Robert Weissbourd talks about poverty, race, education, housing and economic development issues on MLK Day - January 14, 2011
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On Monday, January 17, the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here in Portland there will be many opportunities to remember the civil rights crusader, including attending the final event in the Portland Plan -- Inspiring Communities Series.

Bob Weissbourd, President. RW Ventures Rob Weissbourd

Keynote speaker Robert Weissbourd will talk about economic development on Monday night from 7-9 p.m. at the Mercy Corps Action Center, 45 SW Ankeny. Mr. Weissbourd has been a frequent public speaker and guest lecturer, as well as author, on a broad range of urban markets, poverty, race, education, housing and economic development issues. He has also testified on these issues before federal, state and local legislatures. His background in the public sector, desegregation and community economic development in inner cities provides Portlanders with a timely and relevant perspective on how the city can grow its economy and provide jobs across all sectors.


A nonresident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, he has been active for more than 25 years in community and civic organizations, including service as president or vice-president of the boards of City Colleges of Chicago, Crossroads Fund, Businesspeople in the Public Interest, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and PROCAN, as well as on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School, and the Advisory Committees for the (Chicago) Mayor’s Technology Advisory Committee, Brookings Metropolitan Economy Project and Brookings Urban Markets Initiative. 


Weissbourd founded RW Ventures, LLC in 2000. Previously, he served for 10 years in executive positions at Shorebank Corporation, including most recently as executive vice president of Shorebank Chicago Companies. Before joining Shorebank, Bob was a partner at Hartunian, Futterman & Howard, specializing in federal constitutional and class action litigation, school desegregation and representation of government and non-profit agencies. Bob clerked for federal Judge George Leighton, after receiving a J.D. from University of Chicago Law School and a B.A. from Yale University.


RW Ventures, LLC focuses on market-based strategies for regional and community economic development. Our goal is to achieve development outcomes and improve the quality of life of inner city residents by aligning business and community interests. Our work spans several areas, from expanding insurance markets to regional economic policy, and our projects range from neighborhood market development to analysis of the changing dynamics affecting economic performance.

Local Panelists

After Weissbourd's keynote address there will be a round table discussion with a local panel, including Aneshka Colas-Dickson, who serves on the Portland Development Commission; Sheila Martin, director of the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies and the Population Research Center at Portland State University; Glenn Montgomery, executive director of Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association (OSEIA); and Bob Tackett with the NW Oregon Labor Council. Erin Flynn, urban development director for the Portland Development Commission, will moderate.

Portland Plan -- Inspiring Communities Series

The Portland Plan will be a 25-year strategic plan for the City, and the direction it sets will touch every neighborhood, district and resident of the city as it grows. The plan will help to define priorities, guide investment of public dollars and set the course for Portland for the next quarter of a century. The plan is guided by the principles of equity, health and opportunity for all.
Keynote speakers for the series were chosen for their forward-thinking ideas and innovative work in the fields of education, economic development, equitable communities, environmental design and public health.

Past Presentations

Click on titles to see video recording of each presentation.


Sponsored by: City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, City Club of Portland, Portland State University, Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks & Recreation, Oregon Public Health Institute, The Standard, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Multnomah County Health Department and Portland Business Alliance


The Portland Plan team will make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Please notify us no fewer than five (5) business days prior to the event by phone at 503-823-7700, by the TTY line at 503-823-6868, or by the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.

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