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New Planning and Sustainability Commission defines work, looks forward

In early October, the new Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held their first retreat. The group discussed how the new Commission will work together and their workplan priorities.  They met with various City bureau directors, as well as with Mayor Sam Adams. One key topic of conversation was defining “sustainability” and how the PSC will integrate the components of equity, environmental and human health, and economic factors into their work.

The Commissioners agreed on a shared definition of sustainability and to adhere to two main concepts to guide their work and recommendations: 1) That everything is connected; and 2) That whatever we do today affects tomorrow.

Commissioners also noted the importance of engaging people who think of sustainability as a barrier, emphasizing the need for urgency and the time dimension of “borrowing from the future” and including cultural sustainability (the ability to remain connected to one’s cultural identity, values and beliefs) and creating space in the city that is inclusive of the range of cultures.

The primary functions of the 11-member Commission include ensuring sustainability principles and practices are incorporated into policy, planning and development decisions. The PSC will serve as an advocate for community concerns and robust public involvement.  It will advise City Council and bureaus on social, economic and environmental topics and act as the stewards of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Climate Action Plan.

Looking ahead, the PSC will remain focused on integrating all aspects of sustainability into its recommendations and will advocate for projects from which all Portlanders can benefit.