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Summary Meeting Notes: June 18, 2012 Watershed Health and Environment PEG

June 18, 2012 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Attendees: Ann Beier, Judy BlueHorse Skelton, Ben Duncan, Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis, Don Hanson, Roberta Jortner, Noelwah Netusil, Emily Roth, Bob Sallinger, Jennifer Thompson, Marie Walkiewicz, Paul Ward, Jeri Williams, Sallie Edmunds (PEG lead), Dena Marshall (facilitator)

View the original agenda, including materials, for this meeting.

“I think it’s worth taking a chance to do this differently.” - WHE PEG member


Introductions and Review of Charter/Ground Rules 

Presenter: Dena Marshall, Decisions Decisions (facilitator)

Summary: Because this was the first time many PEG members had met each other, the group dedicated a significant portion of this first meeting to building relationships through exploring core issues surrounding the Comp Plan process, including questions of equity and environmental justice, deliberative process, ground rules, community access and engagement, and the concept of cross-pollination between PEGs and historical Portland planning processes such as VisionPDX, Portland Plan, West Hayden Island process, and the River Plan.

  • Equity and Environmental Justice
    This was a key topic of discussion for the group, and we began to see how the theme weaves through much discussion of other issues, including community access and engagement. In general, the WHE PEG shared a commitment to engaging in a deliberative group process that works better for traditionally under-represented groups, especially low-income and communities of color in Portland. One aspect of this commitment is to strive to understand and honor the broad spectrum of integral relationships with Portland’s water, watersheds and environment that are closely held in many of our communities. To meet this objective, PEG members expressed a desire to learn more, listen closely to community members throughout the process, and to explore the feasibility of designing the next round of meetings to encourage broader community participation.

  • The PEG deliberative process
    In general, the group felt comfortable with the role of the PEG advisory process, with a non-consensus based approach, and expectations to deliver considerations to BPS staff that reflect a balanced weighing of both the benefits and detriments of various policy directions.

  • Ground rules
    The group reviewed and agreed to proceed along the ground rules, which are laid out on page 5 of the PEG Charter. They include (1) Listen and be open to the diverse points of view represented on the Policy Expert Group; (2) Treat each other with civility and respect; (3) 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; (4) Provide fair and balanced information to our constituencies about the issues that come before the PEG and the group’s discussions.

  • Cross-pollination
    PEG members noted that this process uniquely includes perspectives from the finance sector, public health sector, and environmental justice sector. In addition, several large-scale planning processes have engaged Portlanders over the years, including VisionPDX, Portland Plan, River Plan, West Hayden Island, and others. With a wealth of planning insights and several policy initiatives available to us, this PEG appreciates the importance of learning from past and ongoing processes to help inform the directions taken through the Comp Plan process.

Recap of PEG Orientation sessions; Orientation to the WH/E PEG 

Presenter: Dena Marshall, Decisions Decisions and Sallie Edmunds, BPS (PEG lead)

Summary: Ms. Marshall provided a tailored recap to the PEG orientation sessions to highlight the particular function and expected outcomes of the WH/E PEG. Ms. Edmunds provided a brief orientation to the work of the WH/E PEG using a large columned chart

  • The first column represented Draft Policies. She directed the group's attention to the Watershed Health and Environment Draft Policy document. The first part of that handout was a synthesis of relevant environmental policies culled from several dozen policy documents. She described that as the first draft of what might be the environmental chapter of the Comp Plan. The second part of the document was the Environment chapter from the existing comp plan. 

  • The second column listed Topics for PEG Discussion. She referenced a Discussion Topics and Schedule handout that described the issues for which there is little or no existing policy direction.

  • The third column listed Topics for Cross PEG discussions. She listed a few examples such as industrial lands with the Economic PEG, and habitat corridors with the Networks PEG.

  • The forth column listed topics for the WH/E PEG or staff to track. Examples here relate to drinking water, energy and resource efficiency, brownfield cleanup and redevelopment. 

NOTE: Further discussion of the work of the PEG will be on the July 6, 2012 meeting agenda.


Public Comment

Jeremy O’Leary, Community Member, highlighted the need to incorporate planning around emergency preparedness and resiliency into the PEG process. To illustrate, Mr. O’Leary posed the general question of whether the City of Portland is prepared to respond to a long-term sewer system disruption in the event of a massive earthquake or other natural disaster.

For more information, please contact either Sallie Edmunds at 503-823-6950 or or Dena Marshall, Facilitator at 503-740-7123 or