Collaborating with communities is what we're all about.


A core aspect of our mission is helping communities work together to find shared goals. We do this through visioning workshops, design walks, surveys, mapping special places and buildings, identifying opportunities and common priorities. Begun as a project for Division in the midst of major redevelopment, our approach was to work together with communities to find out what was important to them and we've done this in as many diverse ways we could. From there our work has grown as more and more communities started asking for our help. So in 2019, we scaled up to a Citywide project so we could help more communities in need. With the pandemic, we've had to limit our typical outreach but are excited to tap into more creative approaches and welcome your ideas. We know we have much more to do to reach diverse and under-served communities and are committed to "doing the work" internally and externally to foster safe and inclusive approaches, that reach people where they are at in ways that feel easy, and overcome barriers to participation.

We're all unpaid volunteers, so we do what we can as we have time, leveraging support of community partners, student research and internships, and many dedicated professionals in architecture, urban planning, policy, landscape architecture, photography, art, and public involvement.

Research is also a big part of our work and key to evidence based recommendations that illustrate what we hear as common themes, and shared goals. Below are a few examples that informed development of our PDX main street design guidelines. You can see other ways we've engaged communities with art, placemaking, design awards, educational workshops on sustainability and affordable housing, policy education and advocacy on our Events page as well. 

Main street design guidelines and goals reflect priorities overwhelming heard by communities over years of public engagement including

  • 20+ inter-neighborhood design committee meetings

  • five visioning workshops

  • Nearly 300 online Division Perception Surveys

  • 450 cards from “Your Voice Matters” Vision Boxes at nine installations over nine months

  • six walking tours

  • five street fairs, tabling at farmers markets and grocery stores

  • countless neighborhood meetings and presentations around the City

  • many business association meetings

  • ~150 DOZA policy comment forms

We've also...

  • Hosted two affordable housing workshops

  • Organized a (Park)ing Day street installation turning parking spaces into mini-parklets

  • Written grants to support neighborhood and business associations planning efforts to engage the public in planning and public involvement

  • Hosted multiple photography shows highlighting the pattern language of main streets and context-sensitive development

  • Started a design awards program to honor projects that foster context-sensitive design, good adaptive reuse, culturally important buildings, missing middle housing, art and innovation

  • Research, and outreach to educate communities about indigenous land acknowledgements and strategies to turn values into action

  • And so much more....

Want to get involved? See our Volunteer page to learn more. See our Contact page to get in touch.