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PSC Spotlight: Maggie Tallmadge

The Planning and Sustainability Commission's (PSC) Youth member reflects on her 3 years of civic service as she prepares to pass the baton to the next PSC Youth Commissioner.

PSC Youth Commissioner Maggie Tallmadge

Since taking a seat at the table of one of the City’s most prominent commissions, Maggie Tallmadge has infused a fresh, youthful perspective on city-wide revitalization that centers equity, pushes the boundaries of urban planning and envisions a futuristic Portland that is accessible to everyone. 

The Youth Commissioner shares her thoughts on the City’s top priorities and why advancing equity is more important than ever.

What are Portland’s biggest challenges right now?

A lack of affordable housing, displacement and gentrification. For every policy or project we act on, equity should be at the center of our priorities and planning. We should be asking ourselves: will this meet the needs of our most vulnerable communities? Does it provide tangible benefits for low-income households and communities of color? If our planning exercises and decision-making doesn’t start with addressing those questions first, then how we can expect to produce better outcomes?

What led you to civic service?

I started attending City Council meetings to testify on issues that are important to me. I wanted to know how policies were effecting the communities I advocate for. I wanted our voices and perspectives heard. Those efforts helped me make connections and build a network. I later applied to serve on the PSC because it became clear that I needed to be involved in exploring how to improve Portland’s urban form while addressing barriers like the housing crisis, gentrification, and economic and racial disparities often experienced by communities of color.

Did you face any obstacles as a youth member of the PSC?

Yes – plenty! As a young person, I have pretty strong convictions about land use, inequalities and restorative justice. Serving on the PSC has helped me form a more holistic perspective and understand how policies interact and inform each other. Being the youngest person on the PSC has also helped me test my own boundaries of when it was best to listen and rely on my elders and experts in the room, or when it was appropriate to push back on a policy or proposal that didn’t have equity at the forefront. It’s been a great learning experience.

Why do you feel it is important for younger generations to be involved in local decision-making?

We have the most energy right now. For me, it has opened so many doors and has helped me understand and value different perspectives. It’s important for my peers to realize that we are bearing the brunt of historical and current planning policies, and the benefits for our generation have been slim. We need to be involved in planning for our future – as cliché as that sounds.

You have helped shape signature planning packages like the 2035 Comprehensive Plan that will greatly define the city’s future. 20 years from now, when that plan is actualized, how do you envision Portland?

Given we were developing a 20-year plan to facilitate smart growth for the city – I’d say our timeline was too fast and we weren’t able to tackle everything on the PSC’s wish list. It’s a really solid plan, but I wonder how different the demographics and environment will be in 20 years. I would have loved to spend more time addressing how the 2035 Comprehensive Plan should include a strategy for wealth building for low-income communities. Or how restorative justice could be used to inform how we implement and achieve our future land use goals.   

If you had one piece of advice for young people interested in civic service, what would it be?

Find your interest or niche and seek out connections. Build a network of co-workers, colleagues, mentors, and field experts that are committed to supporting your contributions to civic service. Young voices need greater support from leaders who value our viewpoints, and that usually starts with offering a seat at the table and showing us how public policy really works.

Maggie graduated from Wesley College in 2012 with degrees in Peace and Justice Studies and Women and Gender Studies with a concentration in Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice. She’s currently the Environmental Justice Manager with the Coalition of Communities of Color and plans to continue focusing her advocacy work on anti-displacement, affordable housing, and anti-gentrification.

 

Green Team launches citywide communications with a message from Mayor Wheeler

City employees demonstrating green practices

Happy Earth Day to the 6,000+ City Employees that make this City work!

Running an efficient city is our job and we all do it well. Efficiency is determined by many factors – among them are major capital investments, like solar energy and LED streetlights, to the day-to-day choices we make to save time, money and resources.

Over the past 20 years the City of Portland has become an international leader in sustainability. And the projects that got us here have saved money to the tune of $61 million dollars in gas and electricity bills. Recently Portland was recognized as the nation’s first Salmon-Safe City and awarded by C40 for the Best Climate Action Plan in the World. This year, City operations are powered by 100 percent renewable energy!

It’s critical that we walk our talk here at the City. Did you know that the City and County recently committed to reaching 100 percent renewable energy for the entire community by 2050? That means in three decades every home, school, hospital, vehicle and business will be carbon-free.

Remember: Little things add up

From turning off your computer at night to using a refillable water bottle, your everyday choices make a difference. Every day, each of you can make small changes that really add up.

Your colleagues in the Citywide Green Team want to share new ideas (and some classics) for running a healthier, more efficient and sustainable workplace. Keep an eye out for ideas and reminders for everyday opportunities to make city operations more efficient. We’ll also feature special projects, major accomplishments and a little friendly competition to keep you on your toes.

Keep it going

Remember that great efficiency ideas come from you. Look around your workplace and find ways to save energy, water and recycle.

Questions?

Program staff are ready to answer questions and provide resources. Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/cityworksgreen or email greenteam@portlandoregon.gov.

Portland Police Bureau flips the switch to begin solar production at North Precinct

The recently installed rooftop solar array consists of 195 panels and is expected to reduce the Police precinct’s electricity costs by 6 percent annually.

Solar project at North Precinct

On March 27th, 2017 Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct station “flipped the switch” to officially begin renewable energy production at the recently completed rooftop solar array. The system, consisting of 195 individual solar panels, is expected to produce about 70,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. That translates into an estimated 6 percent reduction of purchased power, saving the police precinct approximately $6,650 per year on electricity costs.

The North Precinct site, located at 449 N.E Emerson was chosen because of its prominence in the neighborhood and its suitability as a solar system host. The building has excellent access to the sun, a brand new roof and approval from Police Bureau leadership and the facility managers. The project received strong support from local businesses, schools and the neighboring community.

One hundred percent of the renewable electricity produced will be used by the North Police Precinct. Savings from the onsite energy production will flow through the operating budget of the Portland Police Bureau, the City’s General Fund and ultimately shared with taxpayers. This project was made possible with $175,151 in funding support from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program customers. Energy Trust of Oregon also provided an incentive of $50,168. 

What’s the Green Loop?

Find out at the upcoming Design Week.

As Design Week PDX (DWP) gets ready to kick off this weekend, we’re busy prepping all the goodies for our Green Loop displays, interactive exhibits and discussions. This concept for a six-mile linear park around Portland’s urban core is the star attraction of DWP, starting with the opening night party on Saturday evening.

The loop is the brainchild of our Urban Design Studio and part of the Central City 2035 plan (a “Big Idea”). Last year, the University of Oregon/Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape held a design competition called Loop PDX, which invited designers to flesh out the circular open space concept. Untitled Studios, a group of young designers, won the $20,000 prize and has spent the past year refining and expanding the concept based on a lot of public outreach.

They will be sharing their latest work at DWP Headquarters at The Redd all next week.

See what others are saying about it:

KATU’s Afternoon Live and BPS show you how to include the food for Earth Day

Make Earth Day every day by collecting kitchen food scraps for your green roll cart

When you keep food scraps out of the landfill, you celebrate Earth Day every day of the year!

Alicia Polacok from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability shares why, how and when to collect your kitchen food scraps for curbside composting (for Portland residents who live in a single-family home or smallplex of 2-4 units).

Watch the video from KATU Afternoon Live and learn some new tips!

Video of Alicia Polacok at KATU

Want to see more videos about your green Portland Composts! roll cart?
Check them out online at www.portlandcomposts.com.