released for comment. Technical experts, organizations, businesses and members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback on the documents before the Portland and Multnomah County council members consider adopting the documents later this year.
The draft materials describe how climate change will affect the region and what actions are proposed to improve resiliency and to protect communities. Through April 11, 2014, comments may be submitted online, by e-mail to email@example.com or by mail to City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Attn: Michele Crim, 1900 SW 4th Ave., Suite 7100, Portland, Oregon 97201.
“The analysis and implementation relies on a strong collaboration between the City and County, and across City agencies,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “I just returned from the global C40 conference on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate risk. What I found is that cities everywhere face daunting impacts from climate change and we need to take a prudent, responsible approach to reducing risk and building resilience. I welcome feedback on the draft findings and proposed actions.”
The draft strategy and the companion background report are key deliverables from Portland’s 2009 Climate Action Plan. They explore the potential impacts of climate change on various sectors, including people, infrastructure, and natural systems likes rivers and wetlands. Potential impacts to food production, climate migrants, energy systems and the economy are also explored in the strategy. The strategy proposes 12 objectives and more than 80 actions to build resilience into Portland and Multnomah County’s policies, operations, services and infrastructure over the coming years.
“We’ve already taken many actions that help us be more resilient and prepare for climate change. These actions benefit local air and water quality, protect greenspaces and create wonderful places for Portlanders to live, work and play,” said Susan Anderson, City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability director. “We appreciate the longstanding collaboration among many local partners that will help to implement this strategy.”
Portland’s climate future is expected to be characterized by warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers with an increased frequency of high-heat days. The strategy names five distinct risks, including increased temperatures and frequency of high-heat days, increased incidence of drought and wildfire frequency and intensity, as well as increased incidence and magnitude of damaging floods and landslides.
“This strategy is an excellent example of the collaboration between Multnomah County and the City of Portland. Our Health Department staff are working to prepare for an increase of heat-related illnesses and deaths, mosquito-borne diseases, asthma attacks from poor air quality and
community's health in the face of these challenges,” said Joanne Fuller, chief operating officer, interim health director,MultnomahCounty.
“Certain populations, including low-income households, communities of color, linguistically isolated households, renters and older adults may be less able to prepare for and recover from impacts from climate change, said Claudia Arana Colen, health equity coordinator, Upstream Public Health. “I am pleased to see the needs of vulnerable populations prioritized, and expect Portland and Multnomah County to deliver on their commitments to these communities as they implement this plan.”
Developed by the City of Portland and Multnomah County, the draft materials were informed by advisors from the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, Oregon Department of Geology & Mineral Industries and the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission.
Carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and from land use changes, including deforestation, are the primary drivers for the climate change we are experiencing today and expect to see in the future. Reducing carbon emissions remains a crucial component of climate change preparation work. The assessment and the strategy are linked to the City of Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan, which integrates the City and County’s work to slow the effects of climate change while also preparing for the impacts that we will experience. Portland and Multnomah County are currently in the process of updating the Climate Action Plan, which was originally adopted in 2009. Visit Portland’s Climate Action website to learn more about the Climate Action Plan update project and other existing climate efforts.
BPS E-News, February 2014
Sustainability at Work hosted its popular Problem Solved networking event on Wednesday, February 12. Local green team leaders and sustainability champions from more than 30 local businesses met at Bridgeport Brewing to tackle common sustainability workplace challenges.
“Problem Solved connects the people who are doing the heavy lifting to green Portland’s workplaces. It provides a platform to support and celebrate their efforts — which is what Sustainability at Work is all about,” says Megan Shuler, Sustainability at Work program manager.
The event kicked off with presentations from Hilary Alter from Zidell Marine Corporation, Nicole Baber from Reach Community Development and Tammi Connolly from Otak. Attendees laughed and nodded in agreement as these sustainability champions shared their experiences -- from having new ideas be met with resistance -- to being that employee who digs the recyclables out of the garbage can. Hearing how speakers ultimately achieved success sparked creative ideas and tangible next steps.
Following the presentations, attendees participated in small group discussions where they shared insights for taking sustainability to the next level and getting employee buy-in and management support. Michael Geller, Providence Health & Services Sustainability Manager, shared with his discussion group how he created internal buy-in for sustainability projects: "Point to the mission and core values of the organization and know your audience. This way you can show management why your projects take the company in the right direction."
Raffle prizes for the event were donated by Sustainability at Work certified businesses Hopworks Urban Brewing, Food Front Cooperative Grocery Store and Crown Plaza Portland Downtown.
The next event is scheduled for early summer. Learn more about Sustainability at Work at www.portlandoregon.gov/sustainabilityatwork.
BPS E-News, February 2014
Learn from the experts. Share with your neighbors. Take an eight-week course on the latest information on waste prevention and recycling. Then, promise to volunteer 30 hours to share what you learned with neighbors, coworkers and community.