chapter  5
16 Pages

3 Portland, OR: South Waterfront

Portland, Oregon, is nationally renowned for a number of enlightened planning principles. The “livable city” was laid out in a tight 200-foot by 200-foot (60 meters 60 meters) urban grid that enhances walkability. It has a healthy mix of uses within dense neighborhoods that are interconnected through an expansive network of bicycle routes and green infrastructure. While other American cities dumped massive resources into expanding highway capacity in the 1970s and 1980s, this West Coast city and state were targeting investments in a comprehensive light rail and streetcar system that is still growing today. At a regional level, much of the success of Portland can be attributed to the urban growth boundary, an extraordinary endeavor that has largely achieved what it set out to do. It has directed development to the downtown core in order to preserve precious open space on the periphery. With just 610,000 residents, the city’s reputation as a funky, environ - mentally conscious culture exceeds its size. Portland is a model of proactive municipal planning that is the converse of most other cities with limited public sector capacities.