Draft Portland Plan Released To Public

By Dave Garlock, Communications Intern
 
The Portland Plan, a draft of which was released on October 17th for public review, envisions a equitable, healthy, prosperous and educated Portland in the year 2035.  It doesn’t just set out goals, however; the plan has many concrete actions intended to realize this future.
 
The Portland Plan’s overarching framework is an improvement in equity, which it defines as “everyone having access to the opportunities necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential.”  The plan also features three integrated strategies, which are goals in their own right, that also lead to greater equity.  These are: cultivating a thriving, educated youth, encouraging economic prosperity and affordability, and building a healthy, connected city.  As an example, some areas of Portland lack easy access to parks and fresh food.  Building parks and encouraging grocery stores and community gardens in these areas makes the city as a whole healthier, and improves equity by giving everyone in the city access to these resources.  
 
The Portland Plan isn’t just a vision, though: it assigns a variety of indicators and benchmarks to measure whether progress is being made towards its goals.  One concept of interest to 1000 Friends is what the plan calls "complete neighborhoods", which the plan defines as the percentage of people living within a half mile of sidewalk-accessible grocery stores, schools, parks and transit.  This proportion is currently under 50 percent citywide, and the Portland Plan’s goal is to reach 90% by 2035. 
 
As 1000 Friends has advocated throughout Oregon, connecting residents more thoroughly to work, shopping, school, and parks, with a variety of transportation options, accomplishes several important goals simultaneously. In these communities, people save money on transportation, are healthier because they walk and bike more, and have a much lighter impact on the environment. Click here to learn more about 1000 Friends' work advocating for vibrant neighborhoods and communities.
 
The plan highlights many actions to achieve its lofty goals, both for the City of Portland and for many partner agencies, and collaboration is emphasized. For example, it calls for a planning and investment strategy across agencies that focuses on a system of neighborhood hubs and city greenways in regional planning.  Among other positive effects, this will help to increase the percentage of people living in complete neighborhoods.
 
The Portland Plan had its roots in 2005's visionPDX, in which 17,000 Portlanders shared their views of what they wanted in their city. Afterwards, more than 20 background reports were developed.  Nearly 4,500 people participated in outreach events to review these reports, and 13,000 more completed surveys. Now the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission seeks additional public input on the current draft.  They’re asking for comments by email and mail, and will hold a series of hearings throughout November. Following approval by the Commission, the Plan will move to City Council next year.