Chris brings to his candidacy to this Metro Council race decades of leadership on local committees, working with government agencies and community organizations to stick up for climate-smart communities and affordable housing. We put his full civic resume on the on his biography page (it’s quite long!) but we thought it best to pull out nine specific highlights from his tenure.
1 – Helped Reform Portland’s Housing Policies
As a thought leader on the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC), Chris helped create opportunities for more housing supply and more affordable housing with Inclusionary Housing (IH/IZ), Better Housing by Design (BHD) and Residential Infill (RIP) Projects. Siting of shelters has also been made simpler and the Commission is now considering ways to help churches add housing to their properties.
2 – Fossil Fuel Infrastructure – Kept a Propane Terminal off the Columbia
Chris led the opposition on the PSC to siting a propane terminal on Port of Portland property (originally supported by the Major). By the time the debate was over, the Mayor would refuse to put the issue on the City Council agenda. This led to further City of Portland prohibitions on new fossil fuel facilities.
3 – No More Freeways: Rose Quarter and CRC
As a blogger, Chris chronicled and then opposed the proposal for the Columbia River Crossing, designed with a twelve-lane cross-section by ODOT. In 2012 he became the first public official to vote against the unnecessary and harmful freeway expansion at the Rose Quarter and later convened the advocacy effort now known as “No More Freeways” to continue opposition to the project.
4 – Protecting West Hayden Island, 800 contiguous acres of natural habit
When the Port of Portland wanted to develop West Hayden Island as a marine terminal, Chris insisted that a Health Impact Assessment be completed before considering the proposal. The result was an accurate price tag to protect human and environmental health, and new thinking from the Port.
5 – Advancing Walking and Biking
Chris has consistently supporting make walking and biking easier in Portland, supporting the key Comprehensive Plan policy that prioritizes walking, biking and transit ahead of automobiles, then using that policy to shape zoning and other tools.
He served on the steering committee for the last Bicycle Master Plan update and recently completed a five-year effort to implement one of its key recommendations, an overhaul of the zoning for bicycle parking in new development. As a result new buildings in Portland will now have secure and adequate bike parking to support the goal of 25% of all trips in the city by bicycle.
5 – Streetcars that Support Our Community
Chris joined the board of Portland Streetcar when it was being built through his neighborhood. He has used that platform to make sure Streetcar development serves the City’s goals, helping create sustainable housing in Portland’s Central City and nearby neighborhoods. 39% of Portland’s affordable housing is within a quarter mile of a Streetcar line.
6 – City Club Leader, Campaign Finance Reform Champion
Chris chaired the ballot measure study committee for 2000’s Measure 6, one of the first proposals for public campaign finance in the state. This became the foundation for the Club’s support of Portland’s Voter Owned Elections system.
As a member of the the Club’s Board of Governor’s, Chris chaired the Advocacy Board and institutionalized the Club’s advocacy process.
7 – Vision Zero, in the Details
Chris leveraged the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s role as the recommending body for garbage and recycling rates to push for mandatory side guards on all solid waste trucks regulated by the City. These side guards prevent a vulnerable road user from being fatally swept under the rear wheels in a collision. The fleet will be fully updated by 2025.
8 – Where’s my Bus?
Chris was one of the first software developers to make use of TriMet’s real time tracking. Today, one of his side projects is a non-profit that has installed transit arrival screens in more than 60 office lobbies, cafes, hotels and affordable housing buildings, with 20 more targeted for East Portland this year through a grant with Metro.
9 – Empowering Youth
Chris advocated for a Youth Commissioner position on the Planning and Sustainability Commission – someone who would actually live through the entire timeline of plans being created. Six years later, three amazing young people have served and proved invaluable to Commission decisions.