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Public memorial for urban planning pioneers Nohad and Dirce Toulan will be Tuesday afternoon at Portland State
Author: Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian
Posted: November 18, 2013

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Portland State University will hold a memorial Tuesday afternoon to honor the lives of Nohad and Dirce Toulan, a husband-and-wife team of pioneering urban planners.

Nohad Toulan was the founding dean of PSU’s College of Urban and Public Affairs who grew the program during his 28 years in the post. He was on the task force that drafted the region’s urban growth boundary in 1977 and championed the tri-county Metro government. He also established the university’s Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies, a regional planning think tank.

Dirce Toulan was an architect, planner and former Fulbright Scholar. She led the effort to support the college's library, which bears her name.

Both were killed in a car accident in Uruguay on Oct. 28. He was 81; she was 78.

“They will forever be the first couple of the College of Urban and Public Affairs,” Carlos Crespo, interim dean of the college, said in a statement. “Just as they worked together to build the college and Portland State University, they also worked tirelessly to make the Portland metropolitan region the wonderful place that it is."

The memorial will take place in Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway, from 4 to 6 p.m. It will be held in the third-floor ballroom.

After their deaths, the couple were widely hailed for their nationally prominent role in pioneering urban design.

Under Nohan Toulan's leadership, the College of Urban and Public Affairs garnered international prominence as one of the country's most comprehensive public service programs. PSU's school of Urban Studies and Planning was renamed in his honor in 2005.