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PSU's First Stop Portland hosts delegation from Sejong, South Korea
Author: Suzanne Pardington, University Communications
Posted: May 18, 2012

PSU’s First Stop Portland hosted leaders of Sejong, South Korea -- a new city being built on farmland south of Seoul –- May 16-18 to help them learn about Portland’s urban planning system and form diplomatic and economic ties between the two cities.

Mayor Sam Adams and Kisup Song, chairman of Sejong’s Multifunctional Administrative Construction Agency, signed a memorandum of understanding at City Hall to create a formal partnership.

 “We see the potential partnership as a great opportunity for us to benefit from each other’s efforts and expertise,” Adams said before signing the agreement. 

The high-level delegation from Sejong, which aims to be one of the greenest cities in the world, met with Portland planners, toured the South Waterfront and Pearl District and visited Portland State University’s Bike Hub, Electric Avenue and Urban Plaza. 

“I like Portland very much,” Song said. “We are here today to understand Portland’s unique system of planning and development.” 

First Stop Portland, a project of PSU’s Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies and College of Urban and Public Affairs, hosts 30-40 delegations per year of visitors from all over the world who want to learn about Portland’s sustainability story from the business, academic and political leaders who know it best. First Stop hosted a smaller group from Sejong in April.

“Our job is to open the door,” said Nancy Hales, program director of First Stop Portland. “We help visitors meet the people and experience the neighborhoods, the transit and the Portland ethos that will help them in their own journey towards building a better city.” 

South Korea is building Sejong to relieve overcrowding in Seoul. It will be home to 36 government agencies and serve as a center of research, education and the high-tech industry. Half the city’s land is set aside for green space.