October 20, 2014
by Julia Havens

Traveling south along the rockies; Mountain bike in tow

Nick Meltzer P.E. University of Oregon Alumni Masters Community and Regional Planning CRP

What do University of Oregon’s Community and Regional Planning (PPPM) Alumni do after they graduate? Or life after CPW – Community Planning Workshop? For Nicholas Meltzer, it’s a peaceful trip on his mountain bike across the Rockies. According to Nick’s blog, Chasing Fall, the inspiration for this trip came from two places:

#1. The grandfather of a friend to Nick  allotted each of his grandchildren some money to go on a trip. It had to be intentional, and each grandchild had to prove how they were going to become a better person because of it.

#2.  An excellent blog post, Everybody needs a Grand Tour, which is about spending time adjusting to a different schedule.

Interested in learning more about the trip, route and Nick’s thoughts on his journey to become a better person? Check out this very awesome blog at chasingfallonabike.wordpress.com

October 16, 2014
by Julia Havens
1 Comment

The Glamorous Aspects of Natural Hazards Planning


FEMA Region X, OEM, DLCD, Deschutes County Sherriff and OPDR staff at the conclusion of a successful two day NHMP training in Bend

FEMA Region X, OEM, DLCD, Deschutes County Sherriff and OPDR staff at a successful two day NHMP Training in Bend

It’s been an eventful year. Twelve months ago, I had a very limited understanding of planning and an even smaller amount of hands-on experience.  When I started down the road as a planner, I had assumed I would get involved in some of the more glamorous aspects of planning such as transportation or smart growth development. I had never considered natural hazards planning glamorous until January when my Community Planning Workshop group worked with the City of Madras to integrate their Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan (NHMP) into their comprehensive plan. Since starting that CPW-Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience (OPDR) project, I’ve gotten more involved with and knowledgeable of the benefits of natural hazards mitigation planning. After my project ended in June, I was sad to think my new found interest in hazard planning had come to an end.

Much to my surprise, I was selected to attend a two-day hazard mitigation workshop this past September.  The workshop was facilitated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and focused on local mitigation planning. Local city emergency managers, sheriffs departments, representatives from Oregon Emergency Management and the Department of Land Conservation and Development, and other organizations across the state and northwest (including Alaska and Washington) were in attendance.

The workshop was very valuable considering my previous CPW project involved all the concepts that were being taught in the workshop. A lot of the information and recommendations that were demonstrated were the same lessons that I had learned through the trial and error of my CPW project.  The training also helped me understand why certain policies are in place. I can now look at planning requirements and understand their importance instead of seeing them as arbitrary boxes that need to check off.

After attending the workshop, hazards mitigation planning is just as much an important and essential planning discipline as transportation planning. That notion was reinforced the next day while working a fair in Lincoln City aimed at increasing residents’ awareness and preparedness for natural hazards. While at the fair, I displayed Lincoln County Risk Maps that showed the potential impact of a tsunami along the Oregon coast, and chatted with visitors, primarily area residents, about our risk maps, the tsunami and natural hazards planning. Because of the training and my previous work experience with my CPW project, I knowledgeably and confidently explain why residents should be aware of potential hazards and why taking a proactive approach to eliminating or reducing the impacts is the best solution for the community. It was a rewarding experience and I was humbled when residents would sincerely thank me for helping their community be more prepared for natural hazards.

Drew Pfefferle OPDR Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience CSC Community Service CenterAbout the Author: Drew Pfefferle is a second year Community and Regional Planning graduate student and CPW graduate teaching fellow (GTF). He is from Twin Falls, Idaho and graduated from California State University Chico with a degree and Parks and Recreation Administration.

October 9, 2014
by Julia Havens

Inside the Body of a Resilient City

Cities are a network of interdependent systems, not unlike the human body; each one depends on the next to function properly.

But unlike our bodies, whose integrated systems work together when faced with injury or illness, and which have mastered “safe failure” so that one interruption doesn’t lead to catastrophic malfunction, our cities’ systems are often developed in silos.

When one system fails, it brings the others down with it.

Inside the Body of a Resilient City Oregon Partnership for Disaster ResilienceAs we look toward building more resilient cities, we’re working on new ways to redesign how our water, energy, and transportation systems work together.

Learn more about the vital role of well-designed, well-connected systems in the face of future growth, stress, and shock:


This blog is from 100 Resilient Cities
Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation

October 7, 2014
by Julia Havens

City of Dallas Master Parks Plan


Meet the Team: Ross Peizer, Anya Dobrowolski, Jen Self, Sarah Allison, Somaly Jaramillo Hurtado

Summer is park season and what better time to start a parks master plan than a time when everybody is thinking of visiting a park? The Dallas Parks Master Plan is an exciting project that allowed one of our Community Planning Workshop (CPW) team not only to visit Dallas’ parks, but also to engage the Dallas community in a variety of ways.

The Dallas Parks and Recreation Master Plan is an initiative of The City of Dallas, Oregon, that seeks to improve its parks system. Parks are a great asset for the economy, environment, and social well being of a city, and the purpose of the Master Plan is to guide the development of the local parks and recreation facilities, and provide goals, policies, and recommendations not only to enhance them, but also to satisfy the Dallas community’s recreational needs.

This summer, the CPW team, with the support of the City of Dallas, started the parks and recreational needs assessment to identify the community’s recreational needs and parks’ improvement opportunities. To gather that information the team developed a website, a household survey, stakeholder interviews, a community profile, a park inventory, and held two community workshops.
This process has had great community participation. The CPW team interviewed eighteen individuals, including the Mayor, the Parks Supervisor, all seven members of the Parks Advisory Board, and all nine members of the City Council. Furthermore, the team held a community workshop during the Dallas Summerfest, 53 people were surveyed and approximately 100 people engaged in fun activities at the courthouse booth. In a second workshop held at the Kingsborough Park, approximately 50 people participated in exercises to guide the park’s design. Additionally, almost 1,600 hundred people have visited the Dallas Parks Master Plan website.

The team obtained valuable information from those community activities which will serve to determine the goals, policies, and recommendations for the park system. The main findings from the parks and recreational needs assessment are:

  • The Dallas community wants family-friendly and inclusive parks with activities and a welcoming environment for a wide range of people including kids, teenagers, adults, seniors, disabled people, and others.
  • The Dallas community is fairly satisfied with its park system, although it would like to have more facilities and a wider variety of activities to do at the parks:
    • People want water features and splash areas, playground areas, biking and walking trails, a skate park, BMX tracks, and basketball courts.
    • People have a big need for more facilities that enhance the park experience such as restrooms, covered areas, picnic tables, drinking fountains, and benches.
  • The Dallas community wants natural environment-oriented parks. Residents really enjoy having access to the creek. They value and would like to see improvement in the Japanese garden and the arboretum. In addition, they would like to have more trees and shaded areas.
  • The Dallas community is primarily familiar with the Dallas City Park, and not with the City’s other parks. This opens an opportunity to promote these parks and develop activities that encourage people to visit them.

The summer has ended, school is back in session, and the CPW team is waiting to get back the household survey to complete the needs assessment. The next step is to develop the vision, goals, policies, and recommendations for the Dallas’ park system.

Thanks Dallas community for your great participation in this process!

Stay informed about the master plan at www.dallasoregonparks.com.