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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.

Be Resourceful's back-to-school series offers helpful ideas

Save time, money and resources.

Going back to school is a time that includes more stuff, more hassle and more stress. However, this time also creates an opportunity to rethink how you and your family prepare for school – from the day-to-day schedule and how you get to and from school, to the clothes, food and supplies they need every day. 


Below are ideas for things you can do that will help save time, money and resources.

Rethink how to get school supplies

  1. “Shop” at home, then make your list.

While the school year is already underway, there may still be items your child needs. It’s a good idea to sort through your old materials, reuse what you can from last year's supplies and know what’s around the house if a need arises. Make a list before you shop for school supplies because it will help you remember what you wanted to purchase and limit impulse buying.

2. Consider the whole product.

Buy products with more recycled content – paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer materials, for example – and less or no packaging. If the product comes with packaging, ensure the wrapping or container includes recycled content and can be recycled.

3. Buy reused school and craft supplies.

Visit SCRAP to help create DIY one-of-a-kind items for school, like pencil bags from fabric, zippers and found objects, or to customize last year’s backpacks by adding sew-on patches or letters. SCRAP offers paper of all colors and sizes, markers, pens, colored pencils, plus so much more.

For books and computers, consider used or refurbished ones. Many schools offer used text books to save money and reduce waste, or share your used books with friends, relatives or younger schoolchildren.

  • The library’s Title Wave Used Book Store offers a wide selection of books and other materials at deep discounts.
  • Free Geek is a great place to donate old computers and buy replacements, plus find other electronic equipment.

Swap and share clothes and gear

Host a clothing swap with friends and neighbors to share kids’ clothes, toys and books, and donate anything that’s left. Don’t forget about sports gear and equipment – items for school and recreation leagues can add to your budget. 

A clothing swap involves getting a bunch of people together to exchange clothes and other items you no longer wear, and offering them free of charge to others by swapping them instead. You can organize your own clothing swap with friends, or attend a larger event hosted by a school or other community organization. 

Two Portland examples are the Sunnyside Environmental School that hosts a Back-to-School Exchange and the Mt Tabor Soccer Gear Swap. These are clothing and gear swaps happening with the guidance of parents, neighbors and friends. These events are about reusing materials to extend their life, and also about building connections or meeting new people in your community. 

You may also choose to join one of the five “swap and play” spaces around Portland. Swap and plays offer an opportunity to swap outgrown clothing, toys and gear, share community play space and also connect with other parents and kids in your neighborhood. Portland swap and plays are membership organizations and vary in hours, activities, events and ways to get involved. All the spaces work together to provide a citywide membership option for families as well. They are Eastside Swap & Play, Harrison Hill Swap ‘n’ Play, Southside Swap & Play, St John’s Swapnplay Community Sharing and Woodlawn Swap n Play

Pack waste-free lunches

Choosing reusable containers, utensils and cloth napkins helps reduce waste while also promoting healthy eating habits.

  • Pack lunch in reusable containers or a lunch box.
  • Wash and reuse containers for sandwiches and snacks.
  • Choose durable bottles for drinks and fill them with tap water.
  • Bring your own metal forks and spoons and cloth napkins.


Change your routine

Options is the name of the game as you shift back into the school routine. How you get to and from school, after-school activities, sporting events and play dates are all times to consider alternatives and, as a bonus, offer ways to spend more time with family and friends.


Connect with other parents on a carpool for the kids to reduce pollution and trafficGre congestion while saving time and money. Use this free online tool to find carpool companions. Or talk to friends and neighbors to share in the day-to-day schedule and make the most of your time.

Walk or bike

Promote exercise (and get some yourself) and get quality time with your kids by walking or biking with them to school. Find maps to school, information and events through Safe Routes to School, or sign up for their newsletter.

Bike shops all over Portland offer repair services and classes, and help outfit you for the weather. Or come to a Repair Café (hosted by Repair PDX) to learn how to get minor things repaired for free.

There are many Portland-area resources to consider when getting kids ready to go back to school. Find these and more ideas to outfit your kids for school while saving money, time and resources in the Resourceful PDX blog.

In whatever ways your family chooses to get back to school, incorporating thoughtful actions that are good for you and the community help provide lasting effects as the seasons change and the new school year becomes routine again. 

Bureau’s demographer performs invaluable research and analysis

Hailing from New Delhi, Uma Krishnan’s cultural and educational background enriches BPS and the community

Born on the Malabar Coast in the southwest region of India and raised in New Delhi, BPS’ Uma Krishnan cherishes her youth in what she describes as the “most
wonderful urban place to grow up; 8-minute neighborhoods (forget 20-minutes!), good schools, a reliable bus system, affordable housing and low humidity with bearable summers.”


Uma attended school six days a week (!) and learned English by reading Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekov, Pushkin and others. Then she went to university (take a deep breath).

With a Ph.D. in Urban Planning & Policy Development from Rutgers University, a Masters in Public Administration from Cleveland State University, a B.S. in Economics from Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS), Uma assists her colleagues and the community with her trademark courtesy and friendly nature.

She loves working in the public sector, but her first job was with Central Electronic Engineering Research Institute in Pilani, India. “My job was to take science to the neighboring villages to make their lives easier.”

From there she began her career in public service with the Central Government in India, followed by the New Jersey Commerce and Economic Growth Commission as a research specialist, and then the County of Santa Barbara, Calif., as a housing specialist.

She became the City of Portland’s demographer in 2006. Her work has contributed to the Portland Plan, the Comprehensive Plan, and the Housing Bureau’s strategic plan. She has also worked on the Limited Tax Abatement affordable housing programs and with the Auditor’s Office on reports like the Service Efforts and Accomplishments reports. Recently, her expertise has been sought to provide data on gentrification and displacement as well as the Housing and Transportation Cost Burden study.

Uma’s analytical assistance has proven invaluable for sustainability program surveys, and energy assistance, solid waste and the sustainable food programs. You can also find her staffing Fix-It-Fairs.

“It is this variety of work and experiences that I find very rewarding,” she says. “The efforts of multiple bureaus to use demographic and housing data to address inequities experienced by communities of color and embrace increasing diversity is a particularly exciting time for me.”

About her home life, Uma jokes that she has “had to forego the pleasure of holding a TV remote in exchange for the ultimate satisfaction of living with men from three different generations:  father/father-in-law, husband and son.”

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 ( for exact date, time and location. Additional public workshops are planned for the December/January and spring 2015. So stay tuned!

Public hearing on West Quadrant Plan draws crowd

Community members offer their testimony on the future of the Central City’s west side

On Sept. 9, 2014, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) welcomed testimony on the West Quadrant Plan Proposed Draft at a public hearing. Central City residents, business owners and other interested individuals packed the room to offer testimony – some supportive, some critical – on the current draft.

Building heights, particularly those in the West End, Pearl District and Old Town/Chinatown were the subject of a majority of the testimony. Many residents from those areas requested significant decreases in height limits – both proposed, but mostly existing. Others testified in favor of maintaining and/or strategically increasing heights in some areas of the West Quadrant. Additional subjects of testimony included parking, affordable housing, economic development, historic preservation, equity, bridgehead development and the environment. 

Watch the hearing.

The written record will remain open until Oct. 1, 2014, which means Portlanders can submit testimony in writing until then to

The Proposed Draft can be found in the Documents Section of the project website. Meeting minutes, written testimony and related documents will be posted to the PSC website when available.

Next steps

A PSC work session on the West Quadrant Plan is scheduled for Oct. 21, 2014. Staff will brief the commissioners on requested information and be available to answer questions as they discuss the Proposed Draft. The work session is open to the public, but testimony will not be taken. A vote on the Proposed Draft may be taken at the conclusion of the work session, or commissioners may ask for another work session if additional time is needed to make a decision.