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Airport Futures promotes “generational fairness”

Airport Futures is a collaborative effort between the City of Portland, Port of Portland and the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan community to create a holistic long-range development plan for Portland International Airport (PDX). Part of Airport Futures is an agreement between the City of Portland and the Port of Portland to mitigate the airport’s impacts to natural resources and to enhance the overall health of the Columbia Slough watershed, where PDX is located.

The Airport Futures Planning Advisory Group was guided by the principle of Generational Fairness. Generational Fairness is a sustainability principle that recognizes the balance between the economy, environment and social equity of current and future generations. Here’s how it works:

From wetlands to grasslands within the airport’s diverse landscape there are many natural and man-made habitats used by a large assortment of plants and wildlife. Over the long term, development at the airport will impact these habitats and the species that depend on them.

In order to compensate for the loss of these important natural resources, the Port and the City are proposing long-range, far-reaching natural resource restoration and enhancement efforts in lieu of traditional environmental zoning, including:

-    Restoring up to 300 acres of upland grassland habitat on Government Island (in the Columbia River);
-    Funding tree planting away from the airport and in the Columbia Slough watershed;
-    Funding enhancement projects to improve wildlife habitat along the slough; and
-    Restoring and converting wetlands near the airport to provide high-quality habitat that does not attract wildlife that pose a threat to aviation safety.

These enhancements to the natural environment are some of the first of their kind for an airport in the United States. They demonstrate the Port’s commitment to environmental stewardship and to the sustainability principle of Generational Fairness. By making significant investments in natural resource restoration today, we are helping preserve and improve environmental health and quality of life for future generations of plants, animals and people.
Airport Futures is nearing completion. The Airport Futures land use plan includes changes to the City’s Zoning Code and Comprehensive Plan. Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the Airport Futures land use plan starting June 22, 2010, with hearings at City Council and the Port Commission scheduled for July and August 2010.

To learn more about the project, get notices of upcoming hearings and find out how you can influence decisions about the future of PDX, please visit