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My Portland Plan: How Baby-Boomers and Millennials Might Be Tipping the Scale Toward Even More Active Transportation Use
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In a previous post, we discussed how Portlanders in the past few decades have steadily shifted their preferred way of commuting to work away from driving alone to more active transportation options. Recall in 1990, 68 percent of commuters drove alone to work. By 2000, that number was down to 64 percent. In 2011, less than 60 percent of Portland workers were driving alone to work.


Commuters on Hawthorne BridgeIn this follow-up post, we’ll discuss how that trend will most likely continue over the next few decades, given demographic trends. And keep Portland on track towards its goal: by 2035, 70 percent of commuters will either take transit, bike, walk, telecommute or carpool.


Portland is on the path towards that future, but much work still must be done. The good news is, we have demographics on our side. Over the next few decades, the scales may tip with the preferences of the baby boomers and their children — the Millennials — of the later 1970s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s.


Combined, they are the largest population group. And their preferences will shape the mobility landscape in the years to come.


Just as boomers’ preference for driving shaped the development of the country over the last forty to fifty years, so too, as they age, will their increasing preference to take transit shape how the urban landscape evolves. Their children, who make up an even larger group than the boomers, will have a similar impact, if not more.


How these demographic groups choose to live and get around will have an impact on all Portlanders.


The American Assocation of Retired Persons recently reported that as baby boomers move into retirement age and older, driving will continue to steadily decline as an option for getting around. And more and more seniors will increasingly depend on a variety of public transportation options.


On the other end of the age spectrum, fewer teens, 20-somethings and early 30-somethigs are falling in love with the car culture. Fewer young people are getting their driver’s license. Researchers and various media report that between half and two-thirds of 18-year olds had their driving licenses in 2008; in 1983, more than 80 percent had their licenses. And they’re buying fewer cars.


Millenials also don’t mind getting around by transit, walking or biking. Carpooling and even car-sharing is an acceptable alternative. Owning a car is not out of the question, so long as they do not have to spend so much of their income on a monthly payment.


Millenials also prefer — even demand — a more urban lifestyle. They tend to want something different from the suburban way of life of their parents’ generation. Most young workers today want to live in a more urban setting.


And more and more, too, Millenials are choosing to live alone (or with a dog). Thus, the trend is towards smaller and smaller households that demand less space.


Given these demographic trends, a variety of policies will need to be put in place to address mobility and access services and the complementary land use activities that reinforce such services. To be sure, over the long run, investment in public transportation to make it more accessible to seniors will also benefit young working adults. And building communities that invite more transit use, walking and bicycling, while also supporting affordable and inclusive housing options, will help spread the benefits of good living to all Portlanders.


Given these preferences of the two largest population cohorts, it should be no surprise, then, that a high probability of better quality urbanism is in all of our futures. 

January 8, 2013

Comprehensive Plan Update E-news, December 2012
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Holiday outreach; Working Draft release date; February and March workshop dates; web stats; PEG updates


December 14, 2012

My Portland Plan: Active Transportation Gradually Becoming the Preferred Commute Choice for Portlanders
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Portlanders are increasingly choosing to take transit, walk or ride a bike to work. A fair number are even bypassing the commute altogether and working from home. By including workers who carpool, about 40 percent of workers are getting to work without driving alone in a car.


In 1990, 68 percent of commuters drove alone to work. By 2000, that number was down to 64 percent. As of 2011, less than 60 percent of Portland workers are driving alone to work, whereas the regional average is above 70 percent, and the national average is over 75 percent.


2011 Portland (City Only) Commuting Characteristics

 Commute mode-split chart

Source: 2009-2011 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimate.


For Portland, the steady decline in driving alone to work — about 4 percent per decade — can, in part, be attributed to better infrastructure that makes it easier for people to choose active transportation options.


Most notably, from 1990 to 2010 commuting by bicycle increased from 1 percent to 6 percent. In 1996, fewer than 150 miles of bikeway facilities existed in the city. By 2008,Portlandhad more than 300 miles of bikeways.


While walking stayed relatively the same during that period (around 5 percent), transit use increased from 10 to 12 percent. And working from home more than doubled, from 3 percent to 7 percent.


While the City continues to make progress, its goal is for 70 percent of commuters to either take transit, bike, walk, telecommute or carpool in the next two to three decades.


This is a daunting challenge, but it is possible. Some cities are already there. We can learn from them and find inspiration in what they’ve done not only to address sustainable transport — but equitable mobility as well.


From Berlin to Beijing, Copenhagen to Curitiba, Bogota to Zurich, Dresden to Shanghai, Barcelona to Paris, and even New York City to Amsterdam — all of these cities have urban forms and transportation systems that cultivate a way of living that makes it easier to get around in ways other than by private automobile.


For Portland to do the same, we would do well to study, and perhaps even apply, some of their tools and programs. These actions increase social capital and improve overall mobility and access for all while reducing greenhouse gases. 

November 29, 2012

Comprehensive Plan Update E-News, November 2012
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Overview of parking study, CPU working draft, industrial lands and watershed health working group; disaster planning; and Policy Expert Groups update


November 13, 2012

New zoning along SE 122nd Ave will improve livability, economic vitality in outer SE Portland
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City Council adopts the SE 122nd Ave Rezoning Project on October 17


November 6, 2012

Comprehensive Plan Update Enews, October 2012
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Latest updates on the “factual basis,” parking study and forum, community involvement survey, Policy Expert Groups and more


October 18, 2012

My Portland Plan: Portland is Growing More Diverse
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Portland is often characterized as a “white” city, and it’s true. The largest segment of the city’s population is white. But since 1980, the demographic makeup of the city has increasingly become more diverse. In 1980, the white population was more than 80 percent of the city’s total population; by 2010 it was a little over 70 percent of the population.


Graph showing Portland's population growth for different races since 1980 


Over the last 30 years, Portland’s population has grown from roughly 370,000 to 584,000. And with that growth has come diversity, which is not too different from the national trend.


The most notable increases have occurred among Hispanics and Asians. In 1980 they each made up less than 3 percent of the population. In 2010, Hispanics were more than 10 percent of the population — an eight-fold increase overall — and Asians 7 percent, nearly a four-fold increase.


Increases in the Black population over the last 30 years have been much less dramatic. While they have grown in absolute numbers, the increase has been comparably small; just under 8,000 people in 30 years. Blacks in 2010 make up 6 percent of the population, down from 7.1 percent in 1980.


The Native American and Alaskan Native population and Other race groups have also contributed to Portland’s growing diversity. Changes in reporting (“some other race” was introduced in 2000) contributed to the large increase between 1990 and 2000. Combined, the NA-AN and Other race groups account for about 5 percent of the city’s population in 2010. But the proportions may be actually slightly higher. According to members of the Native American communities, Native Americans may be undercounted in the Census. According to “The Native American Community” profile that is part of the Communities of Color reports, a community-verified population count — explorations into the actual numbers — suggests the community may be undercounted by nearly 50 percent in Multnomah County.


In absolute numbers, the white population has had the largest amount of growth, an increase of over 100,000. But their proportion of total population has decreased as all other groups have grown proportionally.


So Portland is arguably becoming a more diverse city. While still not as diverse as other places in the country, the city is on a trajectory to become much more culturally, racially and ethnically diverse. It just may take some time —perhaps a generation or two.

October 1, 2012

Portland Plan Shapes New Plans for Central City
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The Portland Plan is being implemented through two new plans heading to the Planning and Sustainability Commission for a public hearing tomorrow, Sept. 11, starting at 1:30 p.m. The Central City 2035 Concept Plan and the N/NE Quadrant Plan were developed under the guiding framework of the Portland Plan and represent the application of the City's new strategic plan to a district plan and smaller subareas.


The CC2035 Concept Plan positions the Central City as the region's Center for Innovation and Exchange, and the final plan will give the City and partner agencies a blueprint for future investment -- much like the 1972 Downtown Plan and the 1988 Central City Plan. The NE Quadrant Plan is actually two integrated plans that address community needs for economic development, improved mobility and transportation safety, and healthy and vibrant communities in the Lower Albina and Lloyd Districts.


For more information about the Central City 2035 project, please visit www.portlandonline.com/bps/cc2035.

For more informaiton about the N/NE Quadrant Plan, please go to http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/cc2035/nneq.

September 10, 2012

My Portland Plan: Collaborating with Greater Portland Pulse to Track and Measure Our Community's Success
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The City of Portland is stepping up its collaboration with Greater Portland Pulse to ensure that the Portland Plan Measures of Success data are tracked and updated on a regular basis. Greater Portland Pulse is the regional indicator effort coordinated by Portland State University’s (PSU) Institute of Metropolitan Studies. The City’s collaboration with Greater Portland Pulse will help the Portland Plan partners monitor key indicators of community health and prosperity, such as obesity rates, air quality standards and income distribution.


Using data visualization tools available through Greater Portland Pulse, both the City and Portland State University can highlight the progress in the city and the region toward more equitable, prosperous and healthy communities. This effort can also help reveal issues — geographic, economic or social — that we collectively need to pay more attention to.


The maps below are an example of how we can sort, arrange and visually represent data — and track it over time —  using the tool “Weave,” which makes interacting with and studying the data accessible and engaging for anyone with an interest in graphic representation of statistics. 


Take a look at the high school graduation rates for different classes from 2008-11, for example. Studying the map and data, you’ll notice the subtle shifts over the last few school years not only in the school districts that serve Portland proper, but also in the region as a whole.


Mapping the Portland Plan Measures of Success

At the heart of the Portland Plan is equity. Actions in the plan attempt to address disparities based on class and race. The maps and charts shown here are just one way to gauge our progress toward a more equitable Portland. In this case, using the Greater Portland Pulse data visualization tool, you can see the gap in graduation rates between students of color and white and Asian students. Lower graduation rates are associated with lower employment opportunities, as well as other measures of success. The visualization tool can help to illuminate these gaps, thus increasing awareness and elevating the issue of disparities across class and different population groups.


Over the coming year, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the Institute of Metropolitan Studies will be working together to highlight those measures that matter to you. From education to economic opportunity, affordable housing to how we get around, and a healthy environment to healthy people, the collaboration between the City and the Greater Portland Pulse project will help keep decision-makers and residents, too, on track toward a shared desired future: a prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable Portland.


Visit www.myportlandplan.com to learn what you can do today to make Portland better tomorrow. 

High School Graduation Rates 2008-2009

2008-2009 HS Grad Rates

High School Graduation Rates 2009-2010

2009-2010 HS Grad Rates

High School Graduation Rates 2010-2011

2010-2011 HS Grad Rates

August 2, 2012

Portland Plan Implementation is Underway
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City and agency partners begin working to implement Portland Plan actions

The Portland Plan, adopted in April 2012, is in the early stages of implementation. The City’s Office of Equity and Human Rights is now up and running, and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is reaffirming commitments from local agency partners and drafting intergovernmental agreements. BPS will also be coordinating with other City bureaus to ensure their budgets are aligned with Portland Plan principles, goals and objectives.


In addition, the Portland Plan is being implemented through the Comprehensive Plan Update, which is currently underway. The Comprehensive Plan helps the City prepare for and manage expected population and employment growth, as well coordinate major public investments. The equity framework and three integrated strategies of the Portland Plan will guide the Comprehensive Plan Update. Eight Policy Expert Groups (PEGs) have begun to meet and are advising staff in multiple policy areas. Please see www.portlandonline.com/bps/pdxcompplan for more information.


These are just a few early steps. More implementation activities will continue throughout the summer. And over the next year, we’ll keep you up to date on all implementation activity. So stay tuned…

June 26, 2012

Portland City Council unanimously adopts the Portland Plan
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Portland’s City Council unanimously voted to adopt the Portland Plan on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. The vote followed the previous week’s public hearing on the plan, at which dozens of partners and community members expressed commitment to this long-range plan to ensure Portland is prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable from now until 2035.


The Portland Plan presents a strategic roadmap to help our city thrive into the future. The result of more than two years of research, dozens of workshops and fairs, hundreds of meetings with community groups, and 20,000 comments from residents, businesses and nonprofits, the plan’s three integrated strategies and framework for advancing equity were designed to help achieve the plan’s goals.


Developed in response to some of Portland’s most pressing challenges, including income disparities, high unemployment, a low high school graduation rate and environmental concerns, the Portland Plan is practical, measured and strategic.


Portland is becoming a more racially, ethnically and age-diverse city, and nearly 40 percent of Portland’s youth are people of color. But not all Portlanders have equitable access to opportunities to achieve their full potential. Greater equity in the city as a whole is essential to our long-term success.


The Portland Plan strategies focus on Thriving Educated Youth, Economic Prosperity and Affordability, and Healthy Connected City. Each strategy contains policies and five-year actions that will help us reach our goals, with special emphasis placed on those disparities related to race and ability.


“We need plans based less on politics and more on the facts,” said Mayor Sam Adams. “Portland is known for being a well-planned city, but the things we love about our city are not available to all. In a resource-constrained world, the Portland Plan recognizes that single actions must produce multiple benefits. This plan provides a framework for public agencies to maximize fiscal leverage and impact by aligning priorities and the budgets that support them.”


Collectively, the public agencies that operate within the City of Portland spend more than $8 billion annually. The Portland Plan challenges the City and its more than 20 agency partners (including Multnomah County, school districts, Metro, TriMet and others) to break down traditional bureaucratic silos and be innovative with new budget approaches.


The following are some examples from the five-year action plan:

  • Ensure Portland youth achieve educational success and self-sufficiency through the Cradle to Career initiative, and track youth outcomes from early childhood to early adulthood.

  • Create a neighborhood greenways network by completing 75 miles of new facilities, connecting every quadrant of the city to the Willamette River, creating bike connections to and from neighborhood hubs in southwest and East Portland, and developing a North Portland Neighborhood Greenway from Pier Park to Interstate Avenue.

  • Evaluate equity impacts through building regular assessment into the City’s budget, program and project list development for public services and community development programs, focusing on disparities that communities of color and other marginalized populations face.

  • Develop or update joint-use agreements between Portland Parks and Recreation and all local school districts, exploring coordinated operations, grounds management and shared facilities, particularly in areas underserved by community centers.

  • Evaluate and mitigate the cumulative impact of City fees, including Systems Development Charges, on location and growth decisions of businesses, especially for businesses seeking flexible and lower cost Central City space.

  • Support and expand community-based crime prevention efforts and work to improve communication and understanding between police and the community.


The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) led the development of the plan with extensive input from nine Technical Advisory Groups, public and nonprofit agencies, the business community and thousands of Portland residents. With a broader focus on economic, social and environmental sustainability, BPS provides the resources for problem-solving in a more integrated fashion with a broader set of tools beyond the comprehensive plan and zoning code.


“City staff researched plans from around the world — from Sydney, Australia to Copenhagen, Denmark and Denver, Colo. to New York City — to determine best practices and gather inspiration for the Portland Plan,” stated BPS Director Susan Anderson. “There’s no other city that is planning for change in quite the same way, with so many partners in alignment and ready to collaborate to reach our common goals.”


Read the Portland Plan – Recommended Draft


Watch the Portland Plan video

May 1, 2012

Portland Plan to be presented at City Council hearing on Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m.
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After two-plus years, dozens of workshops and fairs, hundreds of meetings with community groups, and incorporating more than 20,000 comments, the Portland Plan is heading to City Council for a public hearing. Many thanks to the countless numbers of Portlanders who contributed to the plan and gave their time, energy and resources to help make it happen. Now it's time to take it to the finish line!


Public hearing on Portland Plan – Recommended Draft

Wednesday, April 18, 6 p.m.

Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave, Council Chambers, Second Floor


All members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you are unable to come to the hearing in person, feel free to stream it live from this website or tune into cable Channel 30 for a live broadcast.


Many agency partners have signed up to testify, including representatives from several City bureaus, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, Multnomah County, Portland Public Schools, Portland State University, David Douglas School District, the Port of Portland, the business community and nonprofit agencies.


You can share your thoughts about the Portland Plan with the City Council, too. All comments on the Portland Plan - Recommended Draft must be provided to the Council Clerk to become part of the official record -- either in person at the hearing or by mail or email.

By mail/hand delivery
Council Clerk, Karla Moore-Love
Re: Portland Plan
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 140
Portland, OR 97204


By email


Have a question? Please call Marty Stockton at 503-823-1303.


The Portland Plan is a strategic roadmap to guide our community over the next 25 years. Developed to respond to some of Portland’s most pressing challenges, including income disparities, high unemployment, a low high school graduation rate, and environmental and human health concerns, the Portland Plan charts a course that is practical, strategic and community focused.


City Council will consider the plan and listen to partner agency and public testimony in advance of a vote to adopt the plan. Council will meet again about the Portland Plan on Wednesday, April 25.


Public Transportation

Call TriMet at 503-238-7433 or go to www.trimet.org for routes and times of buses that serve this location.


The City of Portland is committed to providing equal access to information. If you need accommodations, please contact us by phone 503-823-7700, by the city’s TTY at 503-823-6868 or by the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.

April 17, 2012

The Portland Plan - Recommended Draft is heading to City Council
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Three years in the making, incorporating more than 20,000 comments and with the cooperation of more than 20 agency partners, The Portland Plan – Recommended Draft will be presented to City Council on April 18 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. With adoption of the Portland Plan within our sights, it’s time to acknowledge the many Portlanders who have been involved in the creation of this once-in-a-generation plan that provides a roadmap for Portland’s future. 


THANK YOU, Portland, for your contributions to the Portland Plan. It's a better plan for it.


The video below is a testament to the work of our entire community, without whom the Portland Plan would not exist. In it, you'll see the successes that we enjoy, the challenges that we face and the path forward for a more prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable Portland. It concludes with pledges from some of our partners, who will help us implement the plan.



But there are also actions that every Portlander can take to help make this plan happen. My Portland Plan presents ideas for individuals, businesses and schools to be a part of Portland's future.


So, whether you were born and raised here, took refuge in the city's unique and diverse communities or sought a better way of life in Portland, you can be part of this major communitywide effort.


We invite you to join us and our agency and institutional partners, business representatives and community members as we present the Recommended Draft of the Portland Plan to City Council on April 18 at 6 p.m. If you cannot attend or would rather watch the hearing from the comfort of your own home, you can stream online at www.portlandonline.com or tune into cable access Channel 30


Read the plan



March 19, 2012

Recommended Draft of the Portland Plan online for your review
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The Portland Plan - Recommended Draft is now available for review. This is the text that will go before City Council on Wedneseday, April 18, 2012, at 6 p.m. for a hearing and eventual adoption. This version of the draft plan incorporates the many public comments that were given during testimony at the Planning and Sustainability Commission hearings in November of last year as well as hundreds of written comments. It also includes revisions subsequently requested by the PSC.


We think this is a better document because of all your input. Thank you for your contributions to this plan for the future of our city.


The City of Portland will make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. Please notify us no fewer than five (5) business days prior to the event or when you need the materials by phone 503-823-7700, by the city’s TTY at 503-823-6868 or by the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.

March 13, 2012

Portland Plan Summary in Spanish
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El Resumen del Borrador del Plan de Portland ahora está disponible en español, chino, ruso y vietnamita

La integración es un principio básico en el Plan de Portland, el plan de 25 años de nuestra ciudad para asegurar que Portland sea una ciudad próspera, saludable y equitativa para todos. Ahora bien, una breve descripción del plan se ha traducido a cuatro idiomas adicionales: español chino, ruso y vietnamita.


El folleto incluye las metas del Plan de Portland, una descripción sobre la forma en la que se creó el plan, una lista de temas y retos a los que ataca el plan, y ejemplos de artículos de acción para que nos ayuden a comenzar. 


Haga clic en una de las imágenes a continuación para descargar el folleto del Plan de Portland en español, ruso, chino o vietnamita. También están disponibles copias impresas del folleto para individuos y grupos de interés / comunitarios. Si necesita ayuda, por favor llame al (503) 823-1303 o envíe un correo electrónico a pdxplan@portlandoregon.gov.

January 31, 2012

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