This evening the Bright Lights Discussion Series from Portland Spaces magazine and the City Club of Portland continues with Randy Gragg's interview of planner John Fregonese.
"As most of you know, John’s leading major planning efforts across the country," Randy said in a recent email. "We’ll be talking about that work, focusing on lessons from elsewhere Portland and Oregon might learn from. But we’ll also be talking about John’s work developing a plan for the Big Look Task Force, the first major review of Oregon’s legendary landuse system since its inauguration three decades ago."
The "Big Look", created by the governor and the legislature, is a 10-leader task force from around the state and across the political spectrum, seeking to retool the state's efforts to balance farmland and open-space protection with property rights and urban growth. Fregonese, who will lead the task force, has worked for cities such as Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago, and Houston, as well as the entire state of Louisiana. "His views often run against Oregon orthodoxy," Randy's email goes on, "but before joining the national planning big leagues, he rose through the Oregon minors, serving as planning director of Woodburn, Ashland, and Portland's regional government, Metro."
The Big Look is a promising effort. Oregon has rested on its planning laurels of the 1970s for too long, some say. Can we be optimistic that this will be the way to change that, to make our own mark as caretakers of the state's land use planning?
The discussion starts at 6PM with doors opening at 5:30. As always, Bright Lights is held at Jimmy Mak’s jazz club, 221 NW 10th Ave. Chances are there won't be any blue notes played tonight though.