Portland’s City Council unanimously voted to adopt the Portland Plan yesterday afternoon. The vote follows last week’s public hearing on the plan, at which dozens of partners and community members expressed commitment to this long-range plan to ensure Portland is prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable from now until 2035.
The Portland Plan presents a roadmap to help our city thrive into the future. The result of more than two years of research, dozens of workshops and fairs, hundreds of meetings with community groups, and 20,000 comments from residents, businesses and nonprofits, the plan’s three integrated strategies and framework for advancing equity were designed to help achieve the plan’s goals.
Developed in response to some of Portland’s most pressing challenges, including income disparities, high unemployment, a low high school graduation rate and environmental concerns, the Portland Plan is practical, measured and strategic.
A plan for people, with equity at its core:
Portland is becoming a more racially, ethnically and age-diverse city, and nearly 40 percent of Portland’s youth are people of color. But not all Portlanders have equitable access to opportunities to achieve their full potential. Greater equity in the city as a whole is essential to our long-term success.
The Portland Plan strategies focus on Thriving Educated Youth, Economic Prosperity and Affordability, and a Healthy Connected City. Each strategy contains policies and five-year actions that will help us reach our goals, with special emphasis placed on those disparities related to race and ability.
“We need plans based less on politics and more on the facts,” said Mayor Sam Adams. “Portland is known for being a well-planned city, but the things we love about our city are not available to all. In a resource-constrained world, the Portland Plan recognizes that single actions must produce multiple benefits. This plan provides a framework for public agencies to maximize fiscal leverage and impact by aligning priorities and the budgets that support them.”
Collectively, the public agencies that operate within the City of Portland spend more than $8 billion annually. The Portland Plan challenges the City and its more than 20 agency partners (including Multnomah County, school districts, Metro, TriMet and others) to break down traditional bureaucratic silos and be innovative with new budget approaches.
The following are some examples from the five-year action plan:
Ensure Portland youth achieve educational success and self-sufficiency through the Cradle to Career initiative, and track youth outcomes from early childhood to early adulthood.
Create a neighborhood greenways network by completing 75 miles of new facilities, connecting every quadrant of the city to the Willamette River, creating bike connections to and from neighborhood hubs in southwest and East Portland, and developing a North Portland Neighborhood Greenway from Pier Park to Interstate Avenue.
Evaluate equity impacts through building regular assessment into the City’s budget, program and project list development for public services and community development programs, focusing on disparities that communities of color and other marginalized populations face.
Develop or update joint-use agreements between Portland Parks and Recreation and all local school districts, exploring coordinated operations, grounds management and shared facilities, particularly in areas underserved by community centers. Evaluate and mitigate the cumulative impact of City fees, including Systems Development Charges, on location and growth decisions of businesses, especially for businesses seeking flexible and lower cost Central City space.
Support and expand community-based crime prevention efforts and work to improve communication and understanding between police and the community.
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) led the development of the plan with extensive input from nine Technical Advisory Groups, public and nonprofit agencies, the business community and thousands of Portland residents. With a broader focus on economic, social and environmental sustainability, BPS provides the resources for problem-solving in a more integrated fashion with a broader set of tools beyond the comprehensive plan and zoning code.
“City staff researched plans from around the world — from Sydney, Australia to Copenhagen, Denmark and Denver, Colo. to New York City — to determine best practices and gather inspiration for the Portland Plan,” stated BPS Director Susan Anderson. “There’s no other city that is planning for change in quite the same way, with so many partners in alignment and ready to collaborate to reach our common goals.”