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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

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Summary Meeting Notes: July 16, 2012 Education and Youth Success PEG

July 16, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Attendees: Paul Cathcart; Gabriel Graff; Troy Tate; Lois Cohen; Diana Hall; Stacey Triplett; Ernesto Contreras; Douglas Hardy; Seth Warren; Bill Cunningham; Michelle Lagos; Lilly Windle; Karen Fisher-Gray; Mary Richardson; Helen Ying; Bob Glascock; Scott Rose; Deborah Stein

Staff / Facilitator: Deborah Stein, Bob Glascock, Bill Cunningham, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; Libby Barg, Barney & Worth

Public / Guests: Leslie Foren, Morgan Barry, George Hocker, Melissa Cannon, Chris Scarzello

View the original agenda, including materials, for this meeting (links for meeting materials provided at the end of the meeting notes).


Welcome and Introductions
Presenter: Libby Barg
Summary: Self-introductions 


Integrating Equity

Presenter: Bob Glascock and Deborah Stein, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Summary: Bob and Deborah gave a general overview of the Portland Plan equity framework and how it will be integrated into Education and Youth Success PEG’s work.

Schools as “Centers of Community”

Presenter: Deborah Stein and Bill Cunningham, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Summary: Deborah and Bill gave a brief presentation on the use of schools for community activities in relationship to Portland Plan’s actions and goals. Schools are part of a “complete neighborhood” as defined by the Portland Plan.  Examples provided were Rosa Parks Elementary and Parkrose High School. At PHS, a branch of the Multnomah County Library within the school was discontinued, discussed unintended consequences and community impacts.

Discussion Item #1: How can schools contribute more as centers of community through shared use of facilities?

  • The role of schools as “centers of community” is changing and there are opportunities through the Comprehensive Plan update to shape how schools are used for the benefit of schools and the community.
  • Opportunities are different if using existing buildings/fields vs. preparing to build new facilities/fields.
  • Some long-term uses of schools are currently not permitted by city code. 
  • Access and layout of many schools are not compatible with community use (bathrooms notADAaccessible, elevators don’t access areas the community uses). There are physical /safety/security barriers to community use.
  • Priorities should be established for community uses of schools.
  • Community use of schools needs to be compatible with educational objectives.
  • “Centers of Community” should be better defined.   
  • Community needs for schools facilities should be assessed school by school. There is no universal blueprint.


Discussion Item #2: Are there contemporary models for school buildings that offer insights for schools as centers for community?

  • Examples
    • ParkroseBronco Barn
    • ACE charter schools
    • SunnysideEnvironmentalSchool(community meeting space)
    • RosaParksFamilyResourceCenter(facility for job searches)
  • Uses
    • Sharing facilities / resources with community colleges
    • School cafeterias used as commercial kitchens
    • School based health centers
    • Food banks
    • Community gardens
    • Satellite government offices (distributing information on where to get services) 
    • Emergency centers/shelters


Discussion Item #3: Should a school’s location matter in deciding what community uses may co-locate with a school?

  • Traffic and parking are concerns to neighbors. Impacts in residential neighborhoods may be different than impacts experienced in mixed use areas. The City must consider how people are accessing the schools and how many out-of-the-neighborhood participants are being drawn to the school.
  • Broadening the use of schools can create conflicts with land use regulations.  Biggest issues are school drop off / pick up and hours of operation.
  • Planning should start with specific neighborhood needs (sidewalks, sports facilities, etc.), not by what the code allows.
  • Many schools have historic qualities that need to be respected during remodeling projects.  However, historic preservation requirements may be an obstacle to remodeling a school to fit community needs.


Discussion Item #4: What are the concerns / challenges with community use of schools from the perspective of school districts?

  • Community uses of schools impact school resources (facilities, equipment, staff/custodial time, etc.). Schools need to find ways to absorb “use” costs so community use doesn’t become cost prohibitive.
  • Land use problems are “complaint” driven.
  • Schools’ primary goal needs to be to educate students.


Additional Comments:

  • The needs of low-income families should be addressed to provide stability, keep them in the district and help maintain a stable school population.
  • When a school becomes more than a school, what is the zoning challenge of bringing in other uses?


Links to Meeting Handouts and Presentations:


For more information, please contact either Deborah Stein, Bureau of Planning & Sustainability at 503-823-6991 or, or Clark Worth, Facilitator at 503-222-0146 or