Meet Chris

Chris with bike

Civic involvement is in Chris’s blood. His father was a Chamber of Commerce leader and chaired the hospital board in Pittsfield in Western Massachusetts where he grew up. His mother was a League of Women Voters chapter president and sat on the board of the local community college, even though she herself never earned a degree.

After earning degrees in Computer and Systems Engineering and Business Management Chris started his career in the Boston area. He followed a job with Tektronix to the region in 1988. Instead of the two-year stint he was expecting, he fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. Within a few years, Chris settled into the NW Portland neighborhood, attracted to the neighborhood’s lively, walkable character. He met and bought a home with his partner Staci Paley and took on the role of step-dad for Christopher and Alethea.

Chris and Staci

His love of the neighborhood led him to serve as neighborhood transportation chair, which began a robust, lengthy tenure in public service that continues to this day. Chris’s interest in walkable neighborhoods led him to a seat on the Portland Streetcar board, the first of a mindboggling number  of committees, boards and commissions centered around transportation and land use, including service on the influential TPAC and MPAC committees at Metro, and over a decade of service on the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission. He has consistently been a voice for sustainable and equitable urbanism, walking, biking and transit.

Since his Tektronix division was acquired, his day job has been leading the technology behind Xerox websites. He recently retired from Xerox.

Along the way he chaired the Board of Artists Repertory Theater, created the popular Portland Transport blog, worked on a number of candidate and ballot measure campaigns, served on two City Club studies and ran for a Portland City Council seat in 2008.

In 2012, he was the first public official to vote against the Rose Quarter freeway expansion and later helped found the No More Freeways campaign as part of his fight for a transportation system that will respond to the challenge of climate change. The campaign has successfully solicited thousands of community letters in opposition to the proposed billion dollar freeway expansion and enjoyed the support of numerous elected officials, public health advocates, and transportation experts.

While serving on the Planning and Sustainability Commission, Chris has also helped preserve 800 acres of habitat on West Hayden Island, fought off a propane terminal on the Columbia and enacted prohibitions on new fossil fuel handling facilities in Portland.

Chris, Staci and Buttercup

Chris can be seen riding around the district on a bright yellow eBike, his principal form of transportation. He and Staci still live in Northwest Portland with their dog Buttercup. 

Chris Smith’s Civic Resume

Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission
2009-Present (including four years as vice chair)
Developed the Portland Plan, a strategic plan for the city. Updated Comprehensive Plan and Transportation System Plan. Rewrote zoning code to provided increased housing opportunities.

Transit Appliance Project
Non-profit, open-source project providing transit arrival screens in cafes, lobbys, hotels, etc.

Portland Streetcar
2003-Present member of Board of Directors
1998-2009 member of Citizens Advisory Committee (chair 2003-2009

City Club of Portland
2002-2006 – Member of Board of Governors
2002-2005 – Chair of Advocacy Board
2000 – Chaired Measure 6 Study Committee
1997-2000 – Member of Density Study Committee

City of Portland Budget Advisor
Reviewed bureau budget submissions with City Council

Climate Action Plan Update Steering Committee

Barbur Concept Plan Advisory Committee
High-level review of land use opportunities around Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project

Mayor’s Transportation Cabinet (Mayor Sam Adams)

Bicycle Master Plan Steering Committee
Updated plan to target 25% mode split

Streetcar System Plan System Advisory Committee
Developed 50-year vision for city-wide Streetcar system

Candidate for Portland City Council
Qualified for public financing and campaigned on making Portland a
model for sustainability.

Safe, Sound and Green Streets Task Force
Seek sustainable funding for maintaining transportation infrastructure and
safety improvements.

Project Homeless Connect – Transportation Lead
One-day event to connect homeless families with services

Chair/Treasurer – Citizens for Accountable City Government
Ballot Measure campaign opposing changing Portland’s form of government to “Strong Mayor” structure

Metro Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC)
Appointed representative for citizens of Multnomah County

Portland Office of Transportation Budget Advisory Committee

A blog on transportation issues in the metro area

Mayor’s Roundtable on the Central City (Mayor Vera Katz)

Burnside Transportation and Urban Design Stakeholders Advisory Committee
Examined options for both East side and West side couplets. East side was implemented.

Metro Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee (TPAC)

Volunteer Staff Member – Committee for Our Oregon
Opposing Ballot Measures 8, 91 & 93.

Board Member of Citizens for Sensible Transportation
Regional advocacy for transportation policy and tactics to reduce
dependency on automobiles.

Board Member of Northwest District Association (NWDA) and Transportation Committee Chair
Advocate for transportation needs of the Northwest Portland community.

Board Member of Artists Repertory Theatre
As Board Chair for two years led operational turn-around of not-for-profit
theater, retiring accumulated deficit and preparing for a successful
$1.2M capital campaign