September 15, 2023 at 3:57 p.m.

Findings presented

Firm shares initial thoughts about redevelopment plan
Cynthia Bowen of Rundell Ernstberger Associates speaks Thursday at John Jay Center for Learning during a presentation of findings following a series of focus groups and a public open house Tuesday regarding plans for downtown Portland. (The Commercial Review/Ray Cooney)
Cynthia Bowen of Rundell Ernstberger Associates speaks Thursday at John Jay Center for Learning during a presentation of findings following a series of focus groups and a public open house Tuesday regarding plans for downtown Portland. (The Commercial Review/Ray Cooney)

By RAY COONEY
President, editor and publisher

A group of design and planning specialists spent Tuesday meeting with and learning from Portland leaders, business owners and residents.

They presented their initial summary Thursday.

Rundell Ernstberger Associates representatives shared the results of focus groups and an open house and their suggestions for the Portland Downtown Economic Development Plan.

Their effort boiled down to the following vision statement, which looks to the future to what is wanted for the downtown area:

“Downtown Portland is the heart of the city and a hub of uses, activities, recreation, education, art and culture that bring people together to live, work, shop and play. 

“There is a strong sense of place because of its charm, historical architecture, eclectic murals, activated streets and its multi-generational spaces providing opportunities to support a diversifying population, thriving businesses, forward thinkers and visionary leaders.”

In order to make that vision a reality, Rundell Ernstberger Associates laid out the following goals:

•Create a strong foundation for sustainable revitalization

•Increase Portland’s tax base

•Support Portland’s transformation by enhancing its physical and visual assets

•Create, diversify and expand employment opportunities

•Increase housing opportunities

•Enhance the economic health and vitality of Portland

•Create an entrepreneurial environment that supports and fosters small business opportunities

•Increase connectivity

•Sustain, increase and enhance tourism

Among the objectives the organization recommends to help achieve the goals are developing a downtown marketing strategy, forming a downtown investment group, providing training for small business owners, developing co-working and incubator spaces, reforming zoning and other regulations to encourage business development, and strengthening the vacant building ordinance.

PORTLAND WEATHER

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