We currently import at least 90 percent our food from outside the Portland region, about $4.7 billion a year with related inputs included. We could increase our regional wealth by between $470 million and $940 million annually if we shifted between 10 and 20 percent of our purchases from imported to local foods.
Through his compelling article, Economically, we are what we eat, Bob Wise addresses those facts and examines the challenges of providing local foods in Oregon. He asks, if we are sitting in the midst of one of the world’s most food-abundant places, why is it so difficult to buy food grown here? The answer is that we import most of the food we eat. Bob considers ways to reverse this significant “leakage” dynamic. He proposes strategic solutions to findings from several recent research projects conducted by COC and regional partners that attempt to answer these questions: how we can support expanded agriculture to accommodate import substitution, what it would take to increase demand and supply of local food, how to help farmers keep a greater share of the food dollar and stay in business, and how we can increase our human and social capital to support the food economy.
The blog is the second in a series of six articles on import substitution on the Sustainable Business Oregon website.
, import substitution
A Year in the Life of Cogan Owens Cogan, LLC
Is the glass half empty or half full? At a time of great change in our country and here at home, we at Cogan Owens Cogan, LLC tend to be optimists, with a heavy dose of realism. We know 2009 is a tough year in which to be a small business, or any business, but we have faith in ourselves and our clients that we will emerge stronger and even more able to carry out our mission to engage people to create and sustain great communities.
Looking back at the year just past, we want to share with you a summary of the eclectic and enriching array of projects that have given us considerable satisfaction.
As Planner in Residence at Portland State University, Arnold Cogan is providing sage advice to graduate students in the School of Urban Studies and Planning. A highlight of his well-received monthly forums was a recent session with new PSU President, Wim Wiewel, whose professional background, we have been delighted to find, is planning. Arnold and former Governor Vic Atiyeh shared the platform when they were asked to testify at a recent state legislative hearing on the future of land use planning in Oregon.
Elaine Cogan also continues to be sought after as a speaker and trainer in communications and public engagement. She has accepted an invitation to present a three-hour seminar on the subject for the American Planning Association’s annual conference in Minneapolis in April.
Sustainability remains a core activity for us. Kirstin Greene wrote the lead article on climate change for the latest issue of the publication of the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association (OAPA).
Kirstin, Bob Wise and Ellie Fiore helped the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and its 130 member organizations create a community-based sustainability action plan. Three town hall meetings drew more than 1,000 participants – residents, business owners, educators and public officials. The project is featured in the February edition of Planning magazine.
Kirstin also facilitated the development of Clackamas County’s first Sustainability Action Plan. She, Elaine and Steve Faust continue to work with citizens and staff under the County’s Complete Communities program to implement principles of sustainability. The sixth Complete Communities Congress will be held May 16. COC and the County have won several national awards for Complete Communities efforts.
Participants at an Urban Agriculture Forum in Damascus enjoyed stimulating discussion and food for thought. COC collaborated with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and other partners in this effort and produced the executive summary.
Further south in the Willamette Valley, in Eugene, Kirstin, Arnold and Dave Mayfield developed the conditional use permit for the Oregon Arena, a new LEED-certified basketball facility on the University of Oregon campus. We worked with the project architect, developer, technical consultants and city staff to obtain approval for this 21,500 capacity arena.
Bob and Daniel Christensen conducted a detailed financial and feasibility analysis for a Green Economy Center in Clackamas County. In addition, COC and Clackamas County won recognition for the Green Economy Report – an action plan to maximize agricultural, natural resources and sustainability industries in Clackamas County.
For Washington County, Bob led a team to institutionalize a sustainability management organization. He, Kirstin and Teak Wall are leading an effort to help the City of Palm Springs, California, create a sustainability master plan to help guide their sustainable future.
Visioning – assisting communities to work together to realize their highest aspirations – is always challenging and exciting. Elaine and Daniel are midway through a process to help the small Willamette Valley community of Keizer look ahead to the year 2029. One recent notable activity was a Youth Forum at McNary High School where more than 30 teen leaders engaged in frank and open dialogue. Their insights and aspirations will be considered during community-wide visioning sessions.
Jim Owens traveled to Klamath Falls to facilitate several visioning meetings for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At issue were the best financial and physical solutions to restoring an asbestos-contaminated site in a subdivision just outside the city limits.
Mount Spokane and Chief Timothy State Parks in Washington also benefited from Jim’s environmental project management services. The Mount Spokane project entailed the first stage of master plan development, while Chief Timothy is another phase of the Confluence Project, the placement of artwork by Maya Lin in historical locations. In the latter, Dave and Daniel are working with Jim to develop all the necessary permits and approvals.
For the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Jim, Dave, Ellie and Steve conducted interviews with citizens and public officials in communities throughout the state to assess attitudes and support for public transit. The results will be reported to the State Legislature.
After nearly two and a half years and dozens of meetings, the Sellwood Community Task Force, whose work Elaine facilitated, has reached a reasoned and reasonable recommendation about the placement and size of a new Sellwood bridge. A panel of local and State decision makers praised the work of the citizens and affirmed their recommendations.
As busy as we are, each of us finds time to volunteer for community endeavors. We are active on the boards of the City Club of Portland, Urban Land Institute, Oregon Environmental Council, Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association, Three Rivers Land Conservancy, and many more.
These are the highlights of our eventful year. For more, check our website, www.coganowens.com, recently updated by Crystal Jackson. Kudos also to Nancy Marshall, who makes all our graphical materials, including this newsletter, look so special, and to Erin Atkinson and Alisha Dishaw, who help us in more ways than we can mention.
We are eager to hear from you as we embark together on this exciting and challenging year. Please keep in touch.
, American Planning Association
, Clackamas County
, Climate Change
, Land Use Planning
, Portland State University
, Washington County