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Summary Meeting Notes: April 3, 2013 Infrastructure Equity PEG meeting

Summary Meeting Notes

Infrastructure Equity Policy Expert Group
Meeting Date: April 3, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon


PEG Attendees:  Susan Aldrich, Roger Anthony, Roger Averbeck, Alex Deley, Susan Gibson-Hartnett, Karyn Hanson, Jeff Leighton, Kathryn Levine, Jackie Luna Acosta, Olivia Quiroz, Michelle Rudd, Joe VanderVeer, Sara Weiner-Collier.


Other Attendees: Andree Tremoulet (facilitator); Tom Armstrong, Michele Crim, Bill Cunningham, Joan Frederiksen, Bob Glascock & Michelle Kunec-North (BPS); Courtney Duke & Patricia Neighbor(PBOT); Anna Chinburg, Argel Jimenez & Ali Ray (translators); Patrick Driscoll (public).

PEG Lead: Bob Glascock

Facilitator:  Andrée Tremoulet, Commonworks Consulting

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

Welcome and Introductions (10 minutes) 

Presenter: Andrée Tremoulet, Facilitator

Summary:Andree Tremoulet welcomed everyone and PEG members and guests introduced themselves.Andree asked members to take a few minutes to talk with each other about their experiences at the community workshops.

Andreereviewed the purpose of the meeting: a) to learn about and discuss centers, corridors and growth scenarios, using an infrastructure equity lens; and b) to lay the groundwork for future more detailed discussions about considerations to prioritize infrastructure investments.

Future Agendas (10 minutes)

Presenter:  Bob Glascock, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Handout: IE PEG Schedule and Topics

Summary: Bob Glascock reviewed the IE PEG Schedule and Topics handout, highlighting the focus of future agendas and outlining the trajectory of the PEG for the coming months. The original plan was for the PEGs to function for one year, ending in June 2013. There is still more work to be done related to Part 2 of the Comp Plan Update. In order to do this work, the IE PEG would need to continue through September. Bob asked PEG members to let him orAndree know if they are unable or uninterested in continuing with the PEG for a few additional months.

Courtney Duke mentioned that members of the Networks PEG, the IE PEG and the Centers PEG might be interested in reconvening as an advisory group for Transportation Systems Plan. Courtney will come back to the IE PEG with additional information about that potential opportunity, including the application process (if any).

Centers, Corridors and Growth Scenarios (95 minutes)

Presenters: Tom Armstrong and Bill Cunningham, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


Urban Design workshop handouts (including Centers Defined, Centers Typology and Corridors & Connections)

Growth Scenarios workshop handouts (including Growth Scenarios & Performance Measures)

Vulnerability Maps

Compilation of Centers Policies

SummaryBill Cunningham, the staff Lead for the Centers PEG, gave an overview of the centers and corridors concept. Highlights included:

  • Centers are concentrations of community and commercial services and transportation nodes that provide multiple destinations for everyday needs. Ideally, the city’s network of centers will anchor neighborhoods. They can help us achieve goals from the Portland Plan and the Climate Action Plan.
  • Concentrating accessibility strategies in centers (sidewalks, housing, etc.) could maximize benefits for older adults and people with disabilities, while minimizing displacement for the residents and businesses in those areas.
  • Corridors connect centers and the city as a whole. Civic corridors connect centers and serve both people and transportation goals.  Infrastructure improvements should be concentrated in these corridors.  Transit station areas are hubs for transportation and housing growth.  Greenways are quieter bike/pedestrian networks that connect existing green areas.
  • The Networks PEG is interested in stronger language in the Comprehensive Plan to prioritize infrastructure investments in areas with disparities and lower levels of service. There is interest in further discussions about this between the Networks PEG and the IE PEG.

Questions and comments

  • What analysis has been done to identify where new centers or corridors might exist? A: There are a lot of places, based on current zoning, that have potential to become centers. (e.g. 162nd and Division). The community will help further this discussion in Part 2 of the Comprehensive Planning process.
  • The map doesn’t show community villages identified in existing neighborhood plans.  Is that a gap? A: Part 2 of the Comprehensive Plan process will include mapping all of the centers based on input from the public. Current maps are meant to show the concept, and capture the big/large centers.
  • Why does the centers map not show 174th and Powell (and other places inEast Portland)? It may be more auto-oriented, but it still has a lot of services that draw people. It feels like we are not recognizing that existing synergy – why? A: Those are exactly the things we want to identify through the community discussion in Part 2 mapping efforts.
  • In order to expand centers, it will require a lot of infill development, which is typically fairly expensive. How do we plan to work around that? A: This is a key issue, especially related to locational policies for affordable housing. We have aspirations for what we want it to look like, but we don’t currently have all of the tools to make it happen.
  • Is there language to mitigate displacement? A: The housing chapter has gentrification and displacement policies. They are still being refined.
  • When looking at the “vulnerability risk factors” – we should include concentrations of youth.
  • During the planning and implementation phases of a center, how will communities that could be impacted be involved? A: Each center, in terms of the kinds of activities and services, needs to be responsive to and developed by the communities in those areas.  There are some emerging strategies, especially related to neighborhood economic development activities – that are starting to be developed.
  • It would be interesting to overlay the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative areas on the centers map and look for gaps. There are places where it isn’t safe for students to walk (and therefore must be bussed) – a map showing that, along with centers, could help identify gaps where there is a need for investment in safe routes. Also, it would be good to put schools on the centers map because community services are happening at school sites. A: Schools and their relationship to centers are key.
  • What’s the update on theEast Portlandtown center? There needs to be something between civic corridors and greenways, because in some places neither of those area an option. A: There is a draft policy concept about a neighborhood corridor, which isn’t as high profile as the other corridors, but may be able to address the concerns raised about needing something in between.

Summary: Tom Armstrong, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, reviewed the Growth Scenarios. Highlights included:

  • Portlandis expected to grow by 132,000 new households, and 150,000 new jobs.
  • We have almost 230,000 housing units of capacity with current zoning. We aren’t expecting to move existing large job centers (e.g. major institutions, industrial areas, etc.).
  • There are four scenarios for accommodating the forecasted growth: the “default” (keep doing what we have historically been doing), and three that looked at concentrating growth in centers, corridors, and the central city.
  • The scenarios were run through a model that identified how the different scenarios perform per various standards (access to family-wage employment by 60 minute transit trip, risk of displacement/gentrification, complete neighborhoods, access to frequent transit, access to family-friendly bike network, access to parks, access to natural areas, tree canopy, watershed health, etc.).
  • Among the four scenarios, there isn’t a big difference in how they perform based on the performance measures.
  • The challenge is not just to provide the infrastructure and incentives to grow in the right places, but also to make investments in under-performing areas. The combination of these two strategies is the best ways to achieve the Portland Plan goals that address both growth and equity.
  • Tom reviewed some additional maps that looked at these performance measures together with areas with vulnerable populations (high share of renters, communities of color, lower educational attainment, household income). 

Questions and comments

  • What are the vulnerability risk maps showing us? A: The concentrations of vulnerable populations are not located in areas that have complete neighborhoods today (one map) – we need to take into account where we grow, where we invest, and how we address disparities.
  • Investing in areas of growth aren’t the same across the city. Some areas already have built out infrastructure in fairly good condition, so the investments required there to support growth are likely less than the investments in areas that have existing service deficiencies.
  • Have the growth scenarios been done with the vulnerable populations? Which of these scenarios address the opportunities where there is the greatest potential to address disparities? A: This is underway now, especially with respect to affordable housing (trying to provide more affordable housing opportunities in the areas that are already high performing). The data underlying the models can help inform these discussions.
  • Can the performance measures be nuanced to show how the scenarios perform across different demographic groups (not just geographic based). A: Yes. It would be possible to use this tool to be able to do this.
  • What do we mean by “investment”? A: Both direct investment as well as incentives (e.g. tax abatement). The big issue along Powell Blvd is related to maintaining affordable housing, as that area shows up as being at risk for displacement.
  • How is access to frequent transit service determined? A: Using TriMet’s designation.  PEG members felt that this approach is flawed – actual headway designation should be used for that performance measure.  BPS is interested in following up on this.
  • What is the relationship between “risk of displacement” and “vulnerable populations”? A: In this context, risk of displacement relates to the real estate market and housing affordability. This relates to identifying the areas where we need to do a better job of mitigating displacement.
  • There is a desire to see the risk areas and the growth scenarios performance measures combined to determine how the growth scenarios perform for particular demographic groups and vulnerable populations. The performance measures should not just look at “total” or “citywide” – but instead address impacts on specific populations and vulnerable places.
  • The “drill down” of this citywide data will be done as part of the Part 2 mapping and community conversations.
  • Performance measures should include sidewalks and unpaved roads.  (Note:  Sidewalks are incorporated into the “complete neighborhood” measure.)
  • It would be useful to look at what is behind the areas that aren’t a complete neighborhood (e.g. is it a lack of sidewalks or something else like commercial components). A: This is hard to do a citywide level, but we can pull that apart to look at a more localized area.
  • What worked well in Cully is that the community was actively engaged, which helped build support, impact what was done and reduce displacement.
  • The maps show the lack of frequent service transit in East Portland and N and NE Portland. It seems clear you can’t have a complete neighborhood without frequent service transit. So – what does that mean in terms of the growth scenarios and the impact of different investment decisions and options? A: The current performance measures are based on what exists on the ground today – not what could exist in the future, under different investment.
  • The IE PEG is interested in seeing an overlay of vulnerability and the centers.
  • Which scenarios give us growth and investment in incomplete neighborhoods? A: Locating the growth itself doesn’t necessarily bring the investments. The questions that need to be asked are likely more complex. 
  • Would be interested in seeing more transparency of the performance measures with the infrastructure bureau levels of service (e.g. how they measure their performance).
  • Sometimes we need to maintain the strength of the consolidated culture that exists in many communities.
  • The performance measures don’t seem to connect to equity beyond the issues of gentrification and access to jobs. What about access to good education and affordable healthcare? Those might be considered performance measures – they seem at least as important as tree canopy.
  • Is it possible to get the metrics used for the performance measures? A. Yes, there will be a report published in the next few weeks that will include this information, including some data for districts.
  • How strong do you think the regulatory sticks and carrots are to mitigate some of the impacts of gentrification? A: There are some tools out there that we don’t (or can’t) use – in particular “inclusionary zoning” (where developers are required to set aside a % as affordable).  It is going to be very difficult to solve – in part because of the amount of private investment and choices that are beyond what public interventions can impact.
  • What is considered in the transit trip to jobs measure? A:  Does it include areas outside of Portland? If people are faced with a 60 minute bus ride or a shorter car trip, they’ll pick the car. The macro-picture shows that residents of East or North Portland don’t have shorter transit trip options available. In some cases that might be a lack of transit (e.g. East Portland), in other instances it might be something else (e.g. transit is available, but there isn’t a direct route to where the jobs are located).

Public Comment 

No public comment was received at this meeting. 

Wrap Up (5 minutes)

For more information, please contact Bob Glascock, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, at 503-823-7845 or or Andrée Tremoulet, Facilitator, at 503-267-9255 or