connectedness is a major theme and over-arching value
The sense of being connected to a vibrant local community
differentiates Portland from other cities and is a quality
of Portland that community members seek to preserve
and enhance. Portlanders believe neighborhood features
such as commercial hubs, walkable streets and public
spaces create a strong sense of community among residents.
They also believe that Portlanders’ caring, helpful,
friendly attitudes contribute to creating a strong sense
of community. At the same time, they worry about different
communities becoming isolated from each other, and want
the City to develop innovative ways for people from
different communities to come together, whether to work
on common projects or on organizing community events.
Note: Community connectedness appears
as a major theme throughout this entire report and can
be found in many other chapters, including: Urban
Livability: Neighborhood Livability, Urban
Livability: Small Town Feeling, Urban
Livability: The People and Social
Issues: Civic Engagement.
connectedness distinguishes Portland from other cities.
policies and practices help create a strong sense
- Portland’s different communities
could be more connected.
- Gentrification weakens
connectedness distinguishes Portland from
- Portlanders cite with gratitude the strong
sense of community they feel living in this
city. Many contrast this with the lack of
community in other major American cities.
- Time and again, Portlanders state their
belief that community matters, and that it
is important for individuals to be part of
a larger community.
- Portlanders value a caring community, one
that seeks to support those in need of help
- Portlanders are suspicious of those things
that are seen as weakening community, such
as gentrification, neighborhood school closures
or the arrival of “big box” stores such as
I value most is] community interconnectedness—I
can rarely go somewhere without running
into someone I know.”
love how much Portland values its sense
of community and independent spirit. I
have been in much larger cities with huge
budgets, and they don’t offer half the
number of great public events or services
that Portland does.”
policies and practices help create a strong
sense of community.
- Portlanders do not believe that community
connectedness happens by chance. Rather, they
see it as something that is actively created
through public and private actions and decisions.
- Portlanders credit the following with helping
to build a strong sense of community:
- Land use planning practices, especially
the Urban Growth Boundary, which has resulted
in higher density living;
- The neighborhood hub structure, which
makes it easy for people to walk to local
services and run into people they know;
- The abundance of small, locally-owned
businesses, which build connections between
sellers and buyers;
- Public transportation, which builds
community by putting people in closer
proximity to each other.
- The general friendliness and openness
of the people that live in Portland;
- The abundance of free and affordable
community events, including open-air concerts,
programs at libraries, music in the parks
and street festivals; and
- The neighborhood farmers markets, which
provide opportunities to connect with
neighborhoods as well as local food producers.
is very important to me to feel connected
to my immediate community, and Portland’s
land use planning and emphasis on community
development helps make this happen.”
things that bind a community together:
livable/affordable housing, parks, community
centers, etc… this will make people feel
that they belong to a group—less likely
to commit crimes, etc…”
2030] all neighborhoods have at least
one place—such as a SUN school or a public
library—that creates a de facto village
hall: a physical center and meeting place
for the community.”
- Build more community centers and
neighborhood gathering places. Many, many
people ask for this.
- Create more community gardens throughout
- Encourage the use of public transportation
and expand public transit to serve all neighborhoods
- Create more parks and greenspaces, especially
around high-density housing developments.
- Promote more community radio stations,
new newspapers, and better use of the internet
for publicizing meetings, issues, events and
different communities could be more connected.
- Many people see Portland as a city of villages,
or a city of different communities.
- However, these different communities do
not always interact. In fact, many speak of
different groups of people “self-segregating”
and not interacting as frequently or effectively
as they could.
- Many Portlanders speak of the importance
of building bridges between different communities,
especially between communities that are culturally
demographics of Portland are changing
and while I think there’s a fair degree
of tolerance among various ethnic and
racial groups, that may not actually be
the case. Certainly there is voluntary
segregation among the communities. I would
like to see more commonality.”
would also like to see more interaction
between the city’s diverse cultural and
social pockets, resulting in creative
projects that bridge economic racial,
and cultural divides.”
events that bring members from all communities
- A large number of Portlanders are concerned and/or
upset about the gentrification that has taken
place and continues to take place in Portland.
- As prices rise as a result of gentrification,
some long-time residents and business owners
are forced out of their neighborhoods, weakening
the fabric of those communities.
- Many Portlanders feel that gentrification
poses an unacceptable threat to community
and ask the City to actively combat and, where
necessary, reverse patterns of gentrification.
seems like many of the new arrivals in
NE Portland don’t want to get to know
or be part of a real community with (black)
folks who’ve lived here much longer.”
and support home ownership. Gentrification,
in the form of property sold to investors,
prices out the very people who give neighborhoods
their vitality. What’s left are people
who work so hard to be able to live there
that they have little to give to their