Portland's EcoDistricts

Launched in 2009 as an effort to choose five neighborhoods where sustainability measures could be quickly implemented and tested out, the city of Portland's EcoDistricts are entering their pilot phase.

Next American City talks with Portland Mayor Sam Adams about the project and what he hopes it will achieve.

"Next American City: Are the five chosen districts meant to be mixed use? How are you shaping what goes in the districts (retail, residential, etc.)?

Mayor Sam Adams: Portland's standard approach to district-making is to have mixed-income opportunities. Our best work is in housing, and we are now applying the same expectations to affordable, small independent commercial. We are moving forward on triple-bottom-line sustainability, not just for a shallow environmental footprint, but to provide people with economic security and prosperity and make sure that opportunities are equal for all to achieve more social justice and equity. Portland suffers from the same trends, to a lesser extent, as the nation at large in terms of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Meanwhile, the middle class is challenged like never before. Another focus of social equity is that in Portland, communities of color are in a worse position in terms of economic security when compared with similar communities in Seattle and San Francisco. So we have a lot of work to do. We get high praise for environmental sustainability, but we shouldn't sit on our laurels. We should always do more."

Full Story: An Interview with Portland Mayor Sam Adams

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