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Master of Urban and Regional Planning Student Projects
Master of Urban and Regional Planning Student Projects

Connect Cascade Locks: A Trails Plan for Economic Development (Client: Port of Cascade Locks)

Students: Michael Ahillen, Sarah Bronstein, Ellen Dorsey, Danielle Fuchs, Sara Morrissey, Chloe Ritter

Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the City of Cascade Locks is a point of entry for regional and national trail systems. Recreational development opportunities abound for the community including mountain biking, hiking, sailing, bird watching, road biking, wind surfing, fishing, and camping. As the only city located directly on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cascade Locks sees thousands of hikers pass through every year. The Historic Columbia River Highway, a National Scenic Byway, draws in bicyclists and motorists from across the region. With these opportunities in mind, Celilo Planning Studio worked with the Port of Cascade Locks to develop a plan that identifies potential areas for economic growth. The purpose of Connect Cascade Locks is to increase the economic development prospects of the community of Cascade Locks through a regionally integrated recreational trails network. Connect Cascade Locks focuses on increasing access to regional trails in town, trail stewardship, identifying goods and services that trail users desire, developing opportunities for local businesses, and recognizing existing local attractions. The plan capitalizes on existing opportunities as well as the enthusiasm of the Cascade Locks community to help revitalize the town. Connect Cascade Locks has already galvanized partner organizations such as the Port and ODOT to start planning new trails and outdoor recreation opportunities in Cascade Locks. The plan is also available at:

Portland Mercado (Client: Hacienda Community Development Corporation)

Students: Abigail Cermak, David Ruelas, Bridger Wineman, Ellen Wyoming

Realizing public goals of an inclusive and vibrant society requires an advocacy approach to urban planning and economic development. Adelante Planning outlines strategies based on research and case studies to successfully implement a Mercado as an economic development and business incubation strategy for Portland’s Latino community. A Mercado is a strategic planning approach targeted toward
Latino populations and other minorities, particularly in gentrifying locations of the Portland Metro region.

Diggable City Project: Making Urban Agriculture a Planning Priority (Client: City of Portland, Office of Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Brendan Finn, Bureau Liaison)

Students: Kevin Balmer, James Gill, Heather Kaplinger, Joe Miller, Melissa Peterson, Amanda Rhoads, Paul Rosenbloom, Teak Wall

In addition to an inventory of potential urban agriculture sites, the team also conducted a literature review, held focus groups with relevant stakeholders, conducted numerous interviews, and administered and analyzed surveys. The results of these outreach efforts greatly informed criteria development and recommendations, and expanded our understanding of the potential for urban agriculture in Portland. The final vision statement and evaluation criteria will be used to evaluate the goals for implementation that may be used to move Portland closer to its vision for food access. The final report will include a matrix evaluating the effectiveness and appropriateness of recommended strategies for BPS and other organizations.

No Vacancy (Client: Central Eastside Industrial District)

Students: Becky Dann, Beth Somerfield, Emily Rice, Briana Meier

Vacant lots and buildings, whether in stages of redevelopment or decline, are spaces in flux. Left unused, these empty spaces can pose difficult challenges for their owners and surrounding neighborhoods; however, the uncertain futures of vacant sites also present unique opportunities for a variety of temporary uses. In partnership with the Central Eastside Industrial Council, LocusLab is exploring the potential to enliven the Central Eastside Industrial District by activating vacant spaces with temporary activities and developments.  
The team has worked to:

  • uncover potential benefits of temporary use
  • find ways to overcome barriers faced by temporary projects
  • initiate a conversation between property owners, potential space users, neighbors and supporting organizations about the future of temporary use of empty spaces in the District.

Food Cartology (Client: Bureau of Planning and Sustainability)

Students: Hannah Kapell, Peter Katon, Amy Koski, Jingping Li, Colin Price, Karen Thalhamme

The Urban Vitality Group (UVG) partnered with the City of Portland, Bureau of Planning to study the effects that food carts have on street vitality and neighborhood livability. The number of food carts within the city seems to be growing, while the City lacks sufficient knowledge about the industry to guide policy. The purpose of the study was to assess the benefits and negative consequences of allowing food carts within the city and to ascertain what economic opportunities may be offered by food carts, especially for low-income and minority entrepreneurs. The findings indicate that food carts have significant community benefits to neighborhood livability by fostering social interactions, walkability, and by providing interim uses for vacant parcels. Additionally, carts provide good employment opportunities for immigrants and low-income individuals to begin their own businesses, although there are significant barriers to continued stability and success. The City’s support of the food cart industry can advance the key public values expressed in VisionPDX and benefit all Portlanders.