Portland city planners say that for the central city to continue to thrive, it must grow even more dense.
As they work on a wide-ranging plan for the future of the central city, a blueprint to ensure that downtown Portland's next 20 years are as successful as its past 40, planners and citizen volunteers have come up with a strange, fascinating, seemingly counterintuitive equation. For Portland to remain the healthy cultural and financial heart of the region, they say, the number of trips made downtown each day must double. The amount of greenhouse gas emitted must remain the same. And the number of vehicle miles traveled in the central city -- the average number of miles each of us put on our odometer on any given day -- must drop by close to 40 percent.
"It's a head-scratcher when you first think about," said Andre Baugh, chairman of the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission, the volunteer group that helps craft city development policy.
But the projections tie into what the experts say central Portland must become to remain the region's economic heart: A city that feels more like ... a city.
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