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Amsterdam, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, London, Melbourne, NYC, Seoul, Shenzhen and … Portland!

What do these global metropolises have in common? This week C40 and Siemens honored these cities for leadership in tackling climate change.

Portland is among 10 worldwide honorees to receive the 2014 City Climate Leadership Awards due to the Portland Plan Healthy Connected City strategy. The Awards honor cities all over the world for excellence in urban sustainability and leadership in the fight against climate change.

Siemens and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group  — or C40 — announced the winners Monday evening at a ceremony in New York City.

They are:

  • Amsterdam: Finance & Economic Development
  • Barcelona: Intelligent City Infrastructure
  • Buenos Aires: Solid Waste Management
  • London: Carbon Measurement & Planning and Air Quality
  • Melbourne: Adaptation & Resilience
  • New York City: Energy Efficient Built Environment
  • Portland: Sustainable Communities
  • Seoul: Green Energy
  • Shenzhen: Urban Transportation

“Portland stands proudly alongside the global megacities that make up the C40,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We're delighted to have the honor and recognition that the Portland’s Healthy Connected City approach has proven to be a powerful carbon-reduction strategy.”

Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro and chairman of the C40 group, praised the honorees. “I commend the winning cities for their leadership and commitment, and am confident that their knowledge and experience will help drive other cities to implement on-the-ground solutions faster and more efficiently. Through cooperation and collaboration, cities continue to deliver the results that are having a global impact.”

Hales praised Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and Michael Armstrong, senior sustainability manager, along with outside partners ranging from Metro to Multnomah County to the state government. He said the private sector plays a huge role in the honor as well.

“In Portland, the basic idea is to develop the centers of our existing neighborhoods into highly walkable, lively commercial districts, making it easy and convenient to get to the schools, shops, jobs, parks, coffee and beer that make Portland a great place to live, work and play,” Hales said.

The Portland Plan also calls for offering new housing opportunities so even more residents can live in complete neighborhoods. And then connecting these neighborhoods with low-carbon transportation options.

“We are about to complete the first new bridge in downtown Portland in 30 years, and it will carry light rail, streetcar, buses, bicycles and pedestrians … but not private vehicles,” Hales said this spring, while addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Chicago. “This is the kind of investment we are making to make our healthy connected city a reality.”

The winners were celebrated at an Awards Ceremony featuring C40 Board President Michael R.  Bloomberg and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian Prime Minister. The event brought together more than 250 decision-makers from cities around the world including national leaders, mayors, city planners, policy makers and representatives from the business world.

Josh Alpert, special projects adviser to Mayor Hales, attended to accept the award. Portland was the recipient of the Sustainable Communities award for its ‘Healthy Connected City’ network. As outlined in the Portland Plan, and implemented through the Comprehensive Plan update, underway now, the City is developing “complete neighborhoods” to give all residents safe and convenient access to the goods and services needed in daily life. In 2012, 45 percent of the Portland population lived in complete neighborhoods, a figure which the city aims to raise to 80 percent by 2035.

The city’s ambitious and successful initiative shows a unique and valuable pathway to sustainable, resilient, and low carbon communities.

Learn more about the other winners.

About the City Climate Leadership Awards competition:

This year marks the second collaboration between C40 and Siemens on this awards competition, which recognizes innovative city driven climate actions. Cities around the world submitted 87 applications. An independent, seven-member judging panel consisting of former city mayors, architects, representatives of the World Bank, as well as C40 and Siemens evaluated 31 projects in 26 cities as award finalists.

The City Climate Leadership Awards are part of a broader collaboration between Siemens and C40, announced in New York City in April 2013. In addition to the Awards, Siemens supports the C40 Measurement and Planning Initiative –an effort dedicated to enhancing each member city’s ability to measure data, take action and track progress towards self-identified goals. Siemens’ technical expertise is directly available to C40’s robust network of cities.

Women of Vision Conference presents award to BPS Director Susan Anderson

The Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce recognizes women who are leaders in architecture, engineering, construction and fields related to the building industry.

Susan Anderson, BPS DirectorBPS Director Susan Anderson has worked in the built environment industry for 30 years. This week, Oregon’s Daily Journal of Commerce presented Susan with a 2014 Women of Vision award for her leadership.  The Women of Vision Conference recognized 45 women in Oregon and Southwest Washington who are leaders in architecture, engineering and construction as well as in fields related to the building industry.

Portland’s first lady, Nancy Hales congratulated Susan, “Susan is responsible for many of this city’s great plans, including the first city climate action plan in the US. But what’s more impressive are her results. Susan’s efforts have helped the city reduce carbon emissions by ten percent!”

Read Susan’s bio here.

Growing up, not out

Episode 2 of Centers and Corridors video shows how Portland will grow

Last month we shared the first of five videos we’re developing about Centers and Corridors, Portland’s growth management strategy for the next 25 years.

By focusing growth and density in neighborhood hubs (centers) and busy main streets and boulevards (corridors), more people will have access to shops, services, restaurants, parks, jobs and transit. Not only does this create a stronger sense of community, it makes it possible for more people to meet their daily needs by foot, bus, MAX or bike. This in turn improves public health while reducing carbon emissions. Focusing growth in centers and corridors also means that Portland’s treasured single-family neighborhoods are preserved because new denser development will occur in discreet areas rather than scattered throughout residential districts.

Episode 2 describes the different types of centers and corridors, their features and benefits, and includes interviews with Portlanders who live and work in these vibrant places. Watch it now.

Public hearings for draft 2035 plan begin

As Portland matures into a world-class city, a more robust Comprehensive Plan will guide growth and development

It’s hard to imagine the changes that will occur over the next 25 years. Who would have thought, 30 years ago, that a car could drive without a driver, a super computer could fit in the palm of your hand or that an Olympic athlete would win gold by virtue of a high-tech jumpsuit.

Planning for the future requires more than just imagination, though. Portland’s new long-range plan for growth and development was created over several years, based on detailed research and analysis as well as vigorous community and business input and interagency collaboration.

The result is a new comprehensive plan that carries forward the best of the old one, infused with new ways of thinking about public health and equity, designing with nature and the environment, job growth and prosperity, infrastructure and public services, climate change and resiliency – all thoroughly grounded in preserving neighborhood character and the transit-oriented development that has made Portland a model city around the world.

Portlanders invited to testify on the draft plan

Comprising new goals, policies and a land use map, the proposed draft of the new Comprehensive Plan has been available for public review since July 21. An online Map App allows the public to view their property and/or neighborhood and comment on the proposed land use changes.

All feedback on the proposed draft is now being considered by the Planning and Sustainability Commission, which will eventually make a recommendation to the Portland City Council for adoption.

Portlanders are welcome to share their comments in person at four upcoming public hearings hosted by the PSC.

Comprehensive Plan Proposed Draft

Public hearings with the Planning and Sustainability Commission

Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 5 – 9 p.m.
Parkrose High School, Student Center
12003 NE Shaver Street

Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 5 – 9 p.m.
Portland Community College – SE Campus, Community Hall
2305 82nd Avenue

November 4, 2014 at 4 – 8 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500A

Portlanders are also invited to comment in writing in the following ways:

Send written comments to:

Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission
Comprehensive Plan Update
1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100
Portland, OR 97201

Email: pdxcompplan@portlandoregon.gov (be sure to include the words PSC Comprehensive Plan Testimony in the subject line).

Comment directly onto the Map App at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/mapapp.

What happens next?

The Planning and Sustainability Commission will listen to what the public has to say about the proposal at the public hearings mentioned above. After discussion and deliberation, they will make a recommendation to City Council early in 2015. City Council is expected to hold hearings and vote on the new Comprehensive Plan by mid-2015. They will likely hold hearings and vote on corresponding zoning changes by the end of 2015. After City Council approval, the new plan must be approved (“acknowledged”) by the State of Oregon. The new Comprehensive Plan Map will be the basis for future updates to the City’s Zoning Map and Zoning Code.

MUZ Project focuses on mixed use areas

Centers and corridors get a fresh look through the community’s eyes

Can you walk from your home to a grocery store or eatery? 

That’s one simple measure of a convenient walkable neighborhood. These days, more Portlanders want to live in neighborhoods with convenient services, a variety of housing choices and good transit options that offer connections to jobs.

Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan aims to ensure that as the city grows, more residents and businesses will be able to locate in these types of healthy connected neighborhoods. The City’s long-range plan for population and employment growth proposes to focus development and investments in housing, businesses and services in mixed use “centers” and “corridors” throughout the city (see other stories in this issue). This approach will both accommodate future growth and advance goals for creating more convenient, walkable neighborhoods.

But not all centers and corridors are alike, and residents, business owners, designers and developers have been looking for clarity, change and consistency in the code.

Early implementation for Comprehensive Plan

The Mixed Use Zones Project, which got underway in early 2014 and is partially funded by a Metro Construction Excise Tax (CET) grant, will develop new mixed use zoning designations to help implement Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan. The project will revise the City’s Commercial (CX, CG, CS, CM, CO1/2, CN1/2) and Central Employment (EX) zones that are applied outside of the Central City.

The objective is to refine these zones so they can better support thriving business districts and accommodate more households and businesses. The project will also address issues that arise with newer intensive mixed use forms, such as building mass and bulk, design and context, transitions and step-downs to adjacent residential areas, and active ground floor uses in key centers.

Process and participation

The MUZ Project is advised by a 28-member group of community and small business representatives from across Portland, as well as development and design professionals. The project team has solicited feedback from residents and businesses through community “walkabouts” in seven neighborhoods last spring. Staff also held “Designer, Developer and Small Business Roundtables” with technical experts in mixed use development, architecture/design, affordable housing and neighborhood small business.

Upcoming public workshop previews code concepts and more

Soon Portlanders will be able to preview code concepts and issues being addressed at a Code Concepts Public Workshop, tentatively scheduled for early late October/early November. Please visit the website (www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/mixeduse) for exact date, time and location. Additional public workshops are planned for the December/January and spring 2015. So stay tuned!