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Summary Meeting Notes: January 23, 2013 Watershed Health and Environment PEG

January 23, 2013 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, Conference Room 7a

PEG Attendees: Claire Carder, Corky Collier, Sally Edmunds, Roberta Jortner, Maryhelen Kincaid, Noelwah Netusil (by phone), Jonna Papaefthemieu, Bob Sallinger, Judy Bluehorse Skelton, Jennifer Thompson, Marie Walkiewicz

Presenters: Sallie Edmunds (BPS), Roberta Jortner (BPS), Shannon Buono (BPS), Marie Walkiewicz (BES)

Facilitator: Dena Marshall, Solid Ground Consulting, assisted by Kazmiera Taylor

Other attendees: Mary Vogel, Devta Khalsa, Elona Trogub, Alex Liverman, Jerry Grossnicklel, Nan Stark (BPS), Shannon Buono (BPS)

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

Welcome & Introductions, Comp Plan public workshops update
Presenters: Dena Marshall, Solid Ground Consulting (facilitator) and Sallie Edmunds (BPS). Sallie provided an update on the status of the Comp Plan process and distributed copies of the Comprehensive Plan Working Draft, Part 1. February launches the next steps in the Comp Plan process, with a series of public workshops from February 19 – March 14. Working Draft Part 2 will be released in Summer 2013. All PEG members and community members are encouraged to review the Draft policies and deliver written comments to BPS staff by May 2013.

Comprehensive Plan Working Draft Overview
Presenter: Shannon Buono (Bureau of Planning and Sustainability)
Shannon Buono provided an overview of the Comp Plan Working Draft policies, with particular highlights to sections in chapters where policy language reflects WHE PEG commentary.

Comments on draft policies

  • WHE PEG members expressed a strong desire to see more carefully balanced language in policies related to Economic Development and Watershed Health & Environment. There were concerns about the apparent imbalance between draft economic development and environmental policy language. Economic Development policies include the use of definitive terms, while many of the environmental policies use conditional or aspirational phrasing.
    • The imbalance (1) reflects a Citywide priority of favoring economic development over natural resource conservation, (2) will create pressure that leads to the sacrifice of ecological and human health (land-use, air quality, water), and (3) needs to be reset.
    • There is a lack of parity among the verbs used in the Watershed Health and the Economic Development chapters. The Watershed Health chapter uses words such as “strive” or “provide as practicable”. The verbs in the Economic chapter are more definitive, such as “increase, create, maintain”. The difference in the strength of the verbs results in prioritizing economic growth over environmental health.
    • Policies relating to land capacity and carrying capacity should be more strongly connected. Environmental goals correspond with land use goals; these connections should be made more clearly visible. Carrying capacity should also be included in Economic chapter.
    • The draft policies missed opportunities to connect issues of ecology and economy (e.g. transportation and wildlife corridors), and to link ecological health with a healthy economy.
    • The policies do not reflect that natural areas provide ecosystem services as well as biodiversity and intrinsic values.
    • Mitigation should not be the default-avoidance should be given the most emphasis, and should also be included in Economic Development chapter.
    • A PEG member suggested that there be a side-by-side comparison of Chapters 3 (Economic Development) and 4 (WHE) for next meeting.
  • A review of the maps presented in the Draft Policies identifies Hayden Island as Industrial and River (pattern areas map, Chapter 5), appear to emphasize industrial over residential and wildlife on Hayden Island and the Columbia Corridor.

Comprehensive Plan Public Workshop Breakout Groups

Presenters: Roberta Jortner (BPS) and Marie Walkiewicz (BES).  Roberta shared the Community Workshop schedule, encouraging PEG members to participate in the workshops. There will not be a March 2013 PEG meeting, to encourage PEG members to attend the workshops. Every workshop will include breakout groups related to the various Comp Plan policy topics.

Handout materials:

Public Comment

  • Mary Vogel (Community Member): Expressed concern regarding the lack of provisions specifically for native plants in the Comprehensive Plan. Suggests book: ‘The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age,’ by Robert Louv (2012)
  • Sallie Edmunds (BPS, WH/E PEG lead): Suggests bringing together a variety of groups interested in or currently addressing these issues, focusing on environment (WH/E) and discussing the Comprehensive Plan through that lens (e.g. Watershed Council, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and neighborhoods and community members in general).

Next Steps

  • Staff will convene a larger group meeting for discussion of WH/E issues and schedule time for that; consider a way to share comments from individuals regarding the Comprehensive Plan Draft and related issues more publicly from various PEG groups;
  • A committee including staff, Judy Bluehorse Skelton, Dena Marshall, and Claire Carder will meet to explore innovative ways to make upcoming workshops more engaging and make issues more tangible and relevant, and to create a separate environment-focused workshop.

Next meeting: February 27, 2013, 4-6 pm at 1900 SW 4th Ave.

Please attend the Comp Plan community workshops

These workshops will have a session on Industrial Land and Environment:
Tuesday, February 26, 5:30-8:30 PM at De La Salle North Catholic HS, 7528 North Fenwick Ave
Saturday, March 9, 10 AM-1 PM at Beaumont MS,4043 NE Fremont St

These workshops will have a session on Design with Nature:
Tuesday, February 19, 6 to 9 PM, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy
Thursday, February 28, 5:30 to 8:30 PM, Franklin High School, 5405 SE Woodward St
Saturday, March 2, 10 AM-1 PM at David Douglas HS, 1001 SE 135th Ave
Tuesday, March 5, 5 to 8 PM, Smith Memorial Union at Portland State University, 1825 SW Broadway

Business focus workshop: Thurs, March 14, 7:30-9:30 AM, location TBA

For more information, please contact Sallie Edmunds, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 503-823-6950 or sallie.edmunds@portlandoregon.gov, or Dena Marshall, Solid Ground Consulting, 503-249-0000 or dena@solidgroundconsulting.com.