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Local aspirations for growth

Planning and conservation    Planning library    Local aspirations

In 2009 Metro asked each city and county in the region to share their aspirations to create and sustain healthy and vital places to live, work and play.

Making a vision a reality is not a simple task. Often when people are asked to describe what they want their communities to be like in the future they use descriptions of how it should look and function. They describe the vibrant environment of people coming and going on the street, the inviting streetscapes of established neighborhoods and prosperous businesses that would anchor the community.

In an effort to better understand how and where local communities intend to grow and how the region can support them, Metro asked cities and counties to summarize their local aspirations. The aspirations reflect the communities' priorities for redevelopment, the values that guide their decisions and the challenges and barriers they anticipate to achieving these aspirations.

Investing in our future

In 1995, with the support of the public and elected officials of the region, Metro adopted the 2040 Growth Concept as a vision to guide growth and development throughout the region over the coming decades. Since then, communities have updated their zoning, targeted their investments and taken other steps to implement this vision.

In 2009 Metro staff asked each of the city and county planning directors in the region to share the aspirations that their community has adopted or is developing. Of the 25 cities and three counties in the metro region, 18 cities and one county submitted their growth aspiration in writing. In addition, three neighboring communities outside of Metro (Banks, North Plains and Vancouver) responded in recognition that the aspirations of one community can affect development in another. The local aspirations submitted to Metro can be downloaded from the links below. These aspirations will likely evolve as communities update their comprehensive plans and modify their policies to respond to changing circumstances and growth challenges.

What values do the local aspirations reflect?

The aspirations reflect the values of the region for vibrant communities that have a balance of jobs and housing, economic prosperity, safe and reliable transportation choices and clean air, water and healthy ecosystems. Several of the aspirations reflect concerns about climate change and a desire to develop a sustainable community. The submissions also demonstrated the shared values that the communities have of focusing development in existing centers, corridors and employment areas and preserving the integrity of existing single family neighborhoods.

What kinds of investments are needed to support these aspirations?

In order to achieve the aspirations, communities listed a series of investments that need to be made to serve as catalysts of growth. Investments fall into several categories:

  • Transit, particularly high capacity transit but also frequent bus service and transit facilities such as a transit center or park and ride
  • Infrastructure, including basic infrastructure such as sanitary sewer, water and stormwater management as well as civic infrastructure buildings such as schools
  • Local access roads and more regional highway and arterial access
  • Connectivity enhancements, including improvements to the pedestrian and bicycle systems
  • Parks, open spaces and trails
  • Brownfield clean up and other efforts to prepare sites for development
  • Financial incentives that encourage 2040 style development within Centers and Corridors including incentives that support vertically integrated mixed use

To better illustrate the types of investments that are already in place and those that are necessary to achieve stated growth aspirations, Metro has developed the "Investing in Great Places matrix" that provides a snapshot of the region's centers, corridors and employment areas and a picture of the recent investments that have been made or are being considered to support these aspirations. This set of charts outlines existing and proposed investments and will aid local governments and the Metro Council in making decisions as to how best to direct limited public investments to support desired community development outcomes.

The matrix is available to download below with the recommendations from Metro's chief operating officer on strategies for a sustainable and prosperous region. Go to the Investing in Great Places matrix

Regional and local partnerships

Achieving these local aspirations and supporting great communities requires a combination of land use and transportation policy decisions and public and private financial investments. Regional public investments are more effective in leveraging local private investments when the local plans are in place to support development and commitments are made to provide amenities, parking and other financial incentives to achieve the stated development goals. In the coming months, as the region establishes priorities for where and how to direct regional investments, an important consideration will be how the regional and local actions can leverage private investments in local communities.

Related Documents

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Related Links

State of the Centers report

Learn more about the region's 38 distinct regional and town centers and the important roles they play in enhancing the region's quality of life.

Community Investment Toolkit

The Community Investment Toolkit provides information to local governments, nonprofit organizations, developers and community leaders about best practices for creating and enhancing vibrant urban communities.

Brownfields recycling program

Metro is working to promote efficient use of land through redevelopment of contaminated properties that provides economic benefits to communities.

Regional Infrastructure Analysis

As the region’s population grows, one of the challenges to successful implementation of the 2040 Growth Concept is the development and maintenance of critical infrastructure necessary to build and enhance great communities.

System development charges report

Read a report evaluating the strategic use of system development charges to fund planning and infrastructure and promote vibrant communities.

2009 urban growth report

The urban growth report helps inform a regional vision for how and where to grow over the next 20 years. Learn about the 2009 report.

Addressing the region's capacity for growth

In December 2010 the Metro Council adopted an ordinance that addresses the region's housing and employment needs through the year 2030.

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