At COC, we work with communities to plan, strengthen and fortify attributes that make each community unique. This can be as technically challenging as a new transportation corridor or as transformational as groundbreaking public-private ventures.
Although communities face many challenges, the spirit of resilience we see each day inspires us and gives us hope that working together we can, indeed, shape a better future for all.
The following stories illustrate some of the best practices in which we have been involved. Please let us hear from you – what is special, unique and groundbreaking in your community or others.
Kirstin Greene, AICP
Welcome New COC Associate, Ellen Wyoming
We are delighted that Ellen Wyoming, who recently received her masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University (PSU), has joined COC as an Assistant Planner and Community Engagement Specialist.
In addition to her planning skills, Ellen is fluent in Spanish. She is currently assisting Hacienda CDC on the Portland Mercado (Market) project with the development strategy for implementation and facilitating the work of the Development Committee. The Portland Mercado is a multi-cultural community economic development effort to create a marketplace for Latino foods, goods and services.
Chosen by her classmates to give the student address at PSU graduation ceremonies this spring, Ellen spoke eloquently on activism. Find a synopsis of her speech here. Ellen may be reached at email@example.com. She looks forward to broadening her cross-cultural practice with the COC community.
Three Small Communities Consider Their Unique Potentials
Weston, in eastern Oregon near Walla Walla and Pendleton, is a historic small town in a spectacular setting that faces several challenges from a changing regional economy. Bob Wise from COC and Allison Wildman of SERA Architects led a team that created plans to revitalize its main street and create safe routes to schools. Students in PSU’s Masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) class chose Weston as a project. They created an exciting and realistic vision. See: http://www.planweston.com/index.html. It is now in the hands of local leaders to take the next steps to keep Weston one of Oregon’s most attractive small historic towns.
Wood Village, in East Multnomah County, is about one square mile in size. It is the gateway community to Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge and an oasis of affordability in the region. COC, with team members Kittelson & Associates (KAI), Marketek, and SERA Architects, worked with community leaders to develop ideas for a new main street and a Village Center, with zoning recommendations and links to an updated Transportation Systems Plan, or TSP. City leaders are working to reconcile their vision of a wooded village with market forces that suggest it is a prime location for a regional shopping center.
“[It was] a wonderful process and we simply cannot say thank you to you, and the consultants, ODOT … a sufficient number of times.”— Bill Peterson, City Administrator, City of Wood Village
Stevenson, a small community with nearly 1,500 residents, is a popular gateway to the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge – a destination for people attracted to its natural beauty, outdoor recreation and nearby resorts. The city is updating its comprehensive plan to chart a course for the next 20 years and deal with the many changes that have occurred since the plan was adopted in 1984.
Steve Faust and Elaine Cogan are helping a citizen-based Steering Committee engage the community to create a vision and cornerstone principles to serve as the foundation of the plan. On a warm summer night this past July, more than 80 community members participated in a workshop at Stevenson Elementary School to talk about their aspirations for the future of the city. The vision process is scheduled to conclude in October.
COC Participates in Green Sports Alliance Summit
COC was pleased to be a sponsor of the Green Sports Alliance Summit at the World Trade Center in Portland in early August. The Summit was a three-day executive summit conference that included case studies, lectures, panels, breakout groups, and site visits to introduce participants to a full range of green sports concepts and best practices. We profiled our work on the http://www.matthewknightarena.com/ in Eugene and our ongoing sustainability and public process expertise.
Martin Tull, creator and Executive Director of the Green Sports Alliance, is sharing office space at COC. In only six months, Martin has initiated partnerships with 45 professional teams throughout the country. The purpose of the Alliance is to demonstrate that sustainable practices can produce bottom line benefits and responsible corporate and community citizenship.
Complete Communities – Best Practices in Citizen Involvement
Rarely do consultants have the opportunity to work with communities over an extended period of time. COC has had that privilege in Clackamas County, where we have been helping build a county-wide community for more than 11 years. Beginning in 1999, we have worked with the Board of County Commissioners and hundreds of residents and businesspeople to define what a Complete Community means to them and find ways to get there. Our latest effort this past spring was to design and facilitate Community Congress VII on Best Practices in Citizen Involvement.
Meeting at Clackamas Community College, this Congress brought together citizens, elected officials, academics, business and community leaders to discuss the county’s best practices in citizen involvement and how their efforts may be improved. Participants acknowledged that the county’s unique hamlets, villages and community planning organizations are positive efforts and had many creative suggestions for improvements for engagement efforts. View the Summary report here.
We ❤ Lake Oswego!
Lake Oswego Unites Vision with Sustainability
Facing a need to update state land use requirements, the Lake Oswego City Council decided it needed to take an approach that would reflect the unique nature of Lake Oswego. The We Love Lake Oswego public engagement and planning process has engaged more than 1,600 residents and businesses to help identify a future vision for their city. COC helped design the process and is facilitating with an exceptional Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC).
After a year of work and intense community outreach, CAC members recommended a future growth scenario to the City Council on July 19 that integrates sustainability within an urban planning context. CAC members and staff were pleased that Lake Oswego’s Council endorsed this recommendation 7-0 in a strong affirmation of the committee’s work.
“For us, community does matter,” said Nancy Gronowski, Lake Oswego resident and Advisory Committee member. “The health and wellbeing of our residents, the physical appearance of the city, and its essential character depend on our planning efforts today.”
Can Trucks and Pedestrians Coexist?
St. Johns is a well established residential neighborhood in North Portland. Unfortunately, several of its local streets also are preferred routes for trucks going to and from close by heavy industrial areas. The conflicts between these vehicles and adults and school children crossing busy residential streets has been studied and acknowledged for many years. The City of Portland, through the Bureau of Transportation, has allocated funds to evaluate the feasibility of redesigning certain streets and providing traffic calming and other methods to solve the most egregious problems.
COC, under a subcontract to the well respected engineering firm, T.Y. Lin International, is working with a committee of St. Johns community residents and trucking company representatives to advise the engineers on the alternatives most agreeable to all parties. According to facilitator Elaine Cogan, one of the many challenges to reaching an acceptable solution is how to engage a growing Latino community with their neighbors in addressing the issues. Ellen and Elaine are working to engage this important constituency.
Regional Approaches Address Columbia River Issues
Every year, approximately four million cubic yards of sand are dredged, from the mouth of the Columbia River by the Corps of Engineers to keep shipping channels open. COC Principal Jim Owens has been working with Oregon Solutions to develop a Regional Sediment Management Plan to increase the beneficial uses of this dredged material. The Plan consolidates work completed over the last decade into a long-term strategy which will be a basis for permitting a network of beneficial use sites and helping secure federal and state funds for ongoing research and monitoring.
In July, the Lower Columbia Solutions Group – a bi-state collaboration of public and private parties – approved the Plan and initiated its implementation. COC will continue to be involved in this model regional approach to addressing issues that affect communities and resources in Oregon and Washington. Click here for more information.
Highway Improvements in Diverse Communities
As part of an on-call services contract with the Western Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration, COC is providing public involvement services for a number of highway improvement projects in Oregon. As a subconsultant to HDR, Inc., our work is to ensure that the communities within the vicinity of these projects are made aware of the nature and timing of the proposed improvements, have opportunities to be involved in the design, and are prepared for the impacts of construction, including travel delays and road closures.
These projects address rehabilitation or restoration of roads on or accessing federal lands, including the Crown Point Viaduct on the Historic Columbia River Highway within the boundaries of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area; Skyliners Road west of the City of Bend; a number of roads in the Umatilla National Forest north of Elgin; and a portion of Tiller Trail Highway (State Highway 227) in the Umpqua National Forest north of Shady Cove. Click here for more information on these projects.Tags:Best Practices, citizen involvement, Clackamas County, Crown Point, highway improvement projects, Lake Oswego, main street, safe routes to schools, sediment management plan, Skyliners Road, Sustainability, traffic calming, Transportation, Transportation Systems Plan, Visioning