Portland area civic leaders gathered this morning at the East Portland Community Center to kick off the first round of community workshops for the Portland Plan. The first workshop will be held Tuesday evening at Beaumont Middle School at 6:30 p.m.
The Portland Plan will be a strategic roadmap to ensure the city is thriving, prosperous and sustainable for all residents. Through the development of the plan, Portlanders will help to define priorities, guide investment of public dollars and set the course for Portland for the next 25 years.
The Portland Plan is part of a state-mandated comprehensive plan update and will touch every neighborhood, district and resident as the city grows.
"Portland is a great city, but it's not great for everyone," said Mayor Sam Adams. "We have some real challenges ahead of us."
The last time the city developed a comprehensive plan was 1980; about 50 percent of Portlanders today were not here at that time. Because of the impact the plan will ultimately have on each resident of Portland, the city and its partners are asking for maximum community input over the next 15 months. Portlanders can weigh in at community workshops, complete a survey (online at www.pdxplan.com or included in December's Curbsider publication), and participate in the conversation through social media.
The goals of the first round of workshops are to get grounded in the facts facing Portland now, create a healthy dialogue around how to solve some of our major challenges, and set a course with short and long term goals and actions to shape the next quarter century of change.
Focus areas for public engagement
Public involvement in the Portland Plan is essential. Many of the issues the city is facing may be surprising to Portlanders. Some of these challenges are:
-- Only 63 percent of Portland's students graduate on time.
-- Portland's unemployment rate tops 11 percent.
-- Nearly 70 percent of the city's electricity use comes from fossil fuels.
-- It will take $136 million more per year just to maintain the city's aging infrastructure of bridges, signals, reservoirs, natural areas and civic buildings and maintain regulatory standards.
The 1980 comprehensive plan addressed many of the physical elements of Portland such as transportation infrastructure and creating a vibrant central city. The Portland Plan will build off that work while focusing heavily on the human elements in order to benefit the people living here over the next 25 years.
"Portland has benefited from a heritage of excellent planning," said Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. "Now it's our turn to look ahead 25 years and ensure the city continues to be thriving and sustainable as we grow."
In 2007, the City of Portland conducted visionPDX, which gathered information from more than 17,000 Portlanders about their vision for the city. Out of this process came a set of values that helped establish goals for the community. Now the Portland Plan is picking up the dialogue about how those goals can be realized.
Workshops for public engagement
The first round of community workshops start tomorrow, November 17, and run through December 15, in locations throughout Portland. The City and its partners are asking all Portlanders to weigh in on issues ranging from education, community health, arts and transportation to healthy food, job growth and protecting the environment. The workshop dates, times and locations are as follows:
Tuesday, Nov. 17 Saturday, Dec. 5
6:30-9 p.m. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Beaumont Middle School Mt. Scott Community Center
4043 NE Fremont Street 5530 SE 72nd Avenue
Thursday, Nov. 19 Monday, Dec. 7
6:30-9 p.m. 6:30-9 p.m.
David Douglas High School Wilson High School
1001 SE 135th Avenue 1151 SW Vermont Street
Tuesday, Dec. 1 Tuesday, Dec. 15
6:30-9 p.m. 6:30-9 p.m.
St. Johns Community Center University of Oregon, Old Town
8427 N Central Street 70 NW Couch Street
Thursday, Dec. 3
World Trade Center
121 SW Salmon Street