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City honors amazing women at BPS

e-newsletter April 2013

The City of Portland Wonder Women Awards honors women at the City who serve as mentors, leaders, and exceptional co-workers. The awards coincide with Women’s History Month in March. This year’s theme was “Women Inspiring Innovation Thru Imagination.”

City staff were asked to nominate co-workers to honor the women in our bureau who stand out in some way as role models, mentors, or generally exceptional employees. This year seven BPS employees received the award:

 

  • Mindy Brooks
  • Shannon Buono
  • Valerie Garrett
  • Karen Lucchesi
  • Nan Stark
  • Desiree Williams-Rajee
  • Sandra Wood

Local Voices, Clever Choices

e-newsletter April 2013

What do a tool librarian, a baby-toting bus rider, and an eco-savvy businesswoman have in common? They all share their stories about the challenges and benefits of making community-minded choices on OMSI’s bilingual Local Voices, Clever Choices (Nuestras voces, nuestras decisiones) interactive website: www.omsi.edu/choices (www.omsi.edu/decisiones).

This month the Local Voices team is focusing on ways we can “steward our stuff” (e.g. responsibly dump our junk). Even if we reduce and reuse as much as possible, we all eventually end up with things that we don’t want or need anymore. But what do we do with all that stuff? Visit www.omsi.edu/badges to find the answer and earn a Clever Choices “Steward Your Stuff” badge at the same time. You might even win a (very useful and eventually recyclable) prize in the process!

While you’re there, you can also go behind-the-scenes at OMSI with exhibit builder Kim Hall in his story about how OMSI learned to “steward its stuff” while building the Clever Together exhibit. (The City helped with the exhibit too!) http://choices.omsi.edu/stories/29

The City of Portland and 20+ other local organizations worked with OMSI to make this project happen. BPS staff, led by Michele Crim, have offered their expertise on sustainability topics, tested and provided feedback on the design and interpretive descriptions for the exhibits, and continue to assist with promotion of these educational opportunities to our broad range of contacts in the community.

West Quadrant Plan project up and running

e-newsletter April 2013

What is the West Quadrant Plan?

Guided by the Central City 2035 Concept Plan, the West Quadrant Plan will examine a range of issues  in the western areas of the Central City, including:

  • land use
  • urban design
  • transportation
  • environmental impacts
  • economic development

This effort will result in recommendations for policies to guide future public and private investment and development in the western areas of the Central City, including the River District (the Pearl District and Old Town/Chinatown), Downtown, Goose Hollow, University District and South Waterfront areas.

Under the 1972 Downtown Plan and the 1988 Central City Plan, public, private and nonprofit investment on the west side resulted in the development of Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the MAX lines, the Transit Mall and Retail Core, Saturday Market, the streetcar system, Pioneer Courthouse Square and new public art. With all that development momentum, the Central City 2035 and West Quadrant Plan will build upon the vision and direction provided by these earlier plans, while reinforcing the new strategic concept of the Central City as the center of innovation and exchange for the region.

Planning process

West Quadrant Reader report coverTo kick off the West Quadrant Plan, the project team developed the West Quadrant Reader and an accompanying online survey. A short newspaper-like document outlining issues, opportunities and ideas for Portland’s West Quadrant, the Reader is a starting point for the public conversation about the West Quadrant and will help people give feedback via the online survey. The West Quadrant Issues and Opportunities Survey  seeks community input on topics such as housing, transportation and neighborhood services. It’s available online through May 10, 2013.

In the past few months, the West Quadrant Plan team held three major public events, including the first two West Quadrant Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) meetings, a planning forum and charrette for the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood and similar efforts for Goose Hollow. Attendance has been high, and feedback enthusiastic and informative. For more information and updates on the WQP project, please visit the News & Updates page of the CC2035 website. 

Together the discussions from the SAC meetings, ideas from neighborhood events (such as those in Old Town/Chinatown and Goose Hollow) and feedback from the survey will feed into the advisory committee’s work and shape the West Quadrant Charrette, scheduled for June 10-14, 2013. The charrette will lead into concepts development and a draft plan.

How you can get involved 

Future public events for the West Quadrant Plan will include open houses, community meetings, working groups and specific efforts targeted at smaller sub-areas in the district (e.g., Downtown, South Waterfront, West End, North Pearl). Each of these present an opportunity for community members to get involved, ask questions, provide feedback and contribute to the future of the area. To learn more about upcoming events, check out the project calendar. We hope to see you in the coming months!

Questions or comments?

Contact West Quadrant Plan staff at westquadrant@portlandoregon.gov

Solar energy and community net metering

e-newsletter April 2013

The City of Portland has a long-standing commitment to support the development of a market for solar energy. Despite many gains, solar energy remains out of reach for many Portland residents, including renters, lower-income individuals and people who live in neighborhoods with more shade than sun.

The 2009 City of Portland/Multnomah County Climate Action Plan (CAP) calls for ten percent of the energy used in Multnomah County to be produced from on-site renewable sources by 2030. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) established a solar energy program in 2006 and, along with key partners, has helped increase the installed solar capacity in Portland since that time.

However, seventy-five percent of residential consumers in the U.S.aren’t able to install solar on their own rooftops because they rent, have too much shade, can’t afford it or have the wrong rooftop orientation. In recent years, community-shared solar has emerged as an innovative strategy to expand the use of renewable energy to underserved populations. Community solar is a model in which residents can invest in solar electric installations that are located elsewhere, such as a school or community center rooftop, providing a pathway to community ownership of clean power production.

The City of Portland attempted a community-shared solar pilot in 2012 which faced many constraints as part of the existing net-metering laws and available market incentives (i.e., Oregon Volumetric Incentive Rate, Federal Investment Tax Credit). Therefore, the pilot did not ultimately result in solar installations, though a number of valuable lessons were learned.

One of the key findings from the City’s pilot was that community net-metering, instead of standard net-metering, would offer a pragmatic solution to the current legislative and regulatory obstacles to implementing community-shared solar projects.

 

What is the difference between net metering and community net metering?

Net-metering laws establish how utilities must treat the power produced by a grid-connected solar electric (photovoltaic or PV) system. Under typical net-metering agreements, consumers receive a credit from the utility for the power generated by their solar electric system, valued at the same retail rate that they pay for the power consumed from the grid.

Community net-metering is an expansion of net-metering policy which allows consumers to receive the same benefits enabled by direct ownership of solar electric and standard net-metering, but from a larger, community-scaled solar electric system.

The City of Portland is working with other parties to develop legislative solutions that enable equitable, lower-cost access to solar energy for many more Oregonians than are served by the current net-metering law.

BPS staff honored with Kitzhaber Public Health Leadership Award

e-newsletter April 2013

Michelle Kunec-North was the recipient of the Multnomah County Health Department’s 2013 Governor John Kitzhaber Public Health Leadership Award. Each year the County awards Public Health Hero awards in six categories. The Governor John Kitzhaber Public Health Leadership Award honors those in our community who have worked unceasingly to create policy solutions that assure, promote, and protect health for every member of the community.

A Public Health Hero is a person or organization that promotes public health in their daily lives. This individual, organization or business is the driving force behind public health efforts that embody the following criteria:

 

  1. Makes a significant difference in the lives of the people served.
  2. Builds on individual and community strengths and assets.
  3. Mobilizes individuals and community groups to work in collaboration and cooperation.
  4. Are unique, innovative or fill an identified gap in a specific community Is characterized by social justice and a celebration of diversity.

 

Michelle has been a lead author for BPS on sections of several key planning projects:

  • Lead author for the Health and Safety Background Report (Comp Plan/Portland Plan). 
  •  Primary author for the “Healthy Connected City” strategy in the Portland Plan.
  •  Led background research for the Health Impact Assessment that was done for West Hayden Island project. 
  •  Created the Health Policy Scan (together with Beth Sanders at Oregon Public Health Institute, as part of a grant project) to help inform the Comprehensive Plan Update project.