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Metro Seeks Community Input on Making a Great Place

Public comment period open March 21 to May 5

There's a reason our region has remained such a great place to live – decades of careful planning have preserved neighborhoods, supported our economy and protected the farms, forestland and natural areas that help create the unique sense of place and quality of life for which the region is known. Because good planning is an ongoing process, Metro is seeking your input on how you live, work and get around the region today and what changes you would like to see in the future.

Visit www.makeagreatplace.org Friday, March 21 through Monday, May 5 to take a short survey to inform the plans below. You can also give more detailed feedback on the plans and programs that will shape our region for the next 25 years.

Information that you provide will inform:

  • 2014 Regional Transportation Plan
  • Regional Active Transportation Plan
  • 2015-18 Metropolitan Improvement Program
  • Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project

Join us at a community forum
5:30 p.m. open house
6:00 p.m. Metro Councilor welcome
6:20 p.m. discussion tables
7:30 p.m. adjourn

April 3, Madison High School library 2735 NE 82nd Ave, Portland
April 9, Oak Lodge Sanitary District Building 14611 SE River Road, Milwaukie
April 17, Beaverton Library, Cathy Stanton Conference Room 12375 SW 5th St, Beaverton 

Q & A: Portland comic artist Max Young tells all

BPS E-News, March 2014

Illustration by Max YoungLast month the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability published "Portland’s Central Eastside," a visual story about this unique and dynamic part of the city. One of the most notable characteristics of the book is the striking black and white illustrations done in a quasi-comic art style. These drawings were commissioned from local Portland comic artist Max Young, whose own history mirrors the dynamic and creative nature of the district he rendered so effectively.

Young moved to Portland in 2012 after receiving his Master of Fine Arts in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and BA in Drawing from University of Tennessee. Although classically trained in the arts, Max has been making comics since he was a kid.

Young’s portfolio includes a back-up issue for Hell Yeah (an Image comic series) and plenty of self-published comics like Jetpack Shark, Sydney Sage: Extreme Exterminator and Blacked Out. In addition to action and adventure comics, he also creates illustrations for various clients.

Staff found Max through Periscope Studios, a collective of comic artists working in the Central Eastside. We asked him about working with Portland’s creative community, the industrial district and working on this project.

Tell us about the group of artists you work with. How does the collective work?

It's a fun experience to work in a studio with other cartoonists. At my own studio, it’s a two-person operation with a lot of individual feedback and collaboration. But I also interned for Periscope Studios in the Central Eastside, where nearly 20 artists work in a large open space. I make an effort to drop by and work there every once in a while because the energy there is so contagious. Everyone works in their little space, listening to music or podcasts while we're all working on our own projects. Anytime there's something you're struggling with, it's incredibly easy to get someone else to look at it and help out. Also, there's a lot of influencing that happens, where you see something cool that someone else is working on, and that influences the work you're doing. It's really the best way to make art, outside of your own personal bubble.

Your studio is in the Central Eastside, right? How do you like it?

It's actually in the Lloyd District, which is just outside of the Central Eastside, a block or two north. It's a great area to live with so many places within walking distance to shop and eat. I love it. It's quiet, but right near everything with a MAX station a few blocks away.

Does the industrial district help you connect with other working artists, book designers and communications folks?

That was probably one of the most shocking things that happened when I moved to Portland. Interning at Periscope got me immediately in touch with a multitude of cartoonists, and before I knew it I was meeting many others at various places. The artistic community is so big that you can't help but meet talented people. I've met a ton of writers, illustrators, cartoonists and other art-making professionals, and I'd attribute that directly to Portland's overall sense of community. It's such a unique melting pot that it develops and enhances creativity, and that abundance helps to inspire my own artwork.

What was your impression of the Central Eastside planning project when you first learned about it?

It sounded like a fun challenge honestly. I really hoped that I could be a part of it because it was something new and different. I had no idea how the project would come together in the end, but I knew it was going to be an interesting journey to get there. When comics and graphic novels can reach a new and wider audience, I think those projects work out well. People love comics and illustrations, and using them to share information is a really good way to get people to stop and read.

What do you think about the future of the Central Eastside? Of Portland?

The tour of the Central Eastside was really eye opening. I'm always in that part of Portland; my favorite restaurant of all time, the Montage, is there. But I was really shocked at how little I knew of the area — so many more studios, shops, restaurants and businesses that I never knew were there. People are making a lot more things in Portland than I realized. I didn't know there was so much industry in that area. It felt like I experienced a new side to a place that I had been to so many times previously, that I honestly had to completely re-evaluate and change the way I look at the Central Eastside.

I think the Central Eastside will start to see some growth in the coming years. It's a unique area in a special city, and until recently its cool and different quality has been something of a secret. Once people start to learn more about that, I imagine that it'll start attracting more businesses. It's a lot like Portland. You hear a lot of good things, and then you go there and it's even better than you expected.

Will you be here then?   

I certainly hope to be! I can say with confidence that if there was ever any city that I felt like I belonged in, it's definitely Portland.

You can find more of Max’s artwork at maximilianyoung.tumblr.com or follow him on Twitter at @OhCayBro. His primary website, www.maxyoungart.com, is currently offline and will be relaunched with a new web comic in the coming months.

Solar and schools go together like peanut butter and jelly

BPS E-News, March 2014

Kids are our future leaders and problem-solvers so we need to invest everything we’ve got in their future success. This means creating a clean energy future. There is momentum building to ensure that solar becomes a critical part of that vision. 

Solar Forward is a crowdfunding campaign that brings solar energy to beloved community institutions like schools and community centers. 

Our goal today is to bring a new solar electric array to the Lent Elementary school in Southeast Portland. The 10-kilowatt system will be installed at a visible location near the school’s colorful community garden.   

In partnership with Solar Oregon, Solar Forward will work with Lent’s teachers to expand energy literacy and increase energy awareness for students in conjunction with the system’s installation. A third Solar Forward site is in the planning stage, too.

The Solar Forward fund has already raised 75 percent of the funds needed to install the system. We need just $10,000 more to make this installation a reality! 

Will you join our group of solar leaders?

Supporting renewable energy delivers real benefits to the community, from the quality of the air we breathe to the economic opportunity created for Portland’s small businesses and workers. Your tax-deductible contribution, no matter how large or small, will be so helpful to meet our goal.

 

Big ideas for the West Quadrant coming into focus

BPS E-News, March 2014

More than 75 people (including Mayor Charlie Hales) attended the West Quadrant Plan Open House in City Hall on March 10. The following comments — and many more — were offered about the area:

  • “Include habitat features in the [along the river] to attract water birds, beavers and otters.”
  • “Asian ‘night market’ one night a week (seasonal) to attract tourists and locals.”
  • “Development of good, rich, mixed-use residential along Front Ave is imperative.”
  • “I-405 is a true barrier – bridging and stitching over/under is the opportunity [in the Pearl].”

The project team, including staff from BPS and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, shared revised goals, policies and actions for each of the seven districts within the quadrant. They also presented ideas for different transportation modes (e.g., bikes, pedestrians, transit), along with the Green Loop and the Willamette River Central Reach Urban Design Concept.

At one of the stations, a group of PSU graduate students calling themselves Watermark Planning presented their ideas to “Activate the Waterfront.” As part of the Masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program, the group is working with the West Quadrant team to address challenges in the area, including:

“… Few opportunities exist for park visitors to engage directly with the river and Portland’s downtown waterfront lacks vibrancy, largely as the result of difficult or unclear connections to the city’s central business district, surrounding neighborhoods and the eastside.”

Several people came to talk about Old Town/Chinatown, advocating for revitalizing the area while preserving the significant architectural and cultural resources in the district as well as the strong Asian community ties. As BPS Planner Nicholas Starin was quoted in The Oregonian recently, staff researched other Old Towns in cities like Seattle and Los Angeles to learn how they preserved these vital parts of their urban core. One of the more successful elements in these other districts is a multicultural museum, which is part of the action plan for Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown. Such a resource would acknowledge and celebrate the rich cultural history of the city’s oldest neighborhood and its Greek, Jewish, Roma, Chinese and Japanese populations over the past 165 years.

Other big ideas emerging from the West Quadrant planning process are to:

  • Create a greater variety of housing types in the district, including market-rate and workforce housing.
  • Provide separate lanes and signage for bicyclists and pedestrians along Waterfront Park to resolve the bike/pedestrian conflicts, especially when it’s crowded.
  • Refine building height limits to ensure they meet future demand for density, open space, light and view sheds.
  • Establish a system and standards for streets that emphasize pedestrian, bicycle, transit and freight access while continuing to provide automobile access.
  • Give the bridgeheads more generous height limits to create a greater sense of place where these vehicular conduits meet the river.

This round of public input is concluding, but you can still provide input until 5 p.m. March 24 via the WQP Virtual Open House webpage. Over the past few months, the project team made more than 400 individual contacts with Portlanders, through Neighborhood Association and community meetings, one-on-one conversations, and Stakeholder Advisory and Technical Advisory Committee meetings. Staff will consider this feedback as they refine the goals and policies, district plans and maps for a proposed draft, to be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission over the summer. The West Quadrant Concept Plan will then go to City Council for adoption. 

From BPS Director Susan Anderson: Introducing the BPS 2014-16 Strategic Plan

BPS E-News, March 2014

BPS strategic Plan coverI'm pleased to share the new 2014-16 BPS Strategic Plan.

This strategic plan provides us with a fresh start in a new direction.  It builds on the Portland Plan, a strategic roadmap that promotes a more prosperous, educate, healthy and equitable city.  And it takes the next step.  Because great plans need great follow through and implementation — and that's where's we're headed.

In the coming three years, BPS will align our resources and actions with dozens of partners to deliver innovative and practical solutions.  We will work to refine the big picture vision, and set the rules, code and policies through updates to the Comprehensive Plan, Climate Action Plan, a new Central City 2035 plan, improvements to the zoning code and other planning efforts.  In addition, we will motivate voluntary and market-based actions by residents and businesses through education, technical and financial assistance, research and demonstration to promote waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency, green building and solar technologies, brownfield transformation, access to healthy food and other sustainable and efficient practices.

Throughout all our efforts, we will focus on actions that 1) create more healthy, walkable and connected neighborhoods, 2) build on the strength and character of East Portland with much-needed improvements, and 3) advance a low-carbon economy and healthy, prosperous city.

We look forward to collaborating with our many community partners and with cities from around the globe to glean best practices, and address these very significant challenges and opportunities.  Please take a look at the strategic plan and tell us how you can help us implement this plan, and how we can work together to create a more prosperous and healthy community.

All the best,

Susan 

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