Oregon is nationally recognized for its innovative statewide planning initiatives including public access to coastal beaches, billboard bans, funding for bicycle paths, and one of the nation’s first returnable bottle bills. Through the 1973 Growth Management Act, state legislators required local governments to prepare comprehensive land use plans and develop land use regulations consistent with those plans. As Oregon’s largest city, Portland adopted these planning requirements early and often served as a model for other communities within the state but also many cities grappling with their own planning needs outside Oregon. Portland is also home to Metro, a unique regionally elected body of government responsible for the coordination of the regional planning effort, public outreach, and manages expected growth.
Portland is known nationally as a city with progressive values and a legacy of social and environmental leadership. The city consistently ranks at the top nationally in livability and quality of life. Portland’s proximity to the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean is integral as a trading gateway with the rest of the world. In the beginning, trade was confined to natural resources and manufactured goods. Today trade is characterized by the exchange of technology and knowledge. It is recognized as a national leader in regionalism and sustainable development. Downtown Portland is pedestrian-friendly and hosts a mix of economic, retail and residential uses all in close proximity to waterfront parks, schools, festivals and night life, all easily accessible to multiple transit options. The city’s diversity, natural setting, and west coast location makes it uniquely suitable to share its success stories across the ocean. Combined with Portland State University, Oregon’s largest urban public instit ution, it is easy to understand how Portland has become a living laboratory for innovations in urbanization.