I grew up in Idaho and have always considered myself to be a Westerner. What makes a Westerner? Love of the land and all the interdependencies among the land, communities and economy. I was very fortunate to have served as policy and planning advisor to two incredible leaders – Governors Cecil Andrus (ID) and Bruce Babbitt (AZ) who both went on to become Secretaries of the Interior. As Governors, both would be considered moderate Democrats who worked with both houses of their state legislatures controlled by Republicans. To be successful in that world, we had to value diverse ideas and work with a wide net to involve all kinds of people in policy development and planning. This experience led me to the strong belief that the best solutions will always benefit the environment, economy, and communities simultaneously.
I have been honored to work at COG for more than 15 years. The people here are ethical, caring, and brilliant in their search for the public good. I look forward to continue working on public policy and planning challenges that are thorny, new and need creative thinking. You can reach me at 503-781-6971.
Here are a few examples of the projects I took part in:
In Clackamas County, I worked for the past ten years developing concepts of regional economic benefit in agriculture, forestry, energy, green building, and health care. Benefits of the County’s economic strategy are focused both on keeping the money that we already have circulating and expanding exports to bring more money to the region. The concept of import substitution and multiple benefits are at the heart of the strategies the County has developed, including in its Agricultural Investment Plan that is designed to capture part of the 90 percent of food purchases flowing outside the region.
In Wood Village, the smallest and most diverse city in the Metro region, we helped the City bring many more diverse Latino, Russian, Ukrainian, and South Asian voices into master plans for the Town Center, resulting in plans to replace a dangerous and derelict greyhound racing park with a new development designed to meet local needs while drawing people to the City and which will be owned by The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.
In Taipei, Taiwan, I was fortunate to lead a team of planners to define a new EcoCity Vision for Taipei. The plan uses the most advanced Natural Step System Conditions as a framework and, according to Mayor Hau help Taipei, will: (a) improve the quality of life in every neighborhood, (b) make the city more efficient via mass transit and walkable neighborhoods, (c) develop ecological restoration to view the city as part of nature, (d) support advanced green industries, and (e) play a significant leadership role on the world stage.
For China’s Grand Canal, as part of a multi-national team, we developed a vision to justify the designation of the Grand Canal, all 1200 miles of it, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Imagine the long term consequences of this single act for how the Chinese government and people view this incredible feat of water management, transport, and community development. See this article for more details.
I still have a few concerns about the current state of public policy, and I plan to continue my work to address these issues and strengthen communities. I look forward to continuing work on economic development and empowering small business ventures in spite of growing electronic commerce threatening to take vast amounts of capital out of local communities. I hope to bridge connections and work towards a common vision in a political climate that treats “compromise” as a bad word. Finally, I will continue to support vibrant, resilient communities that are prepared to manage the looming threat of climate change, whose impacts have been increasingly apparent in 2017.
My hope for the future is that people of all stripes will consider their own actions in their own places, the planet, and future prosperity for current and future generations. Only by adopting the mindsets of systems thinking and benefit for all can we address the public policy challenges ahead.