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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

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Smart City PDX prepares information privacy guidelines to support next generation of digital services for city government operations

At Portland City Council in May: Citywide Privacy and Information Protection Principles

Smart City PDX, in collaboration with Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office and the Office of Equity and Human Rights, is taking a new set of guidelines to Portland City Council to help protect private and sensitive data managed by the City of Portland. These privacy and information protection principles emerged from the need that local governments must prioritize and plan for emergent information technologies used in government services. Together, we are building the next generation of digital public services and we want all Portlanders to participate in these processes and their benefits.

people discuss smart cities pdx

The meaning of the City Council resolution

If City Council approves the resolution, city staff at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Office of Equity and Human Rights will be empowered to work with other City of Portland bureaus to identify and develop a process for creating, reviewing, an implementing and strengthening equitable and anti-discriminatory policies and procedures that promote the Citywide Privacy and Information Protection Principles. This would include determining the staff and budget resources needed to implement this process as part of an overall Data Governance strategy for the City. Additionally, staff would be directed to make recommendations to assure community involvement in the review of City procedures, practices and policies.

Portland city government collects data and information for different purposes and we need to assure equitable services while following our values for racial equity and providing access to people living with disabilities and other marginalized communities as a critical component in assessing outcomes. These same communities can also be more vulnerable to the misuse of data, which highlights the importance of safeguards that guides institutional practices and informs the community of our commitment to their privacy.

Resolving complex issues that our city faces like homelessness, traffic congestion and people’s mobility, transition to clean energy, and safe spaces for all may require multiple agencies to exchange data. Without clear rules, and resources devoted to managing data and information with modern standards, this type of agile, responsible data sharing won’t be possible.

One of the main priorities in our Smart City PDX program is to implement best practices in information management that make the City of Portland a better and more trusted steward of data. Developing these principles took the involvement of city staff from our information security, legal and equity teams, and experts involved on privacy efforts at the City of Seattle and City of Oakland. After our first draft was ready last year, it took several months to get feedback from community members, technical advisory bodies and all bureaus, resulting in the draft resolution to be submitted to City Council.

The balance between transparency, privacy and data utility can also be complex

The City of Portland’s Citywide Privacy and Information Protection Principles include asking ourselves about the value of collecting personal information in the first place. The goal is to make sure the City only uses data for a well-defined purpose that brings value to the community. By promoting transparency in how data and information is used, our City can make sure to provide a fair, equitable and accountable processes in the services we provide.

City Council will consider the Citywide Privacy and Information Protection Principles resolution on June 19. Read the proposed principles here. For more information about the work on privacy and these principles send an email to: or visit www.smartcitypdx.comSign up to receive project updates by email. 

YOU'RE INVITED: Open houses for two City projects address how Portland’s neighborhoods are growing

The Design Overlay Zone Amendments and Historic Resources Code Project honor neighborhood context and ensure quality development.

The quality of building design and the preservation of historic resources matter for a growing city. As we move forward, Portland needs to make room for growth and change – ensuring that new development reflects the needs and aspirations of our ever-changing city – while also protecting community assets that connect us to our history.

That’s why planners at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability are working on two projects that prepare us for the future, while building on our history. At upcoming events in March and April, planning staff will share new ideas from: 

Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) Project

New regulations for design overlay zones are being proposed for commercial areas throughout the city, including Gateway, St Johns, MLK/Alberta, SE Division, 122nd Avenue, Hillsdale, Central City and many other places. Most growth and development will occur in  the city’s centers and corridors – buildings in these places will be bigger and taller – and the diversity of people and level of activity will increase. With attention to design, these changes will result in great places in which people live, work, gather and play.

The DOZA team will share new regulations that affect:

  • The purpose of the Design overlay zone
  • Where the Design overlay zone applies
  • The process used to review projects in the Design overlay zone
  • The tools used to evaluate projects in the Design overlay zone
  • Additional improvement to support clarity and transparency for all stakeholders

Check out the Discussion Draft and give us your feedback!

For more information, visit the project website:

Historic Resource Code Project (HRCP)

For more than 20 years, Portland’s historic buildings and other resources have been protected by designations established by the federal government. Proposed amendments to the zoning code would allow the City of Portland to have more control over what should be protected from demolition and major alterations. The proposals are based on feedback staff received during an earlier concept development phase that resulted in 3,442 unique comments from the public.

Read the staff report and proposed zoning code changes in the Discussion Draft, as well as summary documents

For more information, visit the project website:

Join us at an open house

HRCP / DOZA Open Houses

Saturday, March 16, 2019, 2 – 4 p.m.
Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR
TriMet Line: #15

Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 4 – 7 p.m.
Center for Architecture, 403 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR
TriMet: Line #77, Portland Streetcar

Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 4 – 7 p.m.
Design Week Portland Open House: PDX Design Zones will shape your city!
Lobby, 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR
TriMet: Lines #1, 8, 9, 12, 17, 35, 36, 54, 56, 43, 44, 94, 99, MAX Green Line and Portland Streetcar

TBD Date/Time/Location
East Portland

Public comments on both DOZA and HRCP are due by April 12.

WANTED: Three new members for Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission

Opportunity for a variety of community members to become the next "city shapers"


Monday, February 25, 2019


Sandra Wood

Julie Ocken

WANTED: Three new members for Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission

Opportunity for a variety of community members to become the next "city shapers"

Portland, ORE. — Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will soon have three openings as commissioners' terms expire. Portlanders are invited to apply to join this influential body of community advisors.

The PSC includes 11 volunteer members with expertise in a range of areas. Their major role is to advise City Council on Portland’s long range goals, policies and programs for land use, planning and sustainability to promote a prosperous, educated, healthy, resilient and equitable future for all Portlanders. The Portland Plan, 2035 Comprehensive Plan, and many other community-shaping efforts have benefitted from their oversight and direction.

It’s not an exaggeration to say their contributions to our city will live on for years to come.

Be the next “city shaper” – or help us find one!

Given the number of open seats (almost one third of the Commission), this is a chance to lead with equity and include more people of different ages, cultural backgrounds, incomes, residences and abilities to move our community closer to the city we aspire to be. 

To complement the existing voices on the Commission, people who have backgrounds in and care about the following are sought:

  • Equity / social justice
  • Climate action / sustainability
  • Business / economic & community development 
  • Zoning code / general land use / traditional long-range planning 
  • Central Eastside / new industry

Application information

This recruitment is open until March 15, 2019. A full description of the position, as well as the application form, is available on the Office of Community & Civic Life website.

This is a big opportunity for the community to move our city forward. There haven't been as many openings on the PSC since it was formed in 2010. New PSC members will be appointed by Mayor Wheeler (and confirmed by City Council).


Interviews with final candidates will likely be determined in early April. Top candidates will meet with the Mayor in late April, followed by City Council appointments in mid-May. Start date for all three newly appointed Commissioners will be June 1, 2019.

# # #

Mayor Ted Wheeler Selects Andrea Durbin As New Director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

From the office of Mayor Ted Wheeler

City of Portland 







Contact: Eileen Park, (503) 823-6541

Mayor Wheeler is proud to select Andrea Durbin as the new Director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. After a thorough and inclusive Andrea Durbinselection process involving multiple internal and external stakeholders to define imperative experience and attributes, the choice became clear.

“Andrea brings over 20 years of effective environmental policy leadership in Portland and beyond,” says Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Her leadership as the Oregon Environmental Council’s Executive Director resulted in real progress as we fight to combat the realities of climate change. I’m looking forward to seeing all that BPS will accomplish under her leadership.”

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability for the City of Portland. We’re at a pivotal point in this city.  As the local economy and population grows, we know our livability, affordability and quality of life are challenged,” says Durbin. “I look forward to working with the Mayor, City Commissioners and the hard-working staff at BPS to help our city realize a healthier, more equitable and resilient community for all Portlanders.” 

Durbin served as the Executive Director of Oregon Environmental Council since 2006. Prior to that, she worked in consulting, which allowed her to advise clients in the financial sector on the development of their environmental and social standards for international lending practices. She also worked as a National Campaign Director for Greenpeace and as International Program Director for Friends of the Earth.

Due to the enormous amount of time and effort that went into this selection, the bureau is getting an ideal and passionate leader, and the City will benefit for years to come. Durbin brings a collaborative and equity-centered approach to BPS, which aligns with the mission and values of the bureau. Her experience in advancing sound and effective environmental policy here in Oregon will be a welcome addition to the City of Portland’s staff as we work collectively to meet the challenges posed by the reality of climate change.

Her first day will be Thursday, April 18.


Portland Home Energy Score Celebrates Successful First Year

Homebuyers searching for a home in Portland in 2018 had better access to transparent energy efficiency information.

More than 8,700 homes received a Home Energy Score through the end of 2018 based on a new requirement within the city of Portland. Homes listed for sale must now include a Home Energy Report and the Score (on a scale from 1 to 10), which is generated through an in-home assessment. Homebuyers can use this information to better understand the full costs of home ownership and compare their choices. The report recommends the most cost-effective improvements to save energy – and money – on their utility bills.

Data from the first year of the Home Energy Score program shows that Portland homes have plenty of opportunities for improvement. The average Home Energy Score in Portland to-date is 4.6. If these homeowners implemented all the cost-effective improvements recommended in the Home Energy Report, they’d save an average of nearly 20 percent annually on utility bills. An energy efficiency improvement is considered cost-effective if it has a simple payback of 10 years or less.

Homeowners with the lowest Home Energy Scores – a score of 1, 2 or 3 – could save nearly 30 percent on their annual utility bills by implementing the recommended energy efficiency improvements. These lowest scoring homes represent nearly 40 percent of all homes that were scored in Portland.

The most cost-effective ways to save energy and increase comfort vary from home to home, but the most helpful measures help keep heat in during the winter and heat out in the summer. This includes attic and wall insulation and air and duct sealing. Mechanical upgrades for heating, cooling and water heating can also be cost-effective if replaced with more efficient models when the equipment reaches end-of-life.

Northeast Portland homeowner Marcia Norrgard received an initial Home Energy Assessment for her mid-century house and it scored a 1, even though it had a new high-efficiency furnace and new windows. However, the house had little attic or wall insulation and an inefficient water heater.

“I noticed that during the summer, my living room was getting hotter and hotter,” said Norrgard. She prefers a cool living space in the summer and knew there could be value in saving energy in the winter. Norrgard worked with local contractor Kris Grube of Good Energy Retrofit to increase her insulation levels and replace her water heater. These upgrades cost her less than $10,000 and her house now has a Home Energy Score of 7.

Besides benefiting homeowners’ bank accounts, reducing energy use in homes also helps reduce carbon pollution in the atmosphere, a benefit for the entire community.