Last night, the Portland City-Wide Land Use Group, a group predominately made up of land-use representatives from Portland’s 95 neighborhood associations, met to discuss the issue of Neighborhood Character and how it might be better defined in the Portland Plan. This is certainly a great issue to have on the table and it is our hope that many people will contribute to the discussion in the coming months.

For its part, the City has a definition for “desired character” already written into the thick volume of zoning code language also known as Title 33.

Here’s that definition:  “The preferred and envisioned character (usually of an area) based on the purpose statement or character statement of the base zone, overlay zone, or plan district. It also includes the preferred and envisioned character based upon any adopted area plans or design guidelines for an area.”

The first thing one might notice is that there does not appear to be any consideration of existing conditions in a given area. Instead, the emphasis is on “preferred and envisioned” or what folks at the City might want an area to be, whether it has any of those characteristics to begin with or not.

So here’s where you can help us help the City. If you have a personal take on what neighborhood character means to you or how you would define it, please post your comment to this blog post or email it to me: [email protected] .

There’s no need to share your name if you don’t want to, but please do let us know what neighborhood you live in, so we have some point of reference when we relay your comments.

Thanks and have a Happy Thanksgiving!