Voices of the Portland Plan - June 3, 2010
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Voices of the Portland Plan
Stanley Penkin
Stanley Penkin

How do we measure the life of a city? The Portland Plan sets out to identify and discuss the core strategic elements that create a thriving and vibrant community. From the basic building blocks of housing and neighborhoods to the transportation systems that connect us to each other and to the educational system necessary to build our future, there is much that we need to think and talk about together as a community.


While all nine action areas described in the Portland Plan are essential and inexorably interconnected, there is one that is particularly close to my heart, and which I often think receives less attention than it should. “Arts, Culture and Innovation” speaks to the heart, soul and spirit of a community. While the arts are a major driver of economic development, including jobs, they also foster community, creativity, innovation and pride.
Think of what our city would be like without thriving museums, galleries, music and theater. Think of all the creative people who work for and guide those institutions and all the energy and creativity they imbue. Think of the void in our kids’ lives if the arts were not an essential ingredient of their education.
Without all the riches the arts add to our community, we would be a barren wilderness lacking spirit and soul. We would be a city and a region without identity. We can’t allow that to happen; we must consider the arts to be equally as important as all our other endeavors as we move forward in planning our next 25 years of being a sustainable, unique and flourishing city.


Stanley Penkin: A native New Yorker, Stan is currently “retired” but actively engaged in the development of green and sustainable infill projects in Portland. He is an avid supporter of the arts and is actively involved in the community, including chairing his homeowners’ association board, board member of Portland Center Stage and co-founder of the Oregon Arts and Culture Political Action Committee (artPAC), which promotes funding for the arts.

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