Portland Mayor: Questions from an Architect

As Portland moves closer to the "Portland Mayoral Choose-Fest" I'm putting on my professional hat and thinking about questions that need answering.
  • Do you believe that increased regional planning can benefit the business climate or health and wellbeing for the businesses and residents of Portland? Why or why not?
  • As mayor, how much power will you have to increase efficiencies in the many permitting processes that new and existing businesses face in Portland? How will you use your given powers for the maximum effect?
  • Portland is a city that depends heavily on its image to attract a complex group of tourists from art critics to foodies to leaf peepers. How does the built environment contribute to this image? Does the city benefit from contemporary architecture?
  • What can architects and contractors do to help you and your goals for Portland?
  • Are there creative solutions for filling all the empty commercial lease spaces in Portland?
  • What is one way that the city and the creative economy can work together TODAY to help promote Portland to the world at large?
  • Portland is a mixed use city. Where is this working well and where is it NOT working well?
  • How does Portland continue on a path of economic development without making the city too expensive for its residents?
  • What is your vision for how the streets of Portland might look different in 20 years? In 50 years?
Do you have any questions for our future mayor? Post them here!


  1. How specifically would you balance the drive of urban growth with the protection of open public space? What steps would you take to encourage more transportation oriented development in Portland? How would you support food security for the cities residents?

  2. I like the food security question because it's really about looking at the sustainability of a region in all of its facets.

  3. How about answers from a future mayor? Starting with Jake's last question first, I would like to see something like this in Portland: Three towns in Maine declared earlier this year that direct sales of food to consumers are exempt from inspection and licensing requirements, regardless of what state or federal law requires. Bob St. Peter, one of the organizers, explains the thinking behind the ordinance in this interview with Carl Etnier.

  4. Evan's Bullet #2: I don't think it's a question of power as much as it is about time. In the current system, there is nobody who has the time to take a step back, ask the right questions, and pursue the right solutions, not letting go until the problems are resolved one way or another. The conversations I've had with people in positions of power indicate that they are open to change but are too busy to make it happen.

  5. Evan's Bullet #3: A successful creative economy includes use of–and an interest in–new technology, which is best demonstrated through contemporary art, architecture, music, and culture.

  6. Evan's Bullet #5: I fantasize about featuring the work of students, artists, sculptors, even well-done advertising taking the place of of empty storefronts. And Creative Portland Corp is currently exploring ways to allow artists to use vacant office space as studio space.

  7. Evan's Bullet #6: (my final comment...) Marketers are reluctant or unable to pay for high end commercial photography to promote the area, so they rely on mediocre shots they have access to. We need to develop a bank of interesting professional photos that promote Portland as a thriving, livable, creative city and design a program for the same branded photos to be used by hotels, higher education, tourism, and economic development efforts. This program needs to be sustainable so that photos can be updated frequently.

  8. There would be more studio space for artists if only businesses see the benefits of virtual offices!


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