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Planning and Sustainability

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Charter and Protocols


This is a description of the role, responsibility and working agreements of the Portland Comprehensive Plan Update Policy Expert Groups (PEG). The purpose of the eight PEGs is to advise City staff on proposed policy recommendations for the Portland Comprehensive Plan Update.


Portland’s Comprehensive Plan is a legally required document that helps the city prepare for and manage expected population and employment growth, as well as plan for the major public investments to accommodate that growth. It provides direction for city decision-making on land use, transportation, sewer and water systems, and natural resource management programs, while ensuring that investments in major city systems are coordinated.

The Comprehensive Plan Update will be informed by and help to implement The Portland Plan, a strategic plan for a prosperous, healthy, educated, equitable city. It will also build upon the citywide vision developed through VisionPDX. The Comprehensive Plan will later be augmented and updated through future refinement planning.

The Comprehensive Plan Update’s eight Policy Expert Groups were selected in May 2012, by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability director. While the Portland Comprehensive Plan Update is a citywide effort, it will be managed by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS).

Charge of the Policy Expert Groups

The primary function of the PEGs is to advise City staff on the development of the Comprehensive Plan Update and related programs. City staff will coordinate the development of policy drafts and bring key items to the group for discussion. Agency staff and community members will contribute suggestions for revision. Each PEG will have a professional facilitator.

Members will:

  • Review Comprehensive Plan background materials and analysis to understand the issues to be addressed in the Comprehensive Plan;
  • Work collaboratively with one another to explore issues and provide advice to City staff on policy, concept mapping and key parcel-specific map designations, and if time allows, advise on refinements to the capital improvement project list and implementation tools (e.g., zoning);
  • Attend monthly PEG meetings, beginning in June 2012, for a period of one year;
  • Review and comment on proposed policies, mapping and implementation recommendations;
  • Attend Portland Comprehensive Plan Update community meetings when possible to hear directly from the public;
  • Consider and integrate general public input into their guidance to City staff; and



The Policy Expert Groups will address major themes from the Portland Plan and tasks required by the Periodic Review Work Program. The name and goal of each PEG is:


  1. The Community Involvement PEG will consist of members of the Portland Public Involvement Advisory Council (PIAC). This PEG will recommend community involvement policies incorporating best practices and the Public Involvement Principles developed by the PIAC and adopted by City Council in August 2010. Policies may focus on improving the quality, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and consistency of public involvement for planning processes. (Implementing the Equity Framework of the Portland Plan)
  2. The Education and Youth Success PEG will consider policies related to educational facilities: how they can accommodate projected growth, flexibly provide multiple functions and serve as intergenerational community anchors. This group may also explore complementary community investments that will help advance the Cradle to Career partnership’s strategies to support youth academically, socially and physically. (Implementing the Equity Framework and Thriving Educated Youth strategy of the Portland Plan)
  3. The Economic Development PEG will consider policies to foster business success, prosperity and employment land supply and vitality. This PEG may explore issues related to economic development policy, responses to forecast shortfalls of industrial and institutional land supply, institutional land use, prime industrial land, short-term developable land and brownfield redevelopment. (Implementing the Equity Framework and Economic Prosperity and Affordability strategy of the Portland Plan)
  4. The Residential Development and Compatibility PEG will consider policies related to the design and compatibility of new residential development in areas outside of centers and corridors. Potential policies will be considered within the context of the “five Portlands,” recognizing that for many issues one size does not fit all. This PEG may explore issues related to the size and scale of infill development, multi-dwelling development, and transitions between centers and corridors and residential areas. (Implementing the Equity Framework and Healthy Connected City strategy of the Portland Plan)
  5. The Neighborhood Centers PEG will explore how neighborhood centers and corridors can accommodate new growth, provide necessary commercial and community services, and be designed to enhance the character of their local communities. This PEG may explore the location, roles and characteristics of neighborhood centers and corridors, along with related housing, neighborhood economic development, urban design and historic preservation policies. It may also consider transportation and other infrastructure priorities for centers and corridors. (Implementing the Equity Framework, Thriving Educated Youth, Economic Prosperity and Affordability, and Healthy Connected City strategies of the Portland Plan)
  6. The Infrastructure Equity PEG will consider infrastructure policies and investment strategies to support equitable public service provision. This PEG will foster discussions and information sharing between infrastructure service providers and equity stakeholders. This PEG may review infrastructure service levels and consider strategies or implementation tools to address or reduce critical disparities. (Implementing the Equity Framework of the Portland Plan)
  7. The Networks PEG will explore the role of public infrastructure networks – including active transportation, green infrastructure and stormwater management systems – in the City’s future growth and land use. The PEG may consider policies and investments to integrate planning and design of sustainable stormwater and active transportation networks to provide cost-effective infrastructure that meets multiple community objectives. It may also explore policies to create a citywide greenway network of trails and pedestrian and bike-friendly green streets by aligning investments in active transportation, green infrastructure and sustainable stormwater systems. The PEG may also consider policies to guide the design of major streets, streetcar and light rail corridors so they become distinctive civic places that serve Portland’s future multimodal mobility needs and are models of ecological design. (Implementing the Equity Framework and Healthy Connected City strategies of the Portland Plan)
  8. The Watershed Health and Environment PEG will consider policies related to water quality, habitat and biodiversity, hydrology, natural hazards, designing with nature, environmental justice and other key topics. Building on the Portland Plan directions, this PEG will refine the habitat connections concept and explore how such a network of habitat corridors and green infrastructure investments can improve watershed health and access to nature for Portlanders. It may also review growth scenarios with watershed and environmental objectives in mind. (Implementing the Equity Framework and Healthy Connected City strategy of the Portland Plan)


The PEGs will meet in these groups until the Comprehensive Plan Update Proposed Draft goes to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) in 2013. Additional meetings or review may be requested beyond the PSC hearings if directed by the PSC. Policy Expert Group members may decide to hold additional full or subcommittee meetings outside of the monthly meeting time.

Policy Expert Groups will be organized by:


  • PEG members: Each PEG will have approximately 16 to 20 members, representing both community and government viewpoints, as well as specific skills and expertise that relate to each PEG topic. Agency staff members are chosen to bring an agency perspective to PEG discussions and to be able to take back and share PEG developments within their agencies, getting feedback when needed. Community members are chosen for their experience and ability to draw upon the feedback/experiences of a larger community/constituency regarding perspectives on the topic of their PEG, and for their ability to collect feedback from that community/constituency when needed.
  • Planning and Sustainability Commission members: The Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC), has members assigned to each of the Policy Expert Groups. The Commission has specific responsibility for the stewardship, development and maintenance of the City's Comprehensive Plan.
  • Comprehensive Plan Update’s Community Involvement Committee members: The Comprehensive Plan’s Community Involvement Committee (CIC) has members assigned to each of the Policy Expert Groups. Their role is to observe and report back to the CIC and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff how public involvement is being practiced within each PEG. Community Involvement Committee members will also consider ways to engage more Portlanders in the PEG topics and/or discussions both within the PEG meetings, as well as through other outreach opportunities (internet, written materials, community meetings, etc.). Additionally, each of the CIC members brings their own expertise, community affiliations and observations to the PEG discussion.
  • PEG facilitator: Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will hire a professional consultant to both convene and facilitate the Policy Expert Group meetings and provide coordination in between meetings. In general, the facilitator will share responsibility in the agenda development with the Policy Expert Group lead (see below), communicate with Policy Expert Group members, will write the meeting minutes. They will ensure a welcoming meeting environment where all PEG members will participate and the public has the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments.
  • PEG lead: Public agencies will provide each group a PEG lead to take on the role of bringing key items to the group for discussion and make sure the internet webpage and calendar for the group is up-to-date. The PEG lead will maintain a work plan that expresses the current goal and action steps being taken by the Policy Expert Group.
  • General public: The general public is invited to attend the PEG meetings. Information derived from public comment will be considered in developing the Comprehensive Plan Update.


Policy Expert Group Advisory Process

Each PEG will represent a diversity of expertise, skill sets and viewpoints. As such, PEG members are expected to listen, analyze and consider both community and citywide goals. Policy Expert Group members are expected to consider a range of solutions, discuss the pros and cons of the issues presented and deliver a set of recommendations reflecting the “sense of the group”. For every set of recommendations delivered to BPS staff, PEGs should include the rationale behind it. Common to each discussion, regardless of topic area, will be the question: Who is likely to benefit from various policy options, and who is likely to be burdened by these options? This question will help inform an understanding of the equity implications of different choices.

The PEG members acknowledge that their role is to provide advice and frame policy choices to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and that the final decisions on content of the draft Comprehensive Plan Update that goes before the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission rest with the City and the Commissioner-in-charge.

The summary notes will outline the issues discussed, the areas in which there is consensus, and any remaining issues on which consensus was not reached.

Individual Agreements

Policy Expert Group members will:

  • Listen and be open to the diverse points of view represented on the Policy Expert Group.
  • Treat each other with civility and respect.
  • Strive to further understanding of the needs and interests of the broad range of communities that are stakeholders in the activities and plans for the city.
  • Provide fair and balanced information to our constituencies about the issues that come before the PEG and the group’s discussions.


Roles and Responsibility of All Policy Expert Group Members

Duration: The overall duration of the PEGs is expected to be approximately one year.

Attendance: Members should try to attend all monthly meetings. If a member cannot attend a meeting, they are required to inform the PEG facilitator before the meeting. Prior to or after missing a meeting, a PEG member should contact the PEG facilitator and their PEG lead to receive updates and send in contributions/responses to work done during the missed meeting.

Members who do not to attend a meeting may not seek to revisit issues from the missed meeting that were noticed on the agenda and on which discussion was completed at the missed meeting.

Time Commitment: We anticipate that members will need to spend four to eight hours per month on PEG related meetings and activities. This commitment of time includes reading email correspondence, reviewing meeting notes and handouts. There could be additional meetings to attend, including community involvement events, as needed.

Alternates: Members may not have alternates. Members may have an individual attend a meeting in the role of the general public and are welcome to provide public comment during the opportunities provided for non-PEG members during the meetings. These individuals’ primary responsibility is to inform the member about the deliberations at the conclusion of the meeting.

Presentations: Policy Expert Group members may be asked to present at Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings and participate in briefings city commissioners, bureau directors, and with community stakeholders, to discuss PEG efforts, as needed.

Media: Members may choose to respond to media inquiries, but agree to honor the group process and not use it to promote individual “agendas” or presume to represent the positions of other members or the group.

Withdrawal: In the case of withdrawal of a member from the Policy Expert Group process, the decision to replace that member will depend on factors such as how far along the group is in the process, whether the addition of a new member would be disruptive, and whether the loss of the interests represented by the withdrawing member creates a serious gap on the group in terms of expertise and/or interests. Authority for decisions about replacing members rests with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, which may consider recommendations from the group.


Each PEG will meet at least once a month and will begin as scheduled. Meetings are open to the public and will include opportunity for public comment. Notice of PEG meetings, agendas and meeting materials will be posted at least one week in advance of meetings at: Meeting summaries will be posted on the website as soon as possible following each meeting.

The facilitator will provide public comment opportunities for non-PEG members during the meetings. Comments from the public will be limited in time to allow sufficient opportunity to conduct the other portions of the PEG agenda. Typically, the public comment opportunity will be limited to 10-15 minutes toward the end of the meeting. The public is encouraged to submit written comments to the PEG lead for circulation to the full PEG.

In between meetings, PEG members will include both the facilitator and PEG lead on any group email exchanges, so that a public record is maintained.