Phase II of ‘Portland Plan’ gets input from outer East Portland

Find out why City leaders were out, again, meeting with folks about this plan, and where they stand in the process …

Susan Anderson, Director of the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, welcomes attendees to the second series of Portland Plan workshops – here, at David Douglas High School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The “Portland Plan” – an 18-month process started in late 2009 – is billed as the City’s “roadmap” for the next 25 years, to provide guidance as Portland grows and changes.

“Today’s workshop is about the second phase of the Portland Plan program,” said Susan Anderson, Director of the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, at the event that was unfolding on May 15 at David Douglas High School. “In the first round we held 75 public meetings.”

During Phase II of the project, that they call “Setting Direction”, they’re working to identify goals and choosing targets to help meet them, Anderson continued.

A variety of information is set out for attendees to peruse, including several demographic handouts.

“In this process, we’re trying to get from hundreds of great ideas that we put out so far, starting from the VisionPDX [under Mayor Tom Potter], and get some sense of direction,” continued Anderson.

She added, “We’re looking at a lot of big issues – from education to housing to jobs and transportation – and land use. The Portland Plan is really all about how to we work with issues, including the environment – and how we link them all together to create sort of a vision for the next 25 years.”

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz “warms up” the crowd, saying these meetings dedicated to civic equity.

All about equality
“What I’m most excited about is that equity is not a part of the plan,” Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz told us, just before she started the session. “Equity is the plan. It’s the whole focus here.”

Fritz pointed out that City-wide equity was one of the major planks in her political campaign’s platform that elected her to the office. “All of the topic points revolve around equity; all kinds of equity – geographic, demographic.”

The fact that the East Portland Action Plan is fully funded in the Mayor’s budget, Fritz said, is a good sign that leaders are paying attention to East Portland needs. “Folks in East Portland have done a really good job of advocating and educating Portland City Council.”

Portland Mayor Sam Adams gets the session underway.

Long time outer East Portland educator Teena Ainslie and David Douglas School Superintendent Barbara Rommel.

Mayor says Plan helps guide funding decisions
In his opening remarks, Portland Mayor Sam Adams said, “It’s unlikely that were going to have new money raining down out of the sky. It’s important that we must get the very best value we can for the money. This is true with every dollar that is spent in the City of Portland, State, federal, and local governments.”

As with Part I of the exercise, Adams said that, while the overarching discussion is about creating equity the discussion covers nine topic areas. “We put ‘equity’ in a category, to make sure it is on the list.”

The discussion areas are:

  • Prosperity, business success & equity;
  • Education & skill development;
  • Arts, culture & innovation;
  • Sustainability & the Natural environment;
  • Human health, food & Public safety;
  • Quality of life & civic engagement;
  • Design, planning & public spaces;
  • Neighborhoods & housing; and,
  • Transportation, technology & access.

With her remote “preference indicating responder” (referred to as a “clicker”) in hand, Hazelwood Neighborhood Association chair Arlene Kimura votes on a topic area.

Your ‘clickers’, please
As is popular at many City workshops, each of the about 50 attendees was supplied with a remote-control voting device which Adams calls a “clicker”. With these they enter demographic information about themselves, and vote on issues.

This information is tabulated, and shown on computer projection screen as the meeting proceeded.

Mayor Adams leads a discussion at the workshop.

Next steps
“We’ll be putting together the draft Plan during the summer,” the Planning Bureau’s Anderson stated. “The next round of participation, Phase III, will probably be held in September. It could be workshops; it could be one big event.”

By the end of the year, the Planning Bureau will submit the Portland Plan to the City Council for review, and adoption,” Anderson concluded.

For more information about the Portland Plan, visit their special section of the City’s website: CLICK HERE.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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