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Connecting everyone to the Portland Plan

BPS E-news Issue 6

To imagine how Portland will evolve in 25 years, all one has to do is look at the student bodies of our schools: 46 percent of K-12 students in Multnomah County are people of color. Furthermore, 14 percent of Portlanders are immigrants from other countries. That means by 2035—the horizon of the Portland Plan—the demographic make-up of the City will be very different than it is today.

Population shifts are a given in any city over time, and Portland is following a national trend. To take advantage of this potential strength, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is partnering with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s (ONI) Diversity and Civic Leadership (DCL) Program to engage diverse communities in the shaping of the Portland Plan in culturally appropriate, relevant and meaningful ways.  This partnership is also designed to build long-term relationships between the bureau and DCL organizations. Through capacity-building grants from the bureau, each partner organization will develop approaches that are best matched to the needs and interests of their particular communities and to the strengths and missions of each organization.  

The following organizations are participating:

* Latino Network cultivates the Latino community to strengthen community voice and support relationships between community members and service organizations.

* Center for Intercultural Organizing builds a multicultural, multiracial movement for immigrant and refugee rights.

* Urban League of Portland helps empower African Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment and economic security through a combination of direct services, outreach and advocacy.

* Native American Youth and Family Center works to enrich the lives of Native American youth and families through education, community involvement and culturally specific programming.

* Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization provides employment, family, senior, training, health, youth and community development services for globally diverse immigrants and refugees who settle in Portland.

Since the visionPDX process began in 2005, the bureau has been hearing from Portlanders about the importance of listening to the entire community — not just the people coming to workshops and other meetings. Because DCL works to improve the neighborhood system by fully engaging residents of Portland from all cultural, social and economic walks of life, a partnership with them was key.

“I am excited to see the Portland Plan team working hard to include the voices of those who historically have not been included through addressing equity in the Portland Plan,” said Jeri Williams, DCL program manager at ONI. “I was thrilled to see the mayor’s commitment to equity in this process. I think he is dedicated to hearing from all Portlanders.”

The Portland Plan will be the city’s roadmap for the future, guiding our direction as the city grows and changes. In response to public comments, the staff is placing a high emphasis on the issue of equity for the Portland Plan, and Mayor Adams has tasked Commissioner Amanda Fritz to ensure the Portland Plan team is fully engaging with diverse communities within the city.

Many Portlanders are needed throughout the process of drafting, refining and implementing the Portland Plan, and these community groups will help ensure that Portlanders of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds will have a hand in the creation of the plan.

“Intentional and targeted outreach to these communities through the organizations that have existing relationships to them is key to collecting valuable input and feedback,” said Williams.

For more information about the Portland Plan, visit www.pdxplan.com.  

Planning and Sustainability Commission: A New Way to Guide Our Work

The City of Portland has proposed a new Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) as a means to ensure sustainability principles and practices are incorporated into policy, planning and development decisions. The PSC will build on the work of the Portland Planning Commission and the Sustainable Development Commission.

Today, Portland may lead the nation in creative planning and sustainability programs and projects, but we know there is much work to be done to keep our leadership position. In response, a year-and-a-half ago, City Council adopted a new approach, bringing together the Bureau

of Planning and the Office of Sustainable Development, creating the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. This bureau makes Portland distinct from other cities and helps ensure that sustainability is an integral part of all long-range planning and management of the City.

Similar innovations and synergies can be expected from creating the PSC.By bringing the two commissions together, Portland continues to take an integrated approach to looking at long-range planning through a sustainability-focused lens. In addition to environmental, economic and community sustainability, the PSC will ensure equity awareness is incorporated into planning decisions as well.

In the near-term, the Planning and Sustainability Commission will be tasked with guiding the development and future implementation of the Portland Plan, the City’s 25-year strategic plan, as well as monitoring the implementation of Portland’s Climate Action Plan that Council adopted in 2009.

The new Commission will have 11 members. Many of those positions will likely be filled by existing Planning Commission and Sustainable Development Commission members. Individuals interested in applying for one of the remaining seats will be able to do so beginning on June 21.

Interested applicants should visit  the Office of Neighborhood Involvement website for more details and to fill out an application form.

Portlanders help refine proposed new tree rules

BPS E-news Issue 6

On March 23, 2010, the Planning Commission and Urban Forestry Commission heard public testimony on the Citywide Tree Policy Review and Regulatory Improvement Project (Citywide Tree Project) draft proposal (www.portlandonline.com/bps/treeproject). The Planning Commission closed its public hearing on June 8, 2010.  The Urban Forestry Commission will discuss the project and take public comment at least through June 17, 2010.

The two commissions have received testimony from Portland neighborhood associations, developers, professional arborists and architects, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and watershed councils, environmental organizations and many individuals.

Comments on the Citywide Tree Project proposal include a variety of opinions. Many people have expressed support for the new tree code as well as stronger rules to improve tree preservation and tree planting.

Portlanders have emphasized the importance of large trees and tree groves to preserving neighborhood character and other benefits, such as improving air quality, stormwater management, wildlife habitat and property value. Residents also support proposed customer service improvements, such as a Community Tree Manual, a 24-hour “tree hotline” and a single point of contact for questions about City tree rules and programs.

The development community has expressed concerns about how the project proposal could affect development costs and City goals for urban density and affordable housing. There is also general agreement that the proposed regulations need to be simplified. Staff has responded by proposing revisions to simplify the rules, add flexibility and reduce costs.

The purpose of the Citywide Tree Project is to create a clear, consistent, cohesive regulatory framework for trees, and to enhance Portland’s urban forest across the entire city. The proposal would update the City’s tree rules significantly and consolidate existing rules into a new tree code. A key element would establish new rules for development projects to encourage tree preservation and increase replanting requirements. Proposed flexible development standards would make it easier to keep existing trees on development sites. The proposal would also standardize the City’s tree removal permit system, removing the existing exemption for trees on single-family lots.

Since the public hearings began, the Planning Commission and Urban Forestry Commission have directed staff to make a number of changes to the project proposal. Most of the changes would simplify the project proposal and reduce public and private costs. The Urban Forestry Commission will be discussing the Citywide Tree Project on June 17, 7:30 a.m. in City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Lovejoy Room, The public may also comment at that time.

To comment on the Citywide Tree Policy Review and Regulatory Improvement Project draft proposal online or by mail, please visit www.portlandonline.com/bps/treeproject.

Affordable Green Housing Makes Sense

BPS E-news Issue 6

Portland's green building movement doesn't just apply to people with big bank accounts. Fortunately, Portland has many community development corporations and housing developers committed to providing healthy and efficient housing options to people with different income levels.

Green affordable housing comes in all shapes and sizes. You can rent an apartment or purchase a home at below market rates. Most include green measures that save energy and water, improve indoor air quality and manage stormwater on-site. As a result, green affordable housing is healthier and more efficient, leading to savings for the occupant every month. In addition, affordable housing is often located close to transit lines and bike paths, further reducing the need to own a car and cost for associated maintenance and fuel.  

Portland’s many affordable green housing projects include the Sitka (www.thesitka.com) in Northwest Portland, which features low-energy traction elevators, efficient lighting, Energy Star appliances, more insulation than code requires and environmentally friendly materials. Rent ranges from $400 to $1,600, with income limits applying to most apartments.

Another project is Host Community Development's Helensview (www.hostdevelopment.com). Certified as one of the nation's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) neighborhoods by the U.S. Green Building Council, it features natural gas fireplaces as the main heating source, Energy Star appliances, heat recovery ventilators, 25-percent recycled fiberglass insulation and low-VOC paint.

When searching for your next apartment or home, look for third-party certifications that ensure you are getting the most efficient and healthy home on the market. Common certifications include LEED, Earth Advantage and Energy Star. Also ask about how much your monthly energy and water bills will be to factor that in your budget. Finally, consider where the property is located. Is it close to where you work and can you potentially walk or bike to a food store and other necessities?

To find affordable green housing options in Portland, contact the Community Development Network (www.cdnportland.org) or Southeast Uplift (www.southeastuplift.org) for more information.

To learn more about third-party certification, visit the following websites:
•    USGBC.ORG (www.usgbc.org)
•    Earthadvantage.org (www.earthadvantage.org)
•    EnergyStar.org (www.energystar.gov)

If you have any questions about green building or how to find green affordable housing, please call our regional hotline, 503-823-5431 or visit www.buildgreen411.com.

West Hayden Island open house to share results of environmental and economic studies

BPS E-news Issue 6

What’s 800 acres and adjacent to a railroad line? One of the region’s largest undeveloped tracks of land, West Hayden Island (WHI) is located west of the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad tracks running north/south on Hayden Island. WHI lies within the Urban Growth Boundary but is currently outside of the city limits. Metro, the regional planning agency, has designated this land as having both industrial and environmental significance, and it is up to the City of Portland to determine whether future marine industrial uses can co-exist with the natural resources.

To help make this initial decision, the City created a Community Working Group (CWG) is comprised of representatives from environmental organizations, local businesses, community neighborhood groups and government representatives. The City also contracted with ENTRIX, a consulting firm, to provide economic and environmental foundation studies to research the current conditions, functions and future opportunities of the island. These studies have been completed, and the

CWG will be conducting workshops on June 15 and, if necessary, June 22 to analyze the data and advise staff on a proposed direction to City Council in July. The public will have an opportunity to observe and comment at the June 15 workshop. For more information about and locations for the workshops, please visit the WHI website at www.portlandonline.com/bps/whi.

WHI Open House
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff will hold an open house on June 30 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Jantzen Beach Center Park Room to share the findings of the economic and environmental studies with the public. For details, please contact one of the project members listed below/at right, left or visit the website.

City Council Presentation
The CWG and staff will present their findings to City Council on July 14 at 2 p.m., and the public is welcome to comment at this presentation. After consideration, the City Council will decide how to continue the planning process on West Hayden Island; whether to preserve the island as a natural resource or to develop it for marine industrial purposes — or both.

For more information on this project, please contact:
Rachael Hoy                    
503-823-9715                    
Rachael.Hoy@portlandoregon.gov

or

Phil Nameny
503-823-7709
Phil.Nameny@portlandoregon.gov

Or visit www.portlandonline.com/bps/whi

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