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City Council holds public hearing on River Plan / North Reach. Hearing to be continued on March 24 at 2 pm.

BPS E-News Issue 4

UPDATE 23 February 2010: (DATE CHANGE)  The River Plan hearing will be continued on Thursday, April 1st at 2 pm.  The purpose of the change is to avoid conflicts with spring break.

The City Council held a public hearing on the River Plan / North Reach Recommended Draft this week. This plan attempts to balance the needs of business, the environment, neighborhoods and recreational users of the Willamette River and guide the development and protection of the river for the next 20 to 30 years. The Council heard testimony from people representing all of these perspectives.

The draft is a culmination of more than three years of staff work, multiple stakeholder meetings and 11 presentations to Planning Commission, which voted to support the River Plan/North Reach Recommended Draft back in June 2009. Planning Commission asked the City to continue working on several outstanding issues prior to taking the plan to City Council. From August 2009 to January 2010, Mayor Adams convened a number of meetings among representatives of the Working Waterfront Coalition and environmental organizations to try to work out some of the remaining differences.

“The City’s goal is to clean up brownfields, reinvest in the working harbor, bring new green jobs to Portland and restore degraded habitat,” stated Mayor Adams. “These goals are not (and cannot be) mutually exclusive. The River Plan represents an important step toward integrating these objectives.” The results of those meetings and other work resulted in a substantial amendment package referred to as the Mayor's Proposed Amendments.

The next hearing will be held on Wednesday, March 24, 2010, at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, in Council Chambers.

Written testimony on the document and the Mayor’s proposed amendments must be received by the hearing date. Please submit written testimony to:
Council Clerk
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 140
Portland, OR 97204
Fax: (503) 823-4571
Email: kmoore-love@ci.portland.or.us

Copies of the Draft Plan are available at no charge at the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 1900 SW 4th Avenue, 7th Floor. The documents can also be viewed at the River Plan Web site on the Recommended Draft Web page at http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=42540.

For more assistance or additional information, please contact the River Team at 503-823-2281.

Portland Plan Update: 8,000 surveys and counting

BPS E-News Issue 4

Jobs, education and walkability are the top priorities identified by Portland Plan workshop participants and respondents to the paper and online surveys. From November to February, we received 8,000 surveys — 3,000 online and 5,000 through the mail. We are still accepting survey responses through March 31, and copies are available at neighborhood association offices as well as online at www.pdxplan.com.

Nearly 1,000 participants attended the seven workshops held in November and December, and BPS staff provided presentations about the Portland Plan to 40 additional community groups and organizations in the past few months. These smaller group presentations are part of our ongoing outreach efforts to include underrepresented groups and others who typically don’t show up to big public workshops. BPS is working with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the Diversity and Civic Leadership program and Portland’s neighborhood coalitions. In addition, the Portland Plan Community Involvement Committee is helping us build stronger connections with the business community and develop a more robust outreach program with the schools.

Now that the Phase 1 workshops have wrapped up, the bureau is gathering, sorting and analyzing the feedback we received from the workshops, group discussions and surveys. We’re comparing that information with what we learned from visionPDX and earlier outreach efforts for the Portland Plan, as well as the findings from the background reports, to provide the starting material for Phase II workshops .

So what’s next?
Phase II workshops will begin in late April and extend into May (check the Web site for dates, times and locations soon). During this next phase, we’ll look to set a course for Portland’s future by focusing on objectives for each of the nine action areas and establishing targets to achieve our goals. We’ll also ask Portlanders to weigh in on the barriers to success and drivers (or strategies) that will help us achieve our objectives.

Stay tuned for final survey results, and get ready as we tee up for Phase II. Your voice counts.

Note

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Portland Plan background reports as part of the state periodic review process. The meeting is scheduled for March 3, 1:15 p.m. to 3 p.m., 1900 SW 4th Ave., Room 2500A. Portlanders are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to present public testimony before the Commission on information related to the background reports. This testimony becomes part of the public record.

From our director, Susan Anderson

BPS E-News Issue 4

If you didn’t catch the Mayor’s State of the City speech last week, I encourage you to watch it or read the transcript here.

Mayor Adams covered a wide range of issues facing Portland residents, such as education, job creation and sustainability. He provided highlights of the many partnerships and creative efforts developed among Portland residents, businesses and City bureaus.  BPS is working with Portlanders to find innovative solutions to these many economic, environmental and social challenges.

Recent efforts have shown the strength of our many partnerships:

•    More than 8,000 people participating in the development of the Portland Plan.
•    Hundreds of solar systems installed on homes and at businesses.
•    The adoption of the most aggressive local Climate Action Plan in the nation.
•    The expansion of the Clean Energy Works Portland loan program and community workforce agreement.
•    A new invasive plant policy to help reduce the spread of invasive plant species.
•    The integration of the Economic Development strategy, Climate Action Plan, Portland Plan and neighborhood planning efforts.
•    And soon, the adoption of the River Plan / North Reach and launch of weekly curbside food scrap collection.

The innovative spirit is alive at BPS! Projects like these give us confidence that 2010 will be an exciting and productive year for our bureau.


SOLARIZE NE offers affordable solar energy options to NE Portland neighbors

BPS E-News Issue 4

Solarize Northeast, a volunteer-driven, community-based volume purchasing project for solar electric panels operated by Portland's Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN), expects to create more than 20 new green jobs in the Portland area in the coming months. Supported by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Energy Trust of Oregon, the project is designed to simplify the process of going solar as well as bring significant cost reductions through volume purchasing.

Solarize Northeast will make it easy for Northeast Portland neighbors to install solar panels by hosting workshops that cover how much solar to purchase, what to budget and how to get started. Enrollment for the group purchase program is now open at http://solarize.necoalition.org and closes April 15.

"The Solarize Portland effort is a great example of how neighborhoods can create long-term energy savings that will help Portland reach our carbon reduction goals," said Mayor Sam Adams. "As this project proves, increasing the demand for solar electric panel installations will benefit our community with additional new jobs, too."
 
Solarize Northeast was initiated by local neighborhood leaders who wanted to increase the amount of renewable energy generated in NE Portland by working together as a community. The program is structured so that the price of solar panel installation goes down for everybody as more neighbors join the effort. Group purchasing creates a 15-25 percent savings below current prices. This group discount, in addition to current available tax credits and cash incentives, gives Solarize Northeast participants a significant cost savings.
 
"What is inspiring are the many different and unique ways in which neighbors are coming together to help each other in these times," says Paige Coleman, NECN Executive Director.
 
Through a competitive bidding process, NECN selected SolarCity to implement the group purchase program and install the solar electric systems. SolarCity has been in business in Oregon since 2008 with offices based in NE Portland.
 
"SolarCity is looking forward to rapidly growing to meet the increased demand of renewable energy for Oregonians, with a full-service offering of solar financing, design, installation and monitoring," said Rob LaVigne, Solar City's Regional Director.
 
How it works
The Solarize Northeast program aims to install solar on 150+ homes, for over 300 kilowatts of new solar electric capacity by the end of the summer. In addition, the program hopes to increase the energy efficiency of more than 100 area homes by connecting residents to local weatherization programs. Interested homeowners can choose to go solar, participate in weatherization upgrades, or both by following these steps:
    
1. Join online at http://solarize.necoalition.org by April 15.
2. Choose to go solar, weatherize your home, or both.
3. Attend an upcoming workshop to learn more.
 
A project contractor performs a solar assessment at each home to determine the correct size and design of the solar electric system. Installations will take place between April 15 through August 30.
 
Solarize NE builds upon the first Solarize project in SE Portland
Originally created by SE Uplift and a neighborhood leader in the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association, the first iteration of the Solarize Portland project quickly expanded to become a partnership between several SE Portland neighborhoods and the SE Uplift Neighborhood Sustainability Program. The first Solarize Portland project (launched June 6, 2009, and closed Sept. 15, 2009) focused on homes in Southeast Portland. However, the interest and excitement around using group purchasing to bring down the costs and logistical hurdles of going solar caught on city-wide. Southwest Neighborhoods Inc., is currently organizing to roll out the next volume purchase for solar electric panels this spring.
 
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Energy Trust of Oregon are working together to support the launch of Solarize NE. Both organizations provide technical and strategic program assistance to neighborhood associations and groups interested in operating Solarize Portland in all areas of the city.
 
For more information about the Solarize Northeast program, please visit: http://solarize.necoalition.org

Rose Quarter Development project presents ideas for Memorial Coliseum

BPS E-News Issue 4

On the rainy evening of January 26, Memorial Coliseum’s doors were opened wide for a special occasion: the unveiling of an assortment of new ideas for the renovation or adaptive reuse of the Coliseum.  

People roamed the Coliseum concourse checking out tables displaying various ways in which community members had answered the City’s call for ideas about how to enliven this important site in the heart of the city. Suggestions ran the gamut from a roller coaster, to a natural history museum, to several different versions of how to mix entertainment, recreation and other community uses. All the presentations as well as video of the evening are available at www.rosequarterdevelopment.org.

The project is being managed by the Portland Development Commission, working closely with the Mayor’s office and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Previous planning documents for the Rose Quarter are the foundation for the project’s overall goal of creating “24-7” activity in the area and integrating the event facilities into the nearby neighborhoods.

The night’s festive atmosphere was a reminder of how active the building could be. The city skyline sparkled outside the immense glass “curtain wall” of the modernist 1960 building, which was recently designated a national historic landmark.  A live jazz band, food and drink added to the buzz of energy in the building. Short presentations from a number of the proposers took place later in the seating bowl of the Coliseum – the Winter Hawks’ ice rink gleaming all the while behind the PowerPoint screen. Presenters ranged from individuals to groups of activists, real estate developers, architects, and even the Winter Hawks themselves.  

Next steps are to have the 32-member Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) decide which teams will be invited to submit further details of their proposals. Among other criteria, financial viability is a key factor, and the detailed information will be requested in the next phase. Since the night of presentations at Memorial Colisuem, the SAC has selected seven proposals for further consideration. They will narrow these to a “short list” of proposals to be recommended to City Council in spring of 2010.

In the meantime, visit www.rosequarterdevelopment.org to view the proposals and project schedule and to submit your own comments. The proposers who will be invited to submit further details may combine elements and members from more than one team, as ideas progress and community interests become clear. The bi-weekly SAC meetings are open to the public and are also available for viewing on the Web site.

The project schedule calls for the finalist to be selected by City Council in early summer 2010. Further development of the finalist proposal will be incorporated into upcoming Central City planning efforts, which also include examination of the I-5/Broadway-Weidler freeway interchange.