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Wednesday, October 2 • 3:00pm - 4:15pm
Working Through Distrust: The Power of Free Street Programming

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For more than 25 years, Portland, Oregon has focused on creating streets for people. Innovative placemaking efforts led to numerous standalone programs that facilitate block parties, beautiful street paintings, and small scale installations like the first in the world little free library. In 2017, in an effort to better organize the programs and make them more approachable to the public, the city adopted the Livable Streets Strategy. This strategy is being implemented by the Portland in the Streets program which has consolidated all social infrastructure (plazas, street paintings, benches, small community kiosks) and social interaction (block parties, community events). East Portland is a lower income portion of the city that was annexed in the 1980s. A combination of charging fees to each household to build a sewer system, failed promises for civic infrastructure, and tension around changes in ethnic demographics led to a deep distrust and anger towards city government. In the past fifteen years, Portland has focused many initiatives in East Portland. For transportation, since 2012, Portland has successfully programmed more than $250 million for safety projects in East Portland. This deep investment in the community has built some trust. However, families are still confronted with limited time to build community. Portland’s Livable Streets Strategy and Portland in the Streets program has taken intentional steps to reduce barriers for low income and diverse families to participate in placemaking efforts. We will show several case examples that demonstrate the power of free block parties, street paintings that empower youth, artistic programs designed to strengthen programming at community events, and large walking events that show support and love for our new immigrant and refugee neighbors. Portland will invite 1 to 2 other communities to join the panel to talk about how their own placemaking programs are contributing to more equitable outcomes.

avatar for Greg Raisman

Greg Raisman

Livable Streets Program Coordinator, City of Portland, Bureau of Transportation
avatar for Rich Eisenhauer

Rich Eisenhauer

Program Manager, Portland in the Streets, City of Portland, Bureau of Transportation
Rich brings over 23 years of experience in city government and strategic visionary thinking to the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Portland in the Streets section. This section, under Rich’s direction, issues over 2000 permits a year that prioritize public streets... Read More →

Wednesday October 2, 2019 3:00pm - 4:15pm EDT
EPB, 7th Floor, Room 1