The Beacon » Posts for tag 'Visioning'

Engaging Residents to Develop Social Equity Metrics

COC has been collaborating with a group of multicultural consultants to facilitate the vision phase of a complete tear down and rebuild of a large portion of Villa de Clara Vista, one of Hacienda Community Development Corporation’s affordable housing complexes. The multifamily rental property is located in Portland’s Cully Neighborhood and includes 133 units of rental housing spanning one-bedroom to four-bedroom apartments. Environmental performance driven by social equity metrics is a major consideration in the redevelopment. To achieve this, the vision phase includes engagement of residents in education and preferences regarding green building, sustainability, and reduction of carbon emissions for the new development.

Anita Yap and Todd Borkowitz joined COC for a lecture on Latino Urbanism by James Rojas (center) during his visit to Portland.

James Rojas, an urban planner, activist, and artist, who uses participatory processes for community-based design, joined the second community meeting on Thursday, January 30. Using “found objects”—materials like hair rollers, bottle caps, plastic toys, and other everyday items—he successfully engaged resident youth and adults in building their ideal home. Drawn by the colors, textures and forms of the objects, the workshop participants reflected on the built elements of their communities and homes that affect their everyday lives. His workshop tapped into residents’ physical knowledge about their environment to identify lighting, communal spaces, transportation, safety and other community features that are important considerations for the redevelopment of Villa de Clara Vista.

The focused engagement of tenants will be used to develop recommendations for the design of housing that mitigates the effect of climate change. Through this visioning, COC will not only make recommendations to Hacienda CDC, but also make social equity metric recommendations to the City of Portland as it prepares to update the Climate Action Plan. Typically underrepresented in community engagement, the reflections and contributions of residents will help define which internal, external, environmental, transportation and organizational elements benefit their lives and reduce harm to the environment.

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Oregon City South End Concept Plan Moves Toward Adoption

For the past 18 months, Steve Faust and Kirstin Greene have been working with staff and hundreds of citizens of Oregon City and the adjacent South End community to create a future vision for South End. The robust community engagement program consisted of 17 community conversations, four public meetings, each with more than 100 people in attendance, and several online forums. The final draft South End Concept Plan is now before Planning Commission and City Commission for adoption.

The plan is built on community values and establishes a series of walkable and diverse new neighborhoods that are modeled after the most valued and beloved historic neighborhoods in Oregon City. Key elements include natural features, spaces and corridors, parks and trails, a choice of housing types and limited commercial retail to serve neighborhood residents.

When the plan was first introduced to the Planning Commission in November, the volunteer Community Advisory Team talked about their experience and acknowledged mixed feelings. While a majority of members recommended adoption, Rachel Thompson and Andrea Schmierbach articulated the process of change:

“ Andrea and I both feel strongly that despite the opposition by many of the residents in the area, including ourselves, our concerns, comments and ideas were heard and taken into great consideration. Once we understood and accepted that that this concept plan must be completed, we encouraged others in the community workshops to embrace the idea of change so that at the very least we could have an impact on the vision for the area. We felt comfortable and encouraged to raise concerns, ask questions, make objections, or to offer alternatives. …In the end, I truly believe that the plan meets the requirements we were charged with while representing the vision and values of the residents to the best of their ability.”

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Willamette Falls Legacy Project Event a Success

Cogan Owens Cogan Associate Planner Ellen Wyoming facilitated an incredibly successful event October 10 in Oregon City for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project. We were impressed by the enthusiasm expressed by participants at the community meeting and more than 130 participants shared part of their evening with area leadership and staff to discuss the redevelopment concepts emerging for the former Blue Heron site.

The event opened with a presentation of scenarios the project team is developing. These focused on the four interrelated core values for the site’s redevelopment: Historical and Cultural Interpretation, Public Access, Healthy Habitat, and Economic Redevelopment. Terrific images illustrated possibilities for property redevelopment, restoration and open space at this legacy site. Following the presentation, participants discussed what inspired them most, and reflected key insights to the full gathering.

Many participants expressed enthusiasm for a mix of light industrial and commercial activity. People were also inspired with concepts for greenways and public open space.  Others loved the idea of having water flow visibly through the site again as it used to in the past.  Integrating new connections like a waterfront trail for bicycles and pedestrians was of keen interest to people as was recognizing the generations of mill workers and their families who have a history tied to the site.  Most of all, participants were enthusiastic about new ways to see and experience Willamette Falls, to get up close and personal to see a national asset that the public have not been able to experience in over a century.

Staff also received rich feedback that evening through written comment forms and in conversation recorded at the table discussions. This information is going to help the project team evolve the concepts further so that by December, we will have a final set of recommendations for the Master Framework Plan for community review and comment.

If you are interested, stay tuned as we a new survey will launch next week and is open to all Oregonians.  We want to ensure that the voice of Oregonians is clear in what ultimately comes to fruition for the Master Framework Plan and rezoning next spring. You’ll find the survey starting October 23, 2013 at Please share this story with friends and be among our more than 1,000 community members connected to the Willamette Falls Legacy Project via Facebook!

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Food Night Discussion at COC

Bob Wise recently hosted leaders in the regional food movement to a night of sharing progress on all fronts to advance the vision of a Metropolitan Foodshed for the Portland Region.  He shared work on localizing food spending that is summarized in a recent article in Sustainable Business Oregon.  See for the full story:  We were joined by Stanford University researcher Therese Costello who discussed the importance of organizations that make small farmers more efficient and provide market access.  Ellen Wyoming also presented on the award-winning Mercado project work she is doing with the Hacienda CDC to create a Latino-themed public market in Portland.  The strong Food Night attendance and positive energy demonstrated that there we are in the midst of the birth of a local healthy food movement.  A summary of the meeting is here.

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