100,000 Visions For Portland

The City of Portland's mayor has undertaken an effort to get input from more than 100,000 residents about what they want Portland to be. The city's alternative weekly paper, <em>The Mercury</em> has outlined its own vision for Portland's future.
August 4, 2006, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Simply put, we want Portland to make the leap from sleepy burg to real city. That means taller buildings downtown and throughout the city; denser, more bustling neighborhood centers with a mix of housing options andâ€"gasp!â€"nightlife; round-the-clock transit; a mayor who occasionally brawls with the city council; a vibrant arts scene (with more all ages music!), and businesses open late all over town."

That's basically the paper's dissertation on creating a new Portland, and though at first the goals seem a bit vague, they are followed by more concrete suggestions about how to attain these goals. This, The Portland Mercury says, will set it apart from the typical input of the public, which is being gathered at various public events, and even in a traveling polling booth called the "Vision Vessel". Overall the city expects to gather the opinions and advice of 100,000 residents, nearly one-fifth of the population.

"Frankly, we're skeptical that this huge effort is going to produce proportionately valuable results. With so much input, it seems the 'vision' will either be a muddled mess of platitudesâ€"residents will urge the city to go for nice, vague things like green space and sustainability and family friendlinessâ€"or a laundry list of hyper-specific wants from 100,000 people (like, 'Fix the pothole in front of my house!' and 'Give everyone a bike')."

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Published on Thursday, July 27, 2006 in The Portland Mercury
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