Portland is facing important trends and changes in the coming years, and visioning can help us build a cohesive plan to help us succeed. Communities are often focused on day-to-day problems and challenges. Without a vision to guide them, a community’s individual actions may not add up to a unified whole.

The forecasted trends predict that the Portland region will grow by an additional million people in the next 25 years. Those people will likely be more diverse and older on average than those here today. The industries that once drove our economy – forest products and transportation – are playing a smaller role, while high-tech and service jobs have been employing more of our workers. Global issues like climate change will impact our region. How can we ensure that we maintain the aspects of this city that we hold dear while planning for the future?

Community visioning is a powerful tool for managing change. Its primary purpose is to unite the community around common goals. Through the act of visioning, whole communities identify what they love most about their cities, so that those elements can be preserved and enjoyed by future generations. Visioning can also help communities reach agreement on their biggest challenges, how the choices we make might affect our future, and how we can balance these pressures in the face of change. Visioning projects give local government leaders direction on where the community wants to be in the future. Oregon cities have been at the forefront of a growing trend towards using visioning to set priorities for a community. Cities like Gresham, Corvallis, Hillsboro and Bend have completed visioning projects over the past decade, and the impacts on their communities have been far-reaching.

Over 15 years have passed since Portland’s government and our community last engaged in a “big picture” look at the future of our city, 1991’s Portland Future Focus. Since then, Portland has experienced significant demographic shifts, a rise in housing costs and continued growth. Many new Portlanders were not living here when our community last envisioned its future. Portland is ripe for a reevaluation of its values and direction.





The process by which a community sees or conceives its future. A collaborative effort involving all community members, leaders and officials in shaping:

A plan for the future we’d like for our city;

How we prioritize what issues and projects to tackle; and

How community members are involved in public decisions.

Vision into Action / 1900 SW 4th, Suite 7100 / Portland, Oregon 97204 / Phone: (503) 823-9585