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Summary Meeting Notes: February 27, 2013 Watershed Health and Environment PEG

Summary Meeting Notes

Watershed Health & Environment Policy Expert Group

Meeting Date: February 27, 2013
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Location: 1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, Conference Room 7A 

Attendees: Claire Carder, Ben Duncan, Mike Houck, Maryhelen Kincaid, Jonna Papaefthimiou, Emily Roth, Bob Sallinger, Judy BlueHorse Skelton, Jennifer Thompson, Jeri Williams, Roberta Jortner, Marie Walkiewicz 

Staff: Sallie Edmunds, Shannon Buono, Spencer Williams

Facilitator: Dena Marshall, Solid Ground Consulting, assisted by Kazmiera Taylor

Guests: Davta Khalsa, Mary Vogel

Introductions, Announcements and Updates

  • See Comp Plan website for upcoming community workshops
  • Attendance rates at the community workshops have been low.  Comp Plan staff will increase outreach efforts to bring in more people.
  • Staff and some PEG members are exploring a possible April 3 environment-specific focused workshop

Debrief Comprehensive Plan Workshops

Marie Walkiewicz, BES, discussed the Design with Nature breakout sessions at the West Portland workshops.

  • Approximately 10 participants attended, many expressed support for the process and were eager to participate more directly, such as volunteering to help control invasive plants, but asked for more direction:  “We want to work, but we need organizing and technical assistance”
  • There was also support for establishing requirements to “design with nature” through code as an approach to “level the cost playing field”.  Coupling requirements with incentives was also recommended.

Roberta Jortner, BPS, discussed the Healthy Economy, Healthy Environment breakout session at the North Portland workshop.

  • Approximately 15 participants attended, many wanted to see efforts to strengthen infrastructure, employ ecological site design, and improve incentives and communication. Participants expressed less support for blanket regulations and expressed support for brownfield remediation, also expressed concern about the potential costs

Compare and Contrast Industrial Land and Watershed Health Policies

Shannon Buono, BPS, described a Compare and Contrast activity designed to address balancing concerns between IL and WH interests addressed in previous meetings.

  • Many group members noted a language disparity and asked for (1) “more legally binding language” and accountability and (2) stronger language in WH policies.

Open Discussion

  • Group members discussed barriers to moving forward, both within the context of the planning process and the implementation of policies in the future. Some raised concerns about conflict resolution, especially within the context of historical precedence and barriers to future collaborative decision-making processes.
  • Several group members discussed the confluence of IL and WH interests, calling for a framework to achieve ‘integration,’ ‘integrative strategies,’ ‘shared vision,’ and ‘collaboration.’
  • Representing equity community interests, some group members drew attention to the linear design of the Draft Comp Plan Policies document, noting that an overly bureaucratic structure could likely alienate readers from non-dominant cultures.

Comprehensive Plan Growth Scenarios

Spencer Williams, BPS, presented a brief overview of the Comp Plan growth scenarios.

  • Staff looked at amount, distribution, and relative performance of several growth scenarios focus growth in centers, along corridors, and in the central city.
  • Staff identified priorities based on measures of success that are also outlined in the Portland Plan, such as growth gaps, transportation variety, a vibrant central city, more jobs in East Portland, affordable housing, and connections to nature. 
  • Performance measures included access to natural areas, tree canopy, and watershed health.

Public comment:

  • Community members encouraged Staff to look at design and growth scenarios in other cities around the world, as a way to gain perspective on what works and doesn’t work. 
  • Study the new 8-acre park planned in Brooklyn, an example of how to deal with industrial areas. 
  • You really need a clear, shared vision for this process, and to test every policy against that. 
  • “Be more radical, or you won’t have the kind of power you actually need to push forward.”
  • Comp Plan Workshop for Businesses: Mercy Corps, 45 SW Ankeny Street, Thursday March 14, at 7:30-9:30am, ( 


For more information, please contact Sallie Edmunds, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, at 503-823-6950 or, or Dena Marshall, Solid Ground Consulting, at 503-740-7123 or