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Be Resourceful team at OMSI’s Celebrate Sustainably event on Nov. 3

BPS E-News, October 2013

Interested in taking new approaches to this holiday season? Join local community partners and volunteers for the Be Resourceful program this weekend at OMSI’s Celebrate Sustainably on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. An interactive, family-friendly event, visit OMSI from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and learn how to save money and reduce your carbon footprint during the holiday season.

Look for our Be Resourceful team, who will share holiday information and resources. Learn about thoughtful consumption through creativity, local options and gifts of experience. OMSI invited BPS to partner on the event.

At Celebrate Sustainably, look for a diverse collection of daytime activities as well as entertaining stage demonstrations:

  • Ornament Making with Chocolate Craft Studio: Make your own delicious, delightful chocolate ornament.
  • Greenery Recycling with City of Portland: Discover options for recycling your holiday tree and wreaths with the City of Portland.
  • DIY Bookmarks: Make your own bookmarks using materials you can find at home.
  • Holiday Wreaths: Create a wreath using natural materials from your own backyard.
  • Learn to Crochet using Plastic Bags: Beginner basics including hooks, yarn and stitches.
  • Polymer Clay Decoration: Use polymer clay to decorate an old jar and find a new use for it.
  • Popsicle Stick Trees: Use popsicle sticks and other recycled materials to make cute trees.
  • Recycled Fashion: Recycle your old t-shirts into fashionable bracelets, use old puzzle pieces to make friendships necklaces and make earrings with old film strips.
  • Salt Scrub as a Gift: A salt scrub makes your skin feel nice, but they can be expensive. Learn an easy way to make a salt scrub at home with just a few household products.
  • Sewing 101: Try your hand at sewing with simple projects using repurposed fabric. Learn how to use a sewing machine and select the right needle and thread.
  • Upcycled Ornaments: Take old bottle caps and turn them into snowmen or reuse your old paint swatches and make them into tree ornaments.
  • Upcycled Toys: Make a new toy out of recycled materials.

 

For more information, visit OMSI’s web page.

From BPS Director Susan Anderson: Tell Us What You Like (and Don’t Like) from the Comfort of Your Own Home!

BPS E-News, October 2013

Local governments have always struggled to convince people to come to a town meeting — and especially night meetings in the rain! 

In Portland, while we have a culture of vibrant civic engagement, it’s still hard to convince people to leave their home and show up for a public discussion. In response, we have created a new, technically-responsive and fun community engagement tool.

The new tool is the online Map App. It is one of the first planning tools of its kind in the nation. This interactive map was created entirely in-house by our geographic information system (GIS) team. As BPS staff share this dynamic and engaging web-based mapping platform with the community, I am happy to see the level of discussion and the new ideas that are being proposed.

Four years ago, the newly formed Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) embarked on a strategic planning process, including a goal to find new ways to engage and inspire the community. The Map App is one way we are delivering on that goal and walking our talk.

The interactive series of maps show the geography and location of various policy proposals. Visitors to the Map App can view a variety of maps, overlay information layers, see areas of concern or change, make comments and view comments from others.

With our vision for a prosperous, healthy and equitable city, and our in-house expertise, BPS has created an opportunity within the Comprehensive Plan Update process for our work to be more accessible and relevant to all members of the community.  For example, in mid-October we brought together about 50 members from the Comprehensive Plan Policy Expert Groups (PEGs) to discuss issues that overlap in order to align potential solutions. For example, they could discuss such integrated trends and issues as the overlap among: (1) park development, transportation needs, and income, or (2) housing projections, population growth and transit.

The Map App can be used in group settings, or from the comfort of your own home anytime of the day or night.  The Map App has been picked up by some of Portland’s most active blogs, while local journalists have been immersing themselves in the maps, revealing an appetite for the data-rich content.  

Within the Map App, you can make comments and leave them for staff and others to review. You can also share your comments via email, Facebook and Twitter (@PortlandBPS), including the specific maps where you have left comments.  This is really an unprecedented opportunity for all members of the public to express their ideas clearly and offer feedback from home, or at their neighborhood or community meetings, and at whatever time and place is convenient for them.

Of course, the Map App doesn’t mean an end to community meetings. We will still be available to meet with your neighborhood or group. (See the Comprehensive Plan story to learn about upcoming Map App conversations in your area.)  I hope you will engage with the Map App soon. Play with the various layers; combine content and geography and demographic characteristics; and then use the commenting “pins” to tell us what you think.  Thousands of people have taken a look so far, we hope you will join the conversation soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

Susan Anderson

Director

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Metro and others fund Comprehensive Plan Implementation projects and work on Powell-Division

BPS E-News, October 2013

The final step in the Comprehensive Plan Update process will be the adoption of priority measures to implement the new Comprehensive Plan, including a package of City Code and zoning map amendments. The scope of this task will be confirmed in late 2013, and work will proceed through July 2015. 

Thanks to a grant from our partner agency Metro, plus additional funding from the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Department of Land Conversation and Development, several Comprehensive Plan implementation projects have been identified and advisory committees are being recruited (see Comprehensive Plan Update story), including:

Transportation System Plan and Related Work. The Transportation System Plan (TSP) is the long-range plan to guide transportation investments in Portland. The TSP Update will also satisfy Metro obligations to ensure consistency with the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).
 
Mixed Use Zones Project. The Mixed Use Zones Project will develop new mixed use planning and zoning designations that can be applied to implement the Centers and Corridors concepts that emerged with the Portland Plan and are proposed in the Comprehensive Plan. The project will focus on the city’s commercial and central employment zones as well as the places outside the Central City where these zones are applied. This project is supported by a Metro Construction Excise Tax (CET) Grant. The City was also recently awarded a State Transportation and Growth Management (TGM) Grant to examine parking management policy in these same areas. That grant is being managed by the Bureau of Transportation but will be closely coordinated with the Mixed Use Zones Project.
 
Institutional (Colleges and Hospitals) Zoning Project. This project will develop new campus institution zoning procedures and standards and identify infrastructure investments that could facilitate institutional employment growth.

Additionally, members of the former Economic Development Policy Expert Group (PEG), the Watershed Health and Environment PEG and other community members have formed an Industrial Land and Watershed Health Working Group. The Working Group has been advising BPS on the Comprehensive Plan policies and implementation approaches to meet both the economic development and watershed health goals in the Portland Harbor and Columbia Corridor industrial areas. This work could lead to changes in the zoning map or development code for prime industrial employment land.

Next up: Powell-Division corridor

Metro is also funding the Inner Powell-Outer Division and Development Project, which is not part of Comprehensive Plan implementation. This project will be similar to the Barbur Concept Plan in that it will create a vision and development strategy for key investment focus areas and identify a preferred transit mode and alignment — in preparation for high capacity transit along the corridor. 

Expanding the sustainability movement at GoGreen 2013

BPS E-News, October 2013

On October 15, the 2013 GoGreen conference focused on the triple bottom line, emphasizing the integration of social equity, economic vitality and environmental sustainability. Now in its sixth year in Portland, GoGreen was held at the Oregon Convention Center and welcomed over 400 attendees from businesses, nonprofits and government. The annual conference highlights regional leaders in sustainable business and fosters peer-to-peer learning across industry sectors.  BPS’ Sustainability at Work program, together with the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and Metro, were presenting sponsors of the conference.

Cheryl Meyers, director of Economic and Business Equity in the Office of Governor John Kitzhaber, opened the conference by describing the state’s efforts to create and promote access, opportunity and connection for minority-owned, woman-owned, emerging small business and disadvantaged businesses.

Later sessions built on these ideas, through discussions around:

  • How to engage more diverse audiences in sustainability opportunities.
  • New perspectives and ideas through broader inclusion in decision making.
  • How to identify where sustainability goals, like creating more walkable communities, offer benefits in health and quality of life, and then how to build new partnerships where shared goals of sustainability, health, and equity overlap.

 

BPS staff presented on the following topics:

  • Actions speak louder: Getting serious about climate change - Policy, Research and Innovation Manager, Michael Armstrong
  • Building a bigger table: Strategies to expand the sustainability movement - Equity Specialist, Desiree Williams-Rajee
  • Taking action: Collaborative project prioritization and decision-making - Green Building Policy Coordinator, Vinh Mason

 

Mayor Charlie Hales’ keynote address highlighted how the City’s early work in planning and sustainability led to current sustainability successes including land use policies to create existing healthy, connected neighborhoods that:

  • Allow more residents to be within walking distance of services and amenities.
  • Reduce costs and carbon emissions related to transportation.
  • Create neighborhood business districts.

 

Just as these early investments in urban livability have led to successes, the Mayor said, the City is now focusing on the challenge of advancing equity as a foundation for how it does business and where it makes its investments.

Sustainability at Work connects Portland businesses to free tools, services, and financial incentives offered by local nonprofits, utilities and city bureaus. The knowledgeable, friendly staff provide hands-on, personalized guidance to help businesses overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities. Sustainability at Work certification recognizes businesses – more than 100 so far - taking actions in energy, water, waste, and transportation. Find more information on assistance, resources and certification on the program website, or contact the program directly.

Fix-It Fairs offer free workshops, resources for a healthy home

BPS E-News, October 2013

As temperatures drop and leaves begin to change, the 2013-14 Fix-It Fair season prepares to bring money-saving, health promoting, resource-conserving resources to three Portland neighborhoods. This season’s fairs will occur on the follow dates and locations:

  • Nov 23, 2013 | Parkrose High School | 12003 NE Shaver St
  • Jan 25, 2014 | Rosa Parks Elementary School | 8960 N Woolsey Ave
  • Feb 22, 2014 | David Douglas High School | 1001 135th Ave

Each fair is a free community event that will feature more than 50 exhibitors, plus workshops, lunch and childcare. Fairgoers will find resources for weatherization and energy conservation, garden and habitat maintenance, healthy eating, sound finances and more.

Two of the workshops you’ll find at the Parkrose fair in November are “Nature-scaping” and “All-season Cycling.” There is no need to register to attend the fairs or workshops.

East  Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation will lead the Nature-scaping class. Attendees may learn to make a low maintenance landscape that helps save time, money, and energy, while creating beautiful habitat for residents and local wildlife.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation will conduct the All Season Cycling workshop. Sure, it gets pretty wet in Oregon, but with a little extra preparation you can be an all-season cyclist. Join this interactive session as experienced riders share tips and techniques for staying dry, comfortable and safe while riding all year ‘round.