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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is the first series of pics from my recent visit to downtown Portland, OR - don't know if I've captured it here but IMO it is a really an awesome urban place - especially downtown.

Salmon Street Springs

Boardwalk along Willamette River

New condo towers along south riverfront

View to the south from my hotel

Night shot

Max Light Rail line

Pioneer Square

Lots of people playing chess in the square

Look closely - you can see Mt. St. Helens on the horizon.

Designated motorcyle/scooter parking.

Flexcar - the alternative to owning a car in the city - of course it is a hybrid

Awesome assortment of restarants located here

Great tacos located here!

Super-wide sidewalks

More chess playing

Portland State University - really an urban campus the street grid - and Portland Streetcar - runs right through it.

Food trailers like this are located all over the place here.

Yeah you guess it - some of these were taken from the streetcar.

PSU's hand in mixed use.

Hillside dev south of PSU

Edge of the Pearl District - streetcar stops near Powells Used Books - this awesome bookstore takes up an entire city block :speech:!

Now north to the Pearl District - It is underconstruction - mixed use projects all over.

Incredible plants.

Actually from what I hear, Portland is the 2nd "Greenest" city in the world - behind Lyon, France.

The current south terminus of the streetcar takes you to an Aerial Tram (like a ski-lift) that wisks you up to the hill-top where there is a cluster of hospitals - the base of the area near the riverfront is going vertical with offices and condos.

Debit card friendly parking meters - awesome

Urban designers take note - a drive-in drive-through gas station.

Beer is a Tasty Treat
769 Posts
Dear Other Mid-sized American cities,
Please have a look at this thread and take lots of notes. Be more like Portland, Please.

Love, Bill.

That's a great tour. Very, very nice city. Let's all drink an ale to Portland, OR!

208 Posts
captredbeard said:
Also where are all the bums?
glad you asked:

Housing plan for homeless ahead of goal
Audit - In two years, Portland moves 1,039 people and 717 families into housing
Monday, August 27, 2007
The Oregonian

Portland's made a great start on its 10-year plan to end homelessness, putting more chronically homeless people into houses than projected, according to an audit released today.

How the city will fare in the plan's final seven-plus years is less clear, the audit said, and city officials must set more solid goals if it hopes to sustain progress -- including defining what it means to "end homelessness."

"It's very positive so far. They've set specific goals and met them," said Drummond Kahn, the city's director of audit services. "As we get further along, it's going to get more challenging" because the city's goals are cloudier and because, after first helping those more amenable to housing, the remaining homeless population may be harder to serve.

The audit reviews all portions of the city's anti-homelessness plan, passed in late 2004. That plan focuses on the chronically homeless -- single adults with disabilities, including addictions and mental health problems, who have been homeless or repeatedly in shelters for at least a year.

In 2004, that group comprised about a tenth of Portland's homeless population but used about half the roughly $30 million spent on services for the homeless. The plan tries to get chronically homeless people directly into "permanent supportive housing," where people can live and get support services, instead of moving people through a series of shelters to permanent homes.

The city surpassed many key plan goals, the audit found: In the plan's first year, the city added 254 new housing units, well over the 160-unit goal. Through the first two years, 1,039 chronically homeless people and 717 homeless families were moved into housing, above the goals of 565 individuals and 500 families.

Some other goals were not met: There is still no location set for a day access center to connect homeless people to services, a goal set for 2006. And the city hasn't met all its goals for discharging more people from jails, hospitals and other institutions into homes, though it has made improvements.

The audit's main recommendations are to improve a system for tracking data on homeless people and to set more detailed, measurable goals to help guide the plan through 2015.

"They've been on a good path for the first two years. There are now many different paths to get to year 10. They need to select from among those," Kahn said.

Key goals in the next two years include getting more private people involved in serving the homeless, city officials said.

The audit helps prove the thesis that it's better to put homeless people directly into permanent housing than temporary shelters, said Commissioner Erik Sten, who oversees the Bureau of Housing and Community Development. Community support

With that evidence, the city can ask business and community groups to do more to help the homeless. For instance, evangelist Luis Palau is helping coordinate an effort by local churches to offer support to people recently moved into houses. Connecting recently homeless people with support groups, including some nonreligious options, is key because many chronically homeless people have no family or close friends to support their life-altering move into housing, Sten said.

The city also needs to work more with the county and other communities, such as Gresham, to combat homelessness, according to Heather Lyons, who oversees the housing bureau's efforts to end homelessness. And hospitals are working on a plan to fund housing for homeless people who need to be discharged, instead of giving them motel vouchers or sending them to shelters, she said.

Sten added that he hopes to have a site picked by this fall for a day center. That will most likely be somewhere in Old Town.

A final looming question is how the city will define success. No one expects homelessness to end completely. But city officials do hope to have few or no chronically homeless people by 2015.

"What we need is a system that says, 'If you're homeless, there's somewhere to go, and people care about you and get you back on your feet,' " Sten said.

Andy Dworkin: 503-221-8564; [email protected]
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