understand and appreciate the value of long-term community
Most respondents who mention planning value Portland’s
history of strong, forward-thinking planning. They credit
past planning efforts with creating the livable, unique,
beautiful Portland they see today and look to planners
to continue this legacy into the future. Where disagreement
and discontent emerge is in regard to the current state
of planning, which many feel suffers from a lack of
long-range vision and insufficient public input. Portlanders
believe in long-range planning and want to work with
planners to bring about a city that is true to their
values. Many express gratitude to visionPDX for soliciting
their opinions and state their hope that a community-led
vision can guide current and future long-term planning
from this section overlap at and times repeat those
noted in Government:
Spending and Urban
Livability: Land Use.
long-range planning has helped make Portland what
must build on its legacy of successful long-term planning.
- Currently, planning seems
divorced from a long-term community vision.
- Economic development planning
- Community members value
the opportunity to participate in shaping the city’s
- To what extent is the
community involved in the planning process?
long-range planning has helped make Portland
what it is.
- Portlanders are aware of the role that planning
has played in creating a livable urban environment.
- Many respondents cite with pride Portland’s
past planning achievements such as Pioneer
Courthouse Square, the Urban Growth Boundary
and Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
- Many feel that previous planning efforts
owe a large part of their success to high
levels of public involvement in the planning
has many great parks and neighborhoods
which allows its residents to feel comfortable
and friendly to strangers. The community
feeling encourages political and social
dialogue which further the minds and hearts
of our citizens. A + for city planning!”
love the way Portland has a history of
thoughtful city planning. The wonderful
mix of parks with neighborhoods. The environmentally
friendly ethic, recycling at the curb,
bike and other means of transportation
incorporated into the planning. The Urban
PDX is very eclectic, and the planning
is well-done. Local businesses and restaurants
are wonderful. Different community events—Waterfront
and Pioneer Square events, concerts at
the zoo. The rebuilding of neighborhoods.
The mixed income/development housing.
Love the parks. Why: PDX makes me feel
good. PDX is unique.”
must build on its legacy of successful long-term
- As the city grows, Portland must update
its long-range plans and create new plans
so that the city’s cherished livability and
unique character are maintained.
- Strong planning can continue to distinguish
Portland from “Anywhere, USA” and set a positive
example to cities across the country and around
2030, Portland is] a beacon for the rest
of the world as the most livable, inviting,
and functional city in America. A place
that policy makers turn to when they take
on the inevitable work of re-making their
sprawling, unsustainable urban places
into livable cities again.”
2030] we have created an atmosphere of
success…good companies want to move here
for the quality of life, the brilliant
work force, the visionary city planning.
Resources go to preventing problems rather
than fixing past shortsightedness.”
planning seems divorced from a long-term community
- Many wonder who currently shapes planning:
the public? Developers? A community vision?
- There is the perception that currently,
many major decisions are not guided by a long-range
community plan but rather by here-and-now
pressures from influential stakeholders.
- A clear community vision can provide guidance
to policymakers and planners and prevent “developers
from deciding what’s best for Portland.”
- It is important for decision-makers to have
a long-term plan to look to in order to resist
the pressures of elections, politics, annual
or two-year budgets and special interest groups.
want us to return to a vision that looks
ahead, not just at money and growth. We
will end up like Seattle if we continue
to let developers decide what is good
simply there is no real leadership or
vision in Portland. There’s a lot of growth
and change, but no unifying vision of
what this city is going to become.”
2030] money does not govern the vision
of the city. Rather healthy and prosperous
- “Plan beyond a single political
term in office. Get widespread public buy-in
so that it doesn’t fizzle when the current
leader is replaced. Start today.”
- “Get out more and talk to the people who
actually live and work in the city and rely
less on the input of big businesses and developers
who have their own financial agendas.”
development planning needs re-alignment.
- Many respondents are concerned about the
influence that developers seem to have over
the economic development planning process.
They want planning to be shaped by the vision
of the community and the City Council, not
by those who stand to profit from the plans
(such as developers).
- There is concern that the Portland Development
Commission (PDC) in particular is out of touch
with the community’s values and vision (see
- Many express the desire to align PDC’s short-term
and mid-term economic development plans with
a broader, long-range community vision.
development commission has drifted from
the original vision and come to be too
dominated by business interest with a
sacrifice for the long-term vision and
members value the opportunity to participate
in shaping the city’s future.
- Community members want to be directly involved
in shaping the future of their city.
- A number of people thank visionPDX in the
survey for asking them to share their thoughts
on the city’s future.
value the fact that we have a local government
that would ask us questions like these,
and so many citizens with answers! Thank
like that Portland values its people.
This is demonstrated in so many ways –
shutting down freeways for the Bridge
Pedal (I am so proud of Portland for doing
that!), having human-friendly building
codes… conducting surveys like this one.
It is clear that Portland values its people
and that its people value Portland.”
- “Through the visionPDX – create/distill
a top 10 list of things we can do. Look for
those things we can do on a daily basis.”
what extent is the community involved in the planning
While most agree that the City has excelled at public
involvement in the past, there is disagreement over
whether or not the City is currently doing a good
job of involving the public in the planning process.
Three main views are articulated:
Public involvement is working.
Some respondents feel that current public involvement
efforts are very good and applaud the City for being
accessible to community feedback and encouraging
this feedback through efforts like visionPDX. These
community members express gratitude for the opportunity
to get involved and cite Portland’s public involvement
efforts as part of what makes the city livable.
Public involvement needs to be broadened.
A second group believes in the public involvement
process but feels that it leaves out significant
constituencies, such as people with disabilities and
ethnic minorities. These respondents question the
lack of minority voices in leadership positions
and call for more concerted outreach efforts into
serious recruitment of minorities to participate
in all aspects of city planning. Note: this
does not mean inviting over and over the usual
Public involvement is suspect.
A third perspective voiced is that current public
involvement efforts are not genuine and simply mask
the influence that developers and other “insiders”
have on the planning process. These respondents
feel that public involvement is paid lip service
while “the usual suspects” are actually shaping
policy and planning decisions. Some of these individuals
also question visionPDX, wondering “what will be
done with all of our answers?” They like the concept
of visionPDX but noted that no where (website, City
promotion, etc…) does it mention how the feedback
will be used or whether citizens will have access
to this feedback.
like decision-makers to involve the public
earlier and in ways that are meaningful, not