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Hosford Middle School hosts Portland Plan fair

by: David F. Ashton Brooklyn Neighborhood resident Emilie Sites, and SMILE Land Use Committee Chair Mat Millenbach look over, and post, comments regarding their neighborhoods.

During March, the newest developments leading to the long-heralded 'Portland Plan' were rolled out at public events across Portland.

The first event was at Hosford Middle School on the evening of Thursday, March 2, where City planner Eric Engstrom welcomed people to their event in the school's north multipurpose room.

'These fairs offer people many ways to learn about, and comment on, the strategies we've developed,' Engstrom said.

'Tonight, we're providing the first public view of the draft strategies,' Engstrom noted. 'We want people to be aware of what we're proposing. We've had a lot of public input up to this point, including at several large workshops last year.'

Pointing to a chart, Engstrom noted that the strategies uncovered in the workshops lead to proposing 'actions that address residents' key concerns' in four areas:

• Equity

• Education

• Economic Prosperity and Affordability

• Healthy Connected Neighborhoods

'This is the opportunity for Portlanders to explore the results of that work,' continued Engstrom. 'We want to know, did we get it right? Did we translate the input correctly? And, we also want to find what people think of these four strategies.'

While discussions were hosted in classrooms - one each, per category - the multipurpose room was featuring a community fair, with booths that provided an overview of the project, and spaces for community organizations to meet the visitors.

A major attraction of the fair was a free hot dinner of Hispanic foods, and Portland's own 'Pedal Kettle' bike-delivered kettle corn.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams toured the fair, sampled the food, and talked with neighbors. 'I'm glad to see all the people who came out at this stage of the plan, as we're moving into action items,' he told THE BEE.

Engstrom pointed out that the Portland Plan project actually started with the Mayor Tom Potter's VisionPDX moderated discussions. 'We started the formal effort in Fall of 2009 with the fact-finding phase. Last year, the focus was on creating a set of goals and objective statements. We're now in the 'strategy building' phase.'

Mat Millenbach, Land-use Chair for Sellwood's and Westmoreland's SMILE neighborhood association looked over maps in one of the breakout rooms. 'I've been following the Portland Plan, so when it comes time to look at it in our neighborhood, we'll be better equipped to do that.'

When the City finalizes its comprehensive 25-year plan, said Millenbach, it will be time for 'us to take a step back, and carefully look at our neighborhood plan, completed in the 1990s. We need to look at the zoning which, in some places, needs to be carefully re-examined, to make it consistent with the rest of the city.'

What's next in the Portland Plan process?

'We will take the feedback gathered from our fairs,' Engstrom replied, 'and actually write a draft Plan by mid-summer. By this fall, the draft plan should be on the street and be open to comment. From there, we'll be heading to the Planning and Sustainability Commission, and presenting it to the Portland City Council by the end of the calendar year.'

It's important for people to participate, Engstrom concluded, 'Because they will help to identify priorities, direct the investment of public dollars, and set the course for Portland for the next 25 years.

'If people care about what their government agencies are focusing on, they should be interested in this activity.'

For more information, or to take the Portland Plan survey, go online to the City's website: www.portlandonline.com/portlandplan .