Oregon Planners' Journal Archives

A participatory city planning exercise
September 13, 2018

Lets talk about the emotional abuse of planners

Oregon Planners' Journal article: Despite the (valid) critiques about planning’s dark side and how it has served as consultant to power, planning itself is not a powerful profession except by virtue of its partnerships and visions. Planners and planning influence the world in their collaborations with the state, developers, or social groups. You work for a side in the spatial politics of the future and you work with various sources of political power. Read More.


Autonomous vehicle
May 14, 2018

When Planning for Driverless Systems, Don’t Forget our Values or the Lessons from the Past

Oregon Planners' Journal article: We’ve been hearing from industry pundits that fully driverless vehicles (i.e., also known as autonomous vehicles, or vehicles that can operate without a human driver under any physical or environmental conditions) will be available for purchase in the year 2021 and will represent 15% of total auto sales by the year 2030. Couple that with other predictions that many of us won’t own cars in the 2030s because we’ll be relying on driverless Ubers and transit shuttles that will be in constant motion, and it’s clear we have a lot of unknowns to consider. Read More.


Wildfire in Oregon
February 15, 2018

Lessons from the 2017 Wildfire Season and the Role of Oregon Planners

Oregon Planners' Journal article: Just over a month apart, the Eagle Creek Fire in Oregon and the Tubbs fire in California were similar in size but had drastically different outcomes.  In Santa Rosa, a city 55 miles north of San Francisco, the Tubbs fire burned about 36,000 acres. Unfortunately, 22 people died and over 5,000 structures were lost.  The Eagle Creek Fire, which ignited just 45 miles east of downtown Portland reached 50,000 acres and destroyed four buildings.  Cities all along the Columbia River Gorge, from Troutdale to Hood River, were issued evacuation notices but these communities were spared the devastation that struck in California.  Did Oregon’s urban growth boundaries, and the unique zoning of the Scenic Area, save lives and property? Read More.


Crowd views planning posters
February 15, 2018

Salem to Sumatra: A City Planner Exchange

Oregon Planners' Journal article: Many non-planners are surprised to learn how interesting planning really is. Planning shapes the vibrancy of the places we live in. I love the work I do. I especially enjoy the sheer variety of interesting projects I’ve had the chance to work on during my twelve years as an urban planner for the City of Salem. This year I had an opportunity to participate in a “planner exchange” with a very talented international planner, Ria Oktorina, from the Indonesian province of West Sumatra. Read More.


Diagram of a levee system
February 15, 2018

Collaboration and Problem Solving Before a Disaster Happens

Oregon Planners' Journal article: With the increasing frequency and costs of disasters, the silver lining may be that there is at least more public awareness and potential opportunity for planners to integrate disaster resilience into our communities. Through comprehensive plans, hazard mitigation plans, and climate change plans, planners are making progress on setting more resilient policy for future development. The more difficult lift, however, comes with mitigating impacts to existing development. New research shows that federal mitigation grants save $6 in future disaster costs for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation[2]. Funding is so limited for hazard mitigation, though, it’s often hard to get momentum behind a mitigation project before a disaster is imminent or has already happened. Read More.


Participants in the Community Assistance Planning Program (CAPP)
September 19, 2017

Are Rural Communities Ripe for ‘Gig’ Development?

Oregon Planners' Journal article: With all the talk lately about infrastructure development in the United States, it’s no wonder investment in municipal fiber optic networks has been landing in the spotlight as often as it has. As manufacturing and tech jobs lead market expansion, more and more developments are getting ‘wired’ to meet the ever-increasing demands for speed and capacity in the fields of technology, research, and manufacturing. An expanding 3D printing company needs to increase production; a large design firm needs to send contract documents overseas to meet a deadline — where they decide to locate production may determine the future of urban development. Read More.


Plan4Health Initiative- map of downtown Umatilla
September 19, 2017

Plan4Health Initiative – Planning for Health in Rural Oregon – The Umatilla County Plan4Health Experience, Part 2

Oregon Planners' Journal article: This article is the second in a two-part series about the Umatilla County Plan4Health Initiative.  The first article described the grant process and summarized the work of the Plan4Health Coalition.  This article is intended to provide more tangible examples of incorporating the health framework into planning. Read More.


Judge's gavel
September 19, 2017

United States Supreme Court Supplies New “Factors” for Certain Takings Claims

Oregon Planners' Journal article: Murr v. Wisconsin, U.S. Supreme Court No. 15-214 (June 23, 2017), was the review of a trial court grant of summary judgment to Defendant in a “regulatory takings” case.  Plaintiffs had separately acquired two adjacent parcels from family members or entities connected with those members, neither of which could be developed for residential use separately under the local zoning regulations due to minimum lot size provisions of the local zoning ordinance.  Read More.


Creative thinking clipart
September 19, 2017

Lizard Brains on Planning

Oregon Planners' Journal article: In planning, like most professions, we talk too much among ourselves. We create acronyms and use technical terms, we submerge ourselves in a common base of knowledge and understanding of the world — and we forget how average people see our work. And yet we’re surprised when we present strong plans, and see them shot down by decision-makers and the public. Read More.


Plan4Health Initiative- map of downtown Umatilla
April 18, 2017

The Plan4Health Initiative: Umatilla County’s Experience, Part 1

Oregon Planners' Journal article: The American Planning Association (APA) and American Public Health Association (APHA) have joined together to connect communities by funding work at the intersection of planning and public health.  The new program, Plan4Health, supports creative partnerships to build sustainable, cross-sector coalitions.   The Center for Disease Control awarded APA grant monies to fund local programs.  Umatilla County, Oregon was awarded one of the grants as part of the Plan4Health Cohort II funding cycle — one of only two rural projects selected from throughout the U.S. Read More.


Community outreach exercise from Place It
April 18, 2017

Incorporating Immigrants’ on-the-ground Knowledge and Lived Experiences into the Urban Planning Process

Oregon Planners' Journal article: Immigrants bring new innovative planning ideas and solutions to this country based on their prior lived experiences. Place It has developed a tool to humanize the urban planning process to uncover this knowledge by using storytelling, objects, art-making, and play. This process provides a platform that everyone can participate in regardless of typical barriers, such as language, age, ethnicity, and professional training. The method creates a safe space for immigrants and others to come together, listen, share, bond, and collaborate to find common values and generate cutting-edge ideas and solutions for their communities. Read More.


Map of Oregon land uses
April 18, 2017

The Uncertain Future of Oregon’s Agricultural Lands, and the Role of Planners

Oregon Planners' Journal article: With the average age of farmers in Oregon edging towards 60, up to 10.45 million acres (or 64%) of Oregon’s land in current farm and ranch use is expected to change hands in the next 20 years.  The fact that Oregon’s farmland will change ownership in the coming decades could present opportunities for access by young and beginning farmers, sustainable and direct market farmers, and women farmers and farmers of color, and ultimately to a more equitable and sustainable future.  However, there are many barriers to this vision. Many Oregon landowners are unprepared for succession. Read More.

Image of a colorful neighborhood
December 1, 2016

Learning from Our Past: Stabilization Strategies to Offset Public-Investment Induced Gentrification Caused Displacement

Oregon Planners' Journal article: Ideally, Oregon communities are places where everyone lives in a safe and equitable environment, has time for family and friends, recreates and enjoys professional and workplace satisfaction. As planners, we strive to support and cultivate healthy communities that involve many elements, including aesthetics, beauty, accessibility, functionality and community involvement. We also recognize social cohesion and cultural character as vital characteristics in vibrant, diverse neighborhoods that reflect complex communities and cultures. Read More.


Picture of the Singapore skyline at night
December 1, 2016

Global, Smart, Livable: Singapore Shows a Way

Oregon Planners' Journal article: Oregon is well regarded for its decades of planning leadership, but the past is mere prologue to a tempest of 21st century challenges – especially as trends in population growth, urbanization, and climate / environmental degradation continue. To avoid complacency, where do Oregon planners look for inspiration, cutting-edge growth management, and urban design solutions?... Behold Singapore. Read More.


Historical photo of Goshen, Oregon
March 16, 2016

Lane County, Suffering from Job Losses, got a GREAT Plan Just when it Needed One

Oregon Planners' Journal article: Lane County,  like many other areas of Oregon, has been struggling to pull its way out of the still-slumping economy since the recession that began in 2008. Initial job losses were staggering — from 2008 to 2011 Lane County lost more than 16,000 jobs, which pushed the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent in the County (by November 2012). The Great Recession decimated the recreation vehicle manufacturing industry in Oregon on top of the losses already experienced in the timber industry... In response, the Lane County Board of Commissioners in 2011 directed the Lane County Planning Department to explore ideas to increase development and employment within the former “mill town” that is the unincorporated community of Goshen. Additionally, the County leaders embarked on an update to the County Strategic Plan. Read More.


Judge's gavel
November 16, 2015

THREE MOST INFLUENTIAL PLANNING CASES OF 2015: Affordable Housing, Historic Preservation and Limits to Local Government Decision-Making

Oregon Planners' Journal articles: As authors and presenters of the case law update for the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association (OAPA) Legal Issues Conference, we have been asked to identify the three most influential cases of 2015. Although the following cases may not have immediate application to the planning profession per se, they serve as bellwethers of social, legal and economic trends, giving rise to changes in public policy that affect planning and planners. Read More.


Picture of the Tilikum Crossing bridge across the Willamette River
September 11, 2015

Bridging Over Challenges to Make New Connections: Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People

Oregon Planners' Journal article: On Saturday, Sept. 12, when the Tilikum Crossing Bridge opens for regular service, this region will make history again. First, in some ways this was the bridge that couldn’t be. For more than 40 years, no new bridge had been built across the Willamette River. The last one was the Fremont Bridge in 1973 and before that the Marquam in 1966. Both of those freeway bridges were built during the heyday of freeway construction before the backlash really started changing priorities in this region and, eventually, throughout the country. Read More.


Close up of the Tilikum Crossing bridge in Portland
September 11, 2015

Tilikum Crossing Unveils Portland’s Innovation Quadrant

Oregon Planners' Journal article: The opening of Orange Line and the Tilikum Crossing will be a day of excitement with speeches, music and crowds of transit enthusiasts. While a crowded train isn’t my normal idea of a good time, I understand that these moments of celebration are important to help connect Portlanders to our changing landscape and reward ourselves for the meetings and traffic detours we endured along the way. For those of us with a planning or economic development lens, this project is most significant in demonstrating our continued commitment to centering the region’s growth around high-capacity transit investment. Tilikum Crossing – and the new roads, paths, rail lines and developable lots that have accompanied its realization – aims to address our ever-growing congestion, spur economic development and reduce climate impacts. Read More.


Chart showing benefits of walking
September 11, 2015

How to Plan with a Healthy Dose of Walkability

Oregon Planners' Journal article: “Transportation officials are health officials,” says Dr. Richard J. Jackson, M.D., author of “Designing Healthy Communities” and chair of the Environmental Health Sciences Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. What does he mean by that? Jackson’s point is that plans carried out by transportation officials can either open up or rule out opportunities for Americans to make physical activity a natural part of their daily lives, and physical activity is critical to good health. Read More.


Photo of Hector Macpherson Jr.
July 1, 2015

Hector Macpherson Jr., Father of Oregon’s Land-Use System, Remembered

Oregon Planners' Journal article: Hector Macpherson had a longstanding vision and commitment to the preservation of Oregon’s farmland. For 50 years, as a farmer, Linn County planning commissioner, State Senator and member of the Land Conservation and Development Commission, Macpherson was the driving force for land use planning and farmland protection in Oregon. McPherson died March 21. Read More.