chapter  2
31 Pages

Portland's 1972 Downtown Plan: Rebirth of the Public City

ByNeal R. Peirce, Robert Guskind

Traditionally, Portland was viewed as a prim, proper city, true to the New England roots of its first settlers. Portland during the late 1960s and late 1970s was experiencing grave air pollution problems- indeed, its air was so dirty it violated federal standards one of every three days. Portland's social services advocacy group, Central City Concerns (CCC; formerly the Burnside Consortium), became particularly vocal in urging creative response to the growing homelessness issue. The 1972 plan addressed the decline in downtown housing stock as well as the flight of the middle class from downtown and called for a one-for-one replacement of low-income housing units removed from development projects. Reading the Central City Plan in 1988, one indeed had the feeling that the 1972 Downtown Plan had become institutionalized, had become Portland's new conventional wisdom.