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Phase III Presents Draft Strategies for Portland's Future

Based on the feedback from thousands of Portlanders during the first two phases of the Portland Plan, Phase III presents integrated strategies for Portland’s future – with a focus on equity. Read more...

Strategies for Portland's FutureBased on the feedback from thousands of Portlanders during the first two phases of the Portland Plan, Phase III presents draft strategies for Portland's future.

  1. Equity
  2. Education
  3. Economic Prosperity & Affordability
  4. Healthy Connected Neighborhoods

Join us at a Portland Plan Fair in March to learn what actions are included in each strategy and share your thoughts as the plan takes shape. Full summaries of the strategies will be available online by March 2, the date of the first fair.

Each integrated strategy is a group of actions that address our most important goals for the community (that is, what Portlanders want to accomplish by the year 2035).

The strategies combine elements from a variety of disciplines, such as community health, transportation, education and others. They all aim to make Portland a thriving and sustainable city — prosperous, healthy and rich in opportunity for all.

The strategies in the Portland Plan will cover a 25-year time span, but they also include short-term actions to jump-start our work as a community in the next five years.

A Focus on Equity

Portlanders have made it clear that a long-term plan for the community must advance equity and reduce significant disparities facing our community in educational, housing and economic opportunities in a meaningful way – through concrete actions and legitimate accountability. But what do we mean by equity?

Whether because of race, ethnicity, income or the neighborhood they live in, many Portlanders increasingly experience challenges meeting their basic needs, succeeding in school and securing living wage employment. Inequities also affect people because of their age, gender, sexual orientation and physical ability. For instance:

  • 45 percent of the city's school age children are students of color, yet the graduation rates for Latino, African-American and Native-American youth in public schools is far below that of white and Asian-American youth.

  • Geographically, nearly a quarter of the city's residents live in East Portland, and per capita incomes there are about 40 percent less that the citywide average. In terms of access to transit and amenities, educational opportunity and public safety, East Portland differs significantly from the rest of the city.

What does an equitable Portland look like?

Phase Three of the Portland Plan presents a framework in which achieving equity is an overarching strategy and an integral part of all the strategies and actions in the Portland Plan — from education, housing and economic prosperity to transportation, sustainability and public health.

Join us at the Portland Plan Fairs in March to learn more about the specific actions in the draft strategies to address these disparities and create a more equitable Portland -- and let us know what you think.

Because as Portland evolves, what will distinguish the city in the future will not just be distinctive neighborhoods and thriving local businesses, it will be its ability to sustain all Portlanders regardless of race, income, sexual orientation, physical ability or age.

Come to a Portland Plan Fair near you!

Portland City Council considers overhaul of tree regulations

February 2 hearing gives Portlanders a chance to comment on new proposal to protect trees

In response to neighborhood concerns about the state of Portland's tree rules and loss of trees to development, the Portland City Council launched the Citywide Tree Project in 2007.

On Wednesday, February 2 at 6 p.m., City Council will hold a public hearing on the Citywide Tree Policy Review and Regulatory Improvement Project (a.k.a. "Citywide Tree Project"). Council will consider the recommendations of the Urban Forestry Commission and Portland Planning Commission (now the Planning and Sustainability Commission), as well as input from Portland residents and community organizations.

Working closely with community stakeholders for more than three years, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) led a multi-bureau effort to review and revamp the existing rules for trees.

Last year, the Portland Planning Commission and Urban Forestry Commission held a public hearing on an initial draft proposal.  The commissions heard broad community support for stronger tree protection and replacement requirements. Developers expressed concern about the potential impact of the rules on project cost and housing affordability. 

The two commissions subsequently worked with City bureaus to further hone and streamline the proposal. As a result, the proposal before the City Council:

  • Consolidates the city's tree rules into a single new code title, which makes them easier to find, understand and administer.
  • Strengthens tree preservation and planting requirements the City applies when new development is proposed.
  • Includes specific exemptions and added flexibility to minimize development costs and make it easier to preserve trees on development sites. 
  • Standardizes and streamlines the existing tree permit system to encourage retention of large healthy trees where practical, and to ensure that larger trees are replaced when removed anywhere in the city.
  • Provides for enhanced customer service through a single point of contact for public inquiries and permit processing, a 24-hour tree hotline and a community tree manual.

"The City estimates that the Tree Project proposal will generate more than 100 acres of future tree canopy per year," states Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, "helping to clean air and water, capture greenhouse gases, reduce energy demand and improve overall quality of life for Portlanders."

"There were certainly challenges with the existing tree code," writes David Nielsen, chief executive officer of the Homebuilders Association of Metro Portland, in a letter to City Council dated Jan. 24, 2011. "One of the goals of this process, as outlined by BPS, was to establish a clear, cohesive, consistent regulatory framework. I believe much progress was made to that end and that our few remaining, but very important, policy and code issues can be addressed to provide a better balance between tree preservation and development needs."

A "natural capital asset," Portland's trees provide benefits worth millions of dollars per year, and their replacement value is roughly $5 billion, according to a recent Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau study. Other studies show that neighborhood trees can increase home resale values, lower crime rates and improve physical and mental health.

In response to the fiscal constraints both the public and private sectors are facing, the Planning and Urban Forestry commissions recommended that the City Council phase the implementation of the proposal to provide time to ramp up, conduct public outreach, train staff, and manage and sequence project costs. 

"Regulations are one important tool, and this is a step in the right direction," says City Forester David McAllister, "but the City also needs to invest in public education, technical assistance, planting and maintenance to sustain the urban forest."

"Given expected population growth," Audubon Society's Conservation Director Bob Sallinger points out, "Portland needs stronger tools to preserve and refresh that canopy through the development process . What's on the books won't cut it."

"Dramatic increases in tree planting efforts over the past decade are a positive step toward increasing Portland's tree canopy," says Scott Fogarty, executive director of Friends of Trees and member of the project stakeholder committee. "But it's not enough. The City needs a strong regulatory framework to preserve and enhance the trees we already have." 

To read the Citywide Tree Project Recommended Draft to City Council, including a new project summary, please go to An updated set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) is also available. If you have trouble accessing the online documents, please request a CD or a set of report documents at the phone number and email address below.

For more information, please call 503.823.7855 or email

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BPS News: New Solarize Guidebook: A tool for local governments and communities to pursue energy independence

Community solar program “how-to” resource now available with help from the City of Portland and Energy Trust of Oregon

For immediate release
9 February 2011

Christine Llobregat
City of Portland
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


New Solarize Guidebook: A tool for local governments and communities to pursue energy independence

Community solar program “how-to” resource now available with help from the City of Portland and Energy Trust of Oregon

Portland, ORE. -- A new guidebook that shares best practices from recent volunteer-driven Solarize projects about volume purchasing of solar energy systems aims to help other communities grow clean energy programs and create family-wage jobs. The Solarize Guidebook, developed for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the City of Portland, is now available at:

Four Solarize Portland projects, plus efforts in Pendleton, Salem and other cities, have been completed since 2009. During each project, neighbors learn together the ins and outs of going solar - from how the technology works and finding a contractor to learning about available financing options such as Energy Trust of Oregon cash incentives and state and federal tax credits.

The guidebook features key elements of the Solarize campaigns in Portland, and offers several program variations from projects beyond Portland. The guidebook provides lessons, considerations, and step-by-step plans for project organizers who are looking to replicate a collective purchasing model.  

"From green building to urban farming, Portland is proving to be a living laboratory for urban sustainability in America," said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. "With the new first-of-its-kind Solarize guidebook, Portlanders are showing once again their enthusiasm for making sustainability easier, more convenient and more affordable. I hope and am confident that the lessons learned here in Portland will benefit neighborhoods and cities around the nation."

The City of Portland launched its first solar program in 2006 with the help of an award from the DOE Solar America Cities program. This grant provided funding for the creation of The Solarize Guidebook as part of the larger DOE effort to accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies for a cleaner and more secure energy future.

"We are delighted to share the practical tools from the Solarize campaigns with local governments and community organizers," said Susan Anderson, director of the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. "The City of Portland, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar America Cities program, is intent on continuing to develop creative approaches to increase market demand for solar. In addition, our bureau continues to help connect Portland's businesses and homeowners to resources and local solar contractors outside of the Solarize effort." 

About Solar America Cities 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has designated 25 major U.S. cities as Solar America Cities committed to accelerating the adoption of solar energy technologies. Best practices and lessons learned from the Solar America Cities are shared across the United States to help other communities replicate successes.  Visit Solar America Cities online at 

About National Renewable Energy Lab

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL's mission and strategy are focused on advancing the U.S. Department of Energy's and our nation's energy goals. The laboratory's scientists and researchers support critical market objectives to accelerate research from scientific innovations to market-viable alternative energy solutions. Learn more about NREL at

About Energy Trust of Oregon

Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and tapping renewable resources. Our services, cash incentives and energy solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save nearly $600 million on energy bills. Our work helps keep energy costs as low as possible, creates jobs and builds a sustainable energy future. Learn more at or call 1-866-368-7878.

About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

To create and enhance a vibrant city, BPS combines the disciplines of planning and sustainability to advance Portland’s diverse and distinct neighborhoods, promote a prosperous and low-carbon economy, and help ensure that people and the natural environment are healthy and integrated into the cityscape. BPS provides a forum for community engagement and education, and is a catalyst for action. With a city full of partners, BPS develops creative and practical solutions on issues as far ranging as comprehensive, neighborhood and environmental planning, urban design, waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency and solar technologies. This innovative, interdisciplinary approach strengthens Portland’s position as an international model of sustainable development practices and commerce.


Portland Plan Fairs start Wednesday, March 2

Phase III of the Portland Plan kicks off with the roll out of three integrated strategies and an Equity Initiative for Portland's future

Starting March 2, Portlanders have an opportunity to shape the City's strategies for the future at four upcoming Portland Plan Fairs. These fairs will offer residents a range of experiences and opportunities to learn about and comment on three integrated strategies and an Equity Initiative to ensure that Portland is a thriving and sustainable city, with health and opportunity for all. 

Portlanders say that equity, living wage jobs, student success and a healthy environment are their top concerns. In response to this community input, the Portland Plan combines these priorities with extensive research and national best practices to develop an overarching Equity Initiative and three draft strategies for Portland's future:

1. Education
2. Economic Prosperity and Affordability
3. Healthy Connected Neighborhoods

In addition to breakout discussions for each one, the fairs will feature local food, music, booths, presentations, exotic animals (at the Zoo) and community exhibitors. Mayor Sam Adams will be talking with community members and free childcare will be provided at all locations.

At the first fair on Wednesday evening in Southeast Portland, artists from Colored Pencils Art and Culture will be performing throughout the evening, including local favorites Parfait Bassale, a well-known singer and songwriter from Benin (West Africa); singer/songwriter Randa Benaziz from Morocco; Vietnamese Group Singers Vu Tran, Khanh Nguyen and Thai Bui; story tellers from Nepal Anouksha Garner and Kunga Lama; and poet Ronault "Polo" Catalani. We hope you'll bring your family and friends to one or more of the fairs below.

It's your future. It's our city. Let's make this plan together.


The Portland Plan Fairs


Wednesday, March 2, 6:30 - 9 p.m.

Hosford Middle School, 2303 SE 28th Place

TriMet #4, #10


Sunday, March 6, 12:30 - 3 p.m.

Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road

TriMet #63, MAX Red + Blue


Thursday, March 10, 6:30 - 9 p.m.

De La Salle North Catholic High School

7528 N Fenwick Avenue

TriMet #4, #6, #75; MAX Yellow

En Espanol, tambien!


Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)

10301 NE Glisan Street

TriMet #15, #19; MAX Green + Blue

Community public engagement is especially critical at this point in the Portland Plan process. After the fairs and follow-up outreach efforts, the draft strategies will be revised based on input from the community, Portland Plan partners and national experts. These revised strategies will be the core of the City's strategic plan, which will be available for comment and review this summer and will be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission this fall.

For more information, please call 503-823-2041.

The Portland Plan team will make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. Please notify us no fewer than five (5) business days prior to the event by phone 503-823-7700, by the TTY line at 503-823-6868 or by the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.


Portland Plan Fairs open to a full house at Hosford Middle School

More than 150 Portlanders come by to give their feedback on strategies for Portland's future

Pedal KettleMusic, booths, food, raffle prizes, popcorn... and, of course, lively discussions with friends and neighbors. That's a recipe for public engagement that's fun. Hosford Middle School in Southeast Portland was the setting for some "good cookin'" last night, when more than 150 people showed up to see the draft Portland Plan strategies for Education, Economic Prosperity and Affordabilty, Healthy Connected Neighborhoods and an overarching Equity Initiative (see the slide show below).

Next Fair at the Zoo on Sunday, March 6

The next Portland Plan Fair will be at the Oregon Zoo on Sunday, March 6 from 12:30-3PM. Bring the kids and let them roam or take advantage of the free childcare (please call 503-823-2041 for reservations). Don't miss the exotic animals (including an armadillo, python and owl), when they tour the fair between 1-1:30PM.

The fair will also include Peddle Kettle, performances by Colored Pencils Art and Culture artists, community booths, raffle prizes (including free Zoo tickets) and more lively discussions with your fellow Portlanders.

Breakout Session Schedule
Breakout SessionS Time

Equity Principle and Initiative

Small group activity, Presentation, Group Discussion

Session A: 1:05PM - 1:50PM

Session B: 2:15PM - 3:00PM

Economic Prosperity and Affordability Strategy

Presentation and facilitated discussion

1:05PM - 1:50PM

Education Strategy

Presentation and facilitated discussion

2:15PM - 3:00PM

Healthy Connected Neighborhoods Strategy

Open House: Orientation Station, map your hubs and greenways exercise, community collage

Come and join anytime after 1PM.

Brief presentations at 1:05PM and 2:15PM

All breakout sessions will be held in the partitioned area to the south of the fair.

Learn more about the strategies and initiative and then take the surveys and tell us what you think.

The Portland Plan. It's your city. It's our future. Let's make this plan together.

Photos from the fair on Flickr.