Chair Jeff Cogen shares strategies on local, regional government with Chinese delegates
Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen joined former Portland city commissioner Charlie Hales and Metro council president Tom Hughes on Wednesday to share philosophies on local and regional government with some visiting Chinese dignitaries.
Metro, serving more than 1.5 million residents in the Portland metropolitan area, is an elected regional government that oversees the collection and disposal of solid waste, broad-range land use planning, conservation and the maintenance of many public sites, including parks and cemeteries.
The discussion focused on how the City of Portland and Multnomah County interact with Metro.
The delegates asked the officials about their responsibilities and local-regional collaboration. Many of them were curious about how cooperation might be beneficial in Chinese planning efforts
The discussion also covered how the government has utilized new tools such as Facebook and Twitter to reach out to the public, Portland’s funding and tax structure, revitalization, and attracting youth to the region.
Chair Cogen also talked about the challenges of urban growth boundaries.
“We are competing with other cities without urban growth boundaries,” Chair Cogen said. “And that makes it hard to get firms who can otherwise build on farmland.”
But the panel agreed that, with planning, the challenges of meeting future demands can be met.
“There are some things that really are regional,” he said. “I think the economy is one of them. Planning is another. With Metro, we’ve identified a group of areas which we can see development for in the next 50 years.”