Portlanders Speak Out On Planning Vision

In Portland, Oregon, results of a survey about the mayor's long-term planning vision reveal that many in the city feel development is pricing out the poor, and that policies cater more to encouraging economic development than to resident's interests.

2 minute read

March 12, 2007, 5:00 AM PDT

By Nate Berg

"The vision statements currently being drafted by the project - officially known as VisionPDX - are filled with such language, including numerous calls for a clean, green, diverse city where everyone is valued."

"But the project also has unearthed information that suggests many Portlanders are deeply worried the city is moving backward. Among other things, a significant number of the approximately 13,000 questionnaires collected last summer and fall reveal fears that Portland is becoming unaffordable."

"This is in part because of large-scale urban renewal projects approved by the City Council and carried out by the Portland Development Commission over the past decade."

But many are skeptical of the plan's utopian goals, and its lack of specific implementation strategies.

"Tensions identified so far include increasing density to accommodate population increases without reducing livability; balancing new motor-vehicle and mass-transit projects; finding economic development projects that favor small, locally owned businesses; and helping minorities and the poor cope with gentrification caused by rising property values."

"'People are very distrustful of government right now, but they don't see the private sector solving these problems. They are divided over whether government should take the lead, whether government should encourage businesses to solve these problems, or whether governments should support those businesses that share their values and not support those that don't,' said VisionPDX co-leader Sonali Balajee, a member of Potter's staff."

Friday, March 9, 2007 in The Portland Tribune

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