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Summary Meeting Notes: January 22, 2013 Education and Youth Success PEG

January 22, 2013 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Attendees: Paul Cathcart, Lois Cohen, Ernesto Contreras, Karen Fischer-Gray, Will Fuller, Gabe Graff, Douglas Hardy, Stacey Triplett, Helen Ying

Staff/Facilitator: Deborah Stein, Christina Scarzello, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability;Clark Worth, Barney & Worth

Public/Guests: Inger McDowell, Coalition of Communities of Color; Don Grotting, David Douglas School District Superintendent

View the original agenda, including materials, for this meeting.

Welcome and Reflections from Last Meeting
Presenter: Clark Worth
Summary: Self-introductions 
Reflections on December 17 meeting highlights: no comments

Meeting Goal: Become familiar with the Comprehensive Plan Working Draft (Part 1 – Goals and Policies) and prepare the PEG’s work ahead.

Introduction to the Working Draft
Presenter: Deborah Stein, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Summary: Walk through working draft and “Companion Guide”. Provide overview of the document as a whole, and then highlight goals and policies that directly and indirectly relate to youth success. Preview contents of Part 2 (maps and data)—to be published Summer 2013.

Deborah Stein presented highlights of the working draft and specific areas of interest to the PEG. The Companion Guide also offers highlights—but isn’t an executive summary. The Companion Guide is designed to help a reader navigate through the draft plan, and is organized by themes (“key directions”) rather than chapters.

Portland hasn’t updated its Comprehensive Plan as a whole since 1980; updates since then have occurred but they have been piecemeal. The city has changed, adding territory and population (especially in East Portland), with new transportation infrastructure (light rail, streetcars, etc.) and other transformations. The new Comprehensive Plan acknowledges one size no longer fits all for Portland neighborhoods.

An underlying strategy for  Portland’s new plan is to strategically focus growth in mixed use centers—e.g.,Gateway Regional Center or Hollywood Town Center—where there’s greater investment in infrastructure. The expectations for most areas located outside the centers should be relative stability.

Sections of Working Draft 1 that might interest PEG members include:

  • Chapter 1 – Community Involvement
    • Greater commitment to inclusiveness
    • Includes existing policies and practices plus new ideas
  • Chapter 2 – Housing
    • Recognizes stable housing is crucial to youth success
  • Chapter 5 – Urban Design and Development
    • 20-minute neighborhoods, centers, strategic investments
    • Will be mapped in Part 2
  • Chapter 6 – Public Facilities and Services
    • Goals 6A and 6B cover quality public facilities and services (including schools)
    • Goal 6G and policies 6.61-69 address parks and recreation, trails and natural areas, community centers
    • Goal 6J and policies 6.88-91 cover school facilities
    • Goal 6K: technology access
    • Policy 6.3: interagency coordination (including school districts)
    • 6.10, 11, 12: system capacity and service deficiencies
    • 6.15: “context sensitive infrastructure”
    • 6.16: health equity impacts and outcomes
    • 6.22D: community use of public rights of way
    • 6.70: public/private partnerships
  • Chapter 8 – Administration and Implementation
    • Policy 8.1 and 8.15: intergovernmental coordination, interagency agreements
  • Appendix A – Glossary provides definitions for the different verbs used in policy statements

Comments and questions from PEG members:

  • Can the document be made searchable?
  • Is there a specific proposal for the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s role in promoting inclusiveness? The Commission is well positioned to act as a watchdog and assure accountability.
  • It’s important that affected community groups be heard.
  • Can Chapter 1 be coordinated with Chapter 8 regarding monitoring and accountability?
  • Are proposed design standards included at this stage? (No—they’ll be developed later.)
  • Does Chapter 2 set “saturation” standards for housing density? (No, but through the mapping process the relationship between housing density and school enrollment/capacity will be considered, recognizing the impacts of past efforts on school districts.)
  • Where are 20-minute neighborhoods covered in the document? (Chapter 5.)
  • Where is concurrency of public facilities? (Chapter 6.)
  • What is the source of these policies? (Existing policies,Portland Plan, community input.)
  • Many school-related policies from the 1980 plan have been refreshed and carried into this draft; many are surprisingly relevant and timely.
  • Which sections of the draft are incomplete? (The entire draft is at approximately 60% completion. The Urban Design Framework [Section II] is only ~ 30% complete; it needs a lot more community input, so this draft is a starting point for discussion. Other sections of the draft include placeholders or offer initial language that needs more public discussion.)
  • What’s also missing is more flexibility for schools in permitting, so that it isn’t so expensive or time consuming when school districts upgrade existing facilities or build new ones.
  • BPS will be identifying a sequence of “implementation packages” and code/process changes related to schools can be considered for inclusion in the work plan.
  • Where is accountability language? (Chapter 8.) This needs to get public attention. The accountability provisions in Chapters 1 and 8 could be highlighted in public workshops. “What does a ‘well-functioning plan’ look like?” How can it stay vital and responsive as things changes? What is the public role in keeping it fresh and relevant?
  • Challenge: How can the Comprehensive Plan assure inclusivity without becoming unwieldy?
  • What steps are being taken to ensure City staff (beyond BPS) understand the new Comprehensive Plan to help facilitate implementation? Are any workshops or training sessions planned?
  • This is an opportune time for school districts: PPS, Parkrose and David Douglas recently passed school construction bond measures.
  • What is the target date for Plan completion? (Fall 2014.)
  • Do “institutional campuses” (policy 3.44) include schools? (no, but a similar approach could be followed for public K-12 schools as is being considered for community college and other higher ed campuses.)
  • Are policies 6.88-91 missing something?

The Public Review Process Ahead

Presenters: Deborah Stein, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Summary: Preview purpose and format of upcoming public workshops and other opportunities for public discussion about the Working Draft (Part 1 –Goals and Policies).

PEG members are encouraged to help publicize the upcoming public workshops; and attend/observe at least one workshop.

Deborah Stein reviewed plans for the workshop agendas, which will combine an open house format plus presentations and participant discussions in small groups. In addition to the seven public workshops, there will also be discussions hosted by community-based organizations (ongoing throughout the planning process), an online survey, and an on-line comment tool. PEG members are asked to help identify interested organizations.

Suggestions by PEG members:

  • The PEG topic is “Education and Youth Success”. Don’t forget youth!
  • There needs to be a visual depiction that illustrates the planning process.
  • Word of mouth and testimonials can help publicize the presentations.
  • BPS could ask survey respondents which information sources are most credible.
  • BPS should ask the public who should be asked to weigh in on hard questions (who has the interest and expertise to best provide input)? This would be a “how” question rather than a “what” questions.
  • A standard feedback tool could be developed to accompany presentations.
  • Southwest neighborhood committee chairs are meeting on January 30 with PEG representatives.

Public Comment
No members of the public were present for the comment period. Before he departed, David Douglas Superintendent Don Grotting requested a schedule of upcoming public meetings.

Next Steps
The next PEG meeting conflicts with Presidents’ Day holiday and has been cancelled.

Meeting handouts and presentations:

For more information, please contact either Deborah Stein, Bureau of Planning & Sustainability at 503-823-6991 or deborah.stein@portlandoregon.gov, or Clark Worth, Facilitator at 503-222-0146 or clark@barneyandworth.com.

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