Robert Liberty
Director of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator | 503-725-8989

Mr.Liberty has worked in many roles and at all levels of government for more than 30 years to promote livable and sustainable cities and regions. He was Staff Attorney and then Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the implementation, defense and improvement of Oregon's comprehensive land use planning program.

He has worked as a land use hearings officer, a planning consultant, and a speaker on planning topics in the U.S. and other countries.  He served as Senior Counsel to Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, assisting him with federal policy issues concerning livable communities.

In 2004 he was elected to the Metro Council, the metropolitan government in the Portland, Oregon region and was re-elected in 2008. On the Metro Council, he chaired and co-chaired committees considering rail transit investments, regional housing policy, and other matters.

In his career in higher education, Mr. Liberty has helped establish relationships with sustainable city planning and design efforts in China and participated in a U.S. HUD sustainable communities regional planning grant, helping to develop triple-bottom line evaluation frameworks for transportation investments.

He became director of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator (USA) in October 2012, and in 2016 he was appointed the director of PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions, where USA is now housed.

Mr. Liberty received his BA in Political Science from the University of Oregon Honors College, a Masters in Modern History from Oxford University and his JD Degree from Harvard Law School. During the 2002-03 academic year, he was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Molly Baer Kramer
Project Manager | 503-250-2223

Dr. Kramer has nearly two decades’ experience in administration and development with national and Oregon-based nonprofit conservation organizations. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Southern Illinois University and a D.Phil. in Modern History from Oxford University. She joined the Urban Sustainability Accelerator in January 2018.

Program Founders

Connie Ozawa
USA Faculty Adviser, professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning.

Dr. Ozawa's interests include how to integrate different sources of information into planning decisions in ways that build strong working relationships. Integrating theory and practice, she has led negotiation training workshops with practitioners, the Portland Development Commission and the Housing Authority of Portland.

She is co-director of the China Program, coordinating opportunities for scholars and students to share knowledge across language and geographic boundaries.  Through this program, a number of Chinese planners and policy makers visit Portland each year to learn about planning and sustainability efforts here.

Dr. Ozawa edited The Portland Edge: Challenge and Successes in Growing Communities (2004) and authored Recasting Science: Consensus-Based Procedures in Public Policy Making (1991). In the classroom, she teaches environmental policy and management and planning theory and practice.

Dr. Ozawa earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley; an MA in Geography at the University of Hawai'i and her Ph.D. in Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ethan Seltzer
USA Faculty Adviser

Dr. Seltzer is recognized as an authority on regional planning and development and the Cascadia eco-region.  He co-edited Regional Planning in America: Practice and Prospect, published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2011) and Toward One Oregon: Rural-Urban Interdependence and the Evolution of a State, published by Oregon State University Press (2011.)

He served as president of the City of Portland Planning Commission and as a land use supervisor for the Metro regional government during the adoption of the regional urban growth goals and objectives.  At the City of Portland, he assisted City Commissioner Mike Lindberg with park system planning, land use planning, and budget matters. He also served on the Portland 2035 Central City Plan advisory committee.

His academic interests include citizen participation (such as the application of crowd-sourcing technologies) and how regions develop distinct identities and values that shape local and regional planning.

Dr. Seltzer received both his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning and M.A. in Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College.