The PowerPoint presentation is now online.
Original Post: 1/26/10:
I both enjoyed tonight’s hearing and was disappointed by it.
The disappointment is that only three people testified. As I expressed at the meeting, we can get a room full of people to show up and oppose a project that they don’t like, but when we’re formulating the policy that will set the context for that project and many others, it feels like we’re just talking to ourselves. This is one of the conundrums of citizen involvement. How do you get citizens engaged in the advance policy work? (This is not to diminish the almost 1,000 people who participated in the workshops, but we could use your help when we’re grappling with the details too!)
On the up side, the quality of the testimony was excellent, as was the Commission discussion during and after the testimony.
The meeting began with a staff presentation on the highlights of the Portland Plan background reports. I’ll link to this presentation when it’s available on the web, it’s an excellent summary.
For you video watchers, the citizen testimony began about 38 minutes into the meeting. Messages we heard were:
- Even though at a whole City level, we won’t need to up-zone to accommodate forecast growth, many citizens would be surprised by what today’s zoning code would allow to be built in their neighborhoods (a good reason to read the Urban Form Report).
- The hazard (earthquake, landslide, etc.) analysis in the background reports is not up-to-date and should be replaced with the current plans.
- The population and housing forecasts have changed dramatically over the course of the last two years and some citizens are skeptical about the numbers.
This led to a discussion about Metro’s Urban Growth Report, which is the basis for the forecasts, and how a portion of regional growth is allocated to Portland. We also discussed that Portland Plan policies could impact this allocation.
The Commission also had a lively discussion on factors influencing job growth.
The second of the three hearings on the Portland Plan background reports will be at the February 9th meeting (a 12:30pm meeting, the hearing will be the second agenda item). Citizens are welcome to testify on any Portland Plan topic area at any of the hearings. Tell your friends, let’s have a crowd!