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Seattle city officials taking cues from Portland


A crew of Seattle officials made their way down to the Rose City to take some notes on how Portland does things.

A few Portland projects that have the Seattle Mayor and the City Council's attention are Portland's Neighborhood Greenways, Portland's homeless camp, dubbed Dignity Village, and what Mayor McGinn calls a "rail renaissance."

Mayor Mike McGinn says the group immediately noticed all the rail tracks traversing the town.

"All along the streetcar and Max lines, rail has had a positive impact on development patterns, with new growth following the route and station areas," said a post in the Mayor's blog. "Portland's transit system does a great job of moving people. It also does a great job of saving money and creating new economic activity."

City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw seemed taken with Portland's Dignity Village. According to Bagshaw, Dignity Village is a city-recognized homeless encampment that houses about 60 people. Bagshaw posted photos of the encampment that has no tents, but instead houses residents in small 10 x 20 wood shelters that are built by camp residents and volunteers.

City Councilmember Mike O'Brien posted in his blog saying "Portland's Greenways are worth emulating." O'Brien says the Greenways are streets used by cyclists and pedestrians where most traffic is rerouted and only open to residents. Speeds on these street are kept under 25 mph and frequent bumps on the roadway remind drivers to keep speeds safe.

Bagshaw and O'Brien say beyond concrete project ideas, they can learn a lot from how Portland funds and organizes projects.

"We can take a page out of Portland's book where departments including transportation, utilities, parks, nonprofits, community groups and businesses pooled their resources - and the result is clearly better than the sum of its parts."

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About the Author

Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.


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