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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Keep it local at spring Community Collection Events in your neighborhood

These events do not accept household hazardous waste, construction demolition and remodeling debris and asbestos-containing materials.

community collection eventPortland residents can participate in the over 40 Community Collection Events scheduled in the spring. Materials accepted at collection events vary, however your local neighborhood association or community group may offer a combination of bulky waste collection, an onsite reuse section and a litter pickup activity.

For a reasonable donation or fee, you can bring bulky items like furniture, mattresses and appliances, along with items for recycling and reuse like scrap metal and household goods.

Items not accepted at these events include: Hazardous waste materials; all construction, remodeling or demolition materials (see examples below); all kitchen garbage; residential yard debris and trimmings; commercial landscaping; roofing; waste and recyclables collected at curbside; and waste not allowed at a regional transfer station.

Read more about asbestos-containing materials at the Metro transfer stations.

Need to find contact information for your neighborhood association?
Contact the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or call 503-823-4519.  

Have bulky items at other times of the year?
Your garbage and recycling company can remove large items that are not reusable or recyclable for an extra charge. Here are some tips:

  • Call your company a week in advance and they will give you a cost estimate.
  • For a reasonable charge, they will pick up appliances, furniture, large branches, stumps and other big items.
  • For curbside pickup, set bulky items at your curb on the day your garbage and recycling company has agreed to pick them up. 

 

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New research by PSU grad student reveals racist covenants across Portland

Researcher seeks help finding historic restrictive covenants in deeds and titles denying people of color the right to own property.

In the early and mid-20th century, restrictive covenants — along with red lining and other racist planning tools — prevented people of color, particularly Black residents, from buying and owning property in Portland. These restrictive covenants were placed in property deeds and titles. And their use was supported by government, landowners, real estate boards, realtors, banks and local neighborhood associations to enforce racial segregation of neighborhoods. Although they are no longer enforceable, many of these covenants are still on deeds today.  

Covenant: “A written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action; the deed conveying the land contained restrictive covenants” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

How did covenants work?

Covenants were used on many of Portland’s originally platted private developments, which served as the only restriction on land uses until Portland adopted its first building code in 1918. These covenants (applied to individual properties as well as larger developments) continued to be used even after 1948, when they were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Examples of racist covenants in Portland include:

“… no person of African, Asiatic, or Mongolian descent shall be allowed to purchase, own, or lease said premise …”

 “… No Negroes, Chinese, Japanese, Orientals, or any person other than the Caucasian race shall rent, purchase, occupy or use and any building on any lot, except that this covenant shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of a different or nationality employed by the owner or tenant. …”

Covenants excluded people of color from creating wealth

Property ownership is the main path to wealth creation for most people in the United States. The effects of this racist tool and others like it have served as an impediment to housing for people of color over the long term. Covenants prevented many from accumulating wealth through purchasing and owning properties that have increased in value over time. In Portland, the racial disparities in homeownership still exist today. An example at right shows a covenant from a 1928 title the forbids people of color from purchasing homes in Palantine Hill. 

Graduate research reveals a part of Portland’s racist history

Greta Smith, a Portland State University Masters student in the Department of History, is studying the history of restrictive covenants in Portland. Through archival research and crowdsourcing, Smith has uncovered 20 racially restrictive covenants in neighborhoods such as Mocks Crest, Palatine Hill, Ferncrest, Laurelhurst and others. Her work is supported by the City of Portland and is based on a similar project at the University of Washington.

Mapping racially restrictive covenants

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has partnered with Smith to create an interactive map showing the location of racist covenants in Portland. The areas with covenants are shown in blue; click on one to see excerpts from the restrictive language as well as link to a Google document with an image of the actual covenant.

Explore an interactive map showing racially restrictive covenants  

Property deeds and titles needed

Smith’s biggest challenge is sifting through thousands of title deeds. The proof of racist covenants is there, but many homeowners do not scan their deeds or titles so they are unaware they exist. If you know of a restrictive covenant, please contact Greta Smith at gresmith@pdx.edu.

Racist housing policies have been a part of Portland’s history for generations and their effects continue to persist in the form of racial disparities in homeownership and wealth, segregation and vulnerability to displacement pressures. As Portland experiences an affordable housing crisis, more conversations about these inequities and their underlying root causes are needed.

Persistence pays off for two of BPS’ own

Lauren Norris and Leesha Posey are nominated for the 2018 WE Persist award.

Editor’s note: The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is staffed with some very special people, who are full of passion and good ideas. They work hard and have fun while they’re doing it. This month we’re featuring two exceptional women from the bureau.

Leesha Posey and Lauren Norris are special kinds of pillars in the community, ensuring that communities of color and underserved Portlanders understand and benefit from sustainable practices.

Recently, they were nominated by a jury of their peers for the City of Portland’s 2018 Women’s Empowerment (WE) Persist award. In conjunction with Women’s History Month, this year’s annual honor recognized “standout” women who have inspired others in their persistence against discrimination faced by women in the workplace.

Inspiring Lauren

Lauren NorrisIn her role coordinating the Master Recycler program, Lauren’s effect on Master Recycler volunteers is clear. Glowingly, one of her nominators wrote, “Lauren works tirelessly to diversify the ‘environmental’ movement. [She] is creating an environment for all individuals, especially [those] who are often not seen at the table.” 

Lauren is honored to have been nominated with so many other “wonder women” who are doing exceptional work on behalf of the City. Her goal is to ensure that reducing consumption is done collaboratively so that communities of color and low-income communities are co-creators of sustainable practices.

“We can also ensure that we create equitable avenues for wealth building by creating safe, living wage jobs in recycling and reuse,” she says.

She is enthusiastic about working with a new group of volunteers, the Master Recyclers of Color. This new cohort is poised to have an even greater influence on citywide sustainability practices.

“The group is working on community building, but they are also identifying ways to provide more access to sustainability ideas, practices and projects to underserved communities,” said Lauren.

Impactful Leesha

Leesha (on the right in photo) has also had a positive influence on the people she works with in her role as a program specialist for BPS’ Sustainability at Work program.

“Leesha is an exceptional person,” wrote one of Posey’s nominators. “She uses her time/skills to uplift the voices of black and brown individuals … and believes in the career mobility of all women and individuals of color.”

“Creating the Master Recyclers of Color program allowed me to shake the feeling of being the “only one’” she mused. “But it also provides a space for folks to get together and network, share, vent and build. Lauren has been so supportive of the group and its possibilities.”

Said Leesha, “This award affirms that I had some impact – no matter how small – on someone, and that means the world to me. It definitely confirms that our work is meaningful to people and inspires me moving forward.”

Good work ladies! BPS is proud of you!

A new plan to combat displacement in N/NE Portland

Recently, Nan Stark (North/Northeast district liaison) worked with Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative, Inc. (PCRI) to develop and launch the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan.

By now, many Portlanders are familiar with the story of African-American displacement from N/NE Portland. From the Vanport Flood and I-5 urban renewal — both of which laid waste to vibrant neighborhoods — to gentrification of the Albina District and surrounds, a close-knit community was set awash on literal and figurative waves of change.

As well, federally sanctioned redlining and predatory lending practices* prevented many Black residents and other people of color from purchasing homes in Albina. So the district — once home to the highest concentration of Black Portlanders — is now a predominantly White and rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood.  

A right to return home

Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative Inc. (PCRI) is a local nonprofit, dedicated to building avenues to stability and prosperity for Portlanders of color by making homeownership and affordable housing a possibility for them. The organization recently celebrated the release of the Pathway 1000 plan, an ambitious strategy to bring Black and other Portlanders of color back to the Albina district.  

The plan lays out a path to create 1,000 affordable housing units for African Americans in N/NE Portland over the next 10 years. At least 800 of the newly constructed homes will be sold to new homeowners.

“The overarching goal of Pathway 1000 is to address generational poverty of Black residents and others displaced from N/NE Portland by providing homeownership and rental housing opportunities that create wealth and stabilize families as well as provide living wage jobs for current and future residents of the community,” states PCRI’s Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan.

Partnership with district planner

Nan Stark is the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s District Liaison for N/NE Portland. Over the past three years, she has been working closely with PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick and her staff, as well as several community partners, as PCRI created the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan. Nan acted as the project manager for a Metro grant to develop the plan. She brought in staff from City bureaus and Portland State University to act as a technical advisory committee to assist PCRI and its collaborators as they developed the plan. She will continue to be a resource as the Pathway 1000 plan is implemented, connecting PCRI and its partners with City resources.

Nan says that “through the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan, PCRI has chosen a very focused path toward healing some of the hurt caused by the rapid gentrification and displacement that happened in inner North and Northeast Portland over the past decade. The Plan is about creating home ownership and housing stabilization opportunities for members of the community who have been displaced, and the wealth generation that can happen as a result.”

The future of district planning

Nan’s work with PCRI is an example of the direction that district planning is going. District planners are developing deeper and more meaningful relationships with community-based organizations, making local government more accessible to people who are often not engaged in dialogs related to land use and community development. In Nan’s words, “it’s an honor to be able to engage with the community and give people the opportunity to lead the conversation.”

Now that the longer range 2035 Comprehensive Plan and Central City 2035 Plan are in the bag, BPS is exploring ways to do more of this kind of targeted district planning and community development. Stay tuned!

More about PCRI

Established in 1992, PCRI acquired endangered homes, helped secure conventional mortgages to buy them back, and retained other properties as long-term affordable rentals. It exists to protect and maintain affordable, high quality, single-family homes scattered throughout N/NE Portland. The nonprofit also manages and is expanding a portfolio of multiplexes so that underserved Portlanders have affordable housing options within the community.

* Redlining was the practice of marking areas on a map (in red) where banks were forbidden to lend money to people of color to buy a house. Banks practiced predatory lending on people of color but imposing unreasonably high interest rates and unfairly burdensome terms.

Portland City Council to consider conditional ban on single-use non-recyclable plastics, including plastic straws

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will listen to feedback from public and businesses before City Council votes on ordinance in Fall 2018.

 

Media contact: Mayor’s Office, Michael Cox 503.823.4046 or Michael.B.Cox@portlandoregon.gov

It could soon be the last straw for Portland’s City Council—at least the last plastic straw. Today City Council approved a resolution that directs the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to develop a strategy to reduce single-use, non-recyclable plastics and invite feedback from community members, hospitals and care facilities, and businesses that stock and supply straws.

City of Portland is considering the ban as a response to the global plastic litter problem involving single-use, non-recyclable plastics: Plastic straws are one of many items that are littering our land and oceans and impacting wildlife habitat. In fact, plastic straws are the 6th most frequently occurring litter in the United States, according to the 2017 Ocean Conservancy report. Over 663 species, including sea turtles, whales, dolphins and seabirds, are impacted by plastic, either by ingesting or becoming entangled in the plastic debris.

“A lot of people feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the plastic problem,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “In 2011, Portlanders did an amazing job moving away from plastic bags at the grocery checkout. Giving up plastic straws is another important step in the right direction.”

Plastic does not biodegrade but instead breaks down into smaller pieces that enters the marine food chain. Note: Compostable plastic straws are not a viable alternative either because they do not break down in aquatic environments like our rivers and oceans.

In response to ocean plastics and litter, over 100 municipalities worldwide are banning or charging for plastic bags, and reusable bags are commonplace. Cities around the world such as Vancouver, BC., New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Boulder already have or are in the process of restricting straws and other single-use non-recyclable plastics.

“We’re really proud to see Portland businesses lead on this effort,” said Charlie Plybon, Surfrider Foundation’s Oregon Policy Manager, whose organization has already worked with over 100 businesses in Portland to phase out plastic straws.

BPS staff will incorporate public feedback and elements of lessons learned by other cities into the development of an ordinance. The City is committed to working with the community on a business-first approach, to ensure those impacted by the ordinance have an opportunity to voice concerns.

Consideration will be given to restaurant customers and patients in hospitals and caregiving facilities that need straws to comfortably consume beverages.

Initially, the ordinance will apply to restaurants and other businesses and organizations in Portland that provide straws to customers and employees. How and when a change will occur will be determined in the development of the ordinance.

Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/reduceplastics to follow the progress of this strategy.