The Planning Commission is charged with guiding the City of Portland’s land use planning through stewardship, development, and maintenance and of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code. In their advisory capacity, and through public hearings and discussions, commissioners will review and propose urban design and land use regulations to City Council to achieve City-adopted goals for equitable growth and development with a climate justice lens.
Planning Commission members
The Planning Commission is a nine-member volunteer commission. There are currently eight seated members:
Michael is a graduate of Lewis University in Romeoville, IL, and Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research in PA. Prior to assuming the leadership of the Urban League of Portland in 2012, he served in executive roles at Regence BlueCross Blue Shield of Oregon, Magellan Behavioral Health, Human Affairs Intl, and Aetna, including four years as Vice President and Executive Director of the Aetna Foundation. While at Regence, he was elected Chair of the Cambia (Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield) Foundation. He currently sits on the boards of The Albina Vision Trust (Chair), The Black United Fund (Chair), and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon and Wells Fargo Community Boards. In June of 2016, he was appointed by Gov Kate Brown as a director on the Port of Portland Commission where he serves as Vice President. More recently, he served as interim Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Portland State University from April 2018 to May 2019.
Wade is a native Portlander who graduated from PSU and has managed and developed real estate in Portland and throughout the west coast. Wade was a founding member of the Lloyd EcoDistrict, served as chair of the Lloyd Community Association, served on the City's North/Northeast quadrant for the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, and has served on the budget advisory groups both for the Portland Development Commission and the Bureau of Development Services. Looking to the Planning Commission, Wade is excited to help set a direction for the future prosperity of our city.
Looking to the Planning Commission, Wade is excited to help set a direction for the future prosperity of our city. I’m excited about “working with a diverse community of stakeholders in planning the direction and type of growth our city engages in. I hope for not only a restoration of Portland but setting a direction for the future prosperity of our city."
Mary-Rain O’Meara (Chair)
Mary-Rain is the Senior Director of Community Development at Central City Concern. A graduate of PSU's Masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program, she has focused her career on affordable housing and community revitalization in the Portland Metro Region. Her experience includes Master Planning for large scale public housing communities, the development of mixed-use urban projects from finance through construction completion, and overseeing innovative building conversion and adaptive reuse projects.
Mary-Rain brings a passion for leading and facilitating community development outreach and engagement in her work. “The City of Portland is facing both challenges and opportunities that provide a need for innovation, leadership and vision. Through citizen engagement and strong direction, I believe we can come out of the post-pandemic era even stronger in our communities across the city. I am excited about the possibility of serving on the Planning Commission to bring my dedication to our City in service and collaboration with others to find shared values that can guide us forward.”
Nikesh J. Patel
Nikesh is a land use and development attorney at Dunn Carney LLP. Nikesh assists clients in a variety of development projects, from urban uses in high-density city centers to renewable energy projects in rural areas. Nikesh focuses on the success of development goals while working collaboratively with local governments and communities to establish common objectives. Nikesh has served as a law clerk at the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in Washington, D.C. and as an honors attorney for the City of Portland, and has practiced land use and zoning law at a major international law firm. As a Portland native and a first-generation Oregonian, Nikesh is passionate about the future of local real estate development and the well-being of the community.
“I am excited about utilizing my expertise to contribute to the development and maintenance of the City’s zoning code and to contribute to the City’s long-range planning and development goals. As a Portland native, I am particularly looking forward to serving on the Planning Commission to help make Portland a thriving, livable city for all.”
Michael Pouncil (Vice Chair)
Michael is an environmental resource management and policy specialist and, since 2016, the Chair of the Willamette River Cleanup Portland Harbor Citizens Advisory Group. Michael organizes outreach through forums to inform private and public government stakeholders to collaborate on investigating and collaborating on remediation work for the Portland Harbor Superfund, and developing a river educational center at Green Anchor Eco-industrial Park. He holds a BS in Environmental Studies and a Minor in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) from Portland State University.
Michael’s work and facilitation skills bring an environmental perspective to the work of the Planning Commission. “There has been a consistent lack of voice from North Portland in regard to ecological and environmental concerns. Serving on the Planning Commission is a small step in reversing this trend. Michael wants to support and sustain Portland’s values of anti-racism, equity, transparency, collaboration, and fiscal responsibility. He also seeks to seriously reverse the trend of communities of lower socioeconomic status who disproportionately bear the effects of Portland’s environmental problems.”
Steph was the former (and first) Executive Director of Oregon Walks and the former Communications and Marketing Manager for the Community Cycling Center. Steph has been a member of numerous Portland boards and committees including the Jade District Policy & Equity Committee, ODOT Region 1 Area Commission on Transportation, and the PBOT Budget Advisory Committee. Steph was the most recent former Chair of the Planning and Sustainability Commission.
“I want people to come away feeling a deeper sense of belonging to this place we all call home, and feeling a closer, more positive connection with others. I hold a passion for creating spaces for conversations rooted in respect and inclusion. I believe an engagement effort is on the road to success if, over the course of a project that involves specific communities, there is a tangible shift in project ownership to emerging leaders within those communities. I would hope that my role as a Planning Commission member will demonstrate my commitment to supporting this body's ability to meet its mission.”
Eli is the founder of Orange Splot, LLC, with a mission to pioneer new models of community-oriented, affordable, green housing developments in Portland and has managed the finance and construction of over 250 units of affordable housing through community-based non-profit organizations. Eli was a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design; has a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University; and has a Physics degree from Swarthmore College. He was the Planning and Sustainability Commission Chair in 2019-21.
“I always enjoy a steep learning curve, and also like supporting emerging leaders. I look forward to helping provide continuity and support through the transition, setting the Planning Commission up for success going forward. I often hear testimony from the public and perspectives that are different from my own. I always value and appreciate these alternative perspectives, since it builds my understanding of the issue and expands my appreciation for the array of perspectives out there. I look forward to helping find ways Portland can create the variety of housing it needs to house everyone.”
Erica Thompson (Vice Chair)
Erica's perspective is shaped by a broad range of career and volunteer experiences that go beyond architecture – with common threads of these experiences being a commitment to environmental stewardship and a strong belief in building more equitable and just communities. Her work experience includes commercial, mixed-use, housing, and non-profit projects, and she has previous experience in energy efficiency consulting. Erica has a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon and is dedicated to fostering a collaborative process based on listening and engagement, as the Planning Commission aims to do. Erica served as a Vice Chair for the Planning and Sustainability Commission in 2022.
“Portland’s progressive policy stances on issues ranging from sustainability to affordability and inclusion, are among the reasons I am most proud to be a Portlander. However, for all the great
work we have done, we must do more to minimize our climate impact and to adapt to the changes that have already become inevitable. We must make sure that our efforts and policies prioritize our most vulnerable populations as well as those historically disenfranchised by the power of planning and zoning codes. I want to serve because I am committed to this work. In a period of increasing national uncertainty and fear, I find hope in the possibility of building a better Portland and setting an example for other cities.”
The Planning Commission meets regularly, unless otherwise noted:
- Second Tuesday of each month, 12:30 p.m.
- Fourth Tuesday of each month, 5 p.m.
Meeting agendas are published in the Metro section of The Daily Journal of Commerce before each meeting. Agendas are also posted to this website approximately 7-10 days before each meeting. Individuals or groups may ask to receive the agenda, either via email or hard copy, by contacting BPS staff.
"Briefings" and "Work Sessions" are items for which staff will share and receive information with the Commission.
For items noted as “Hearings” on an agenda, public testimony will be taken.
All meetings are available by live-stream video and minutes are taken. Completed meeting minutes, along with documents and presentations from Commission meetings, and are available approximately 7 days following each meeting in the City of Portland archives:
Meetings are live-streamed on BPS' YouTube channel.
Full-length video of Commission meetings is shown starting the Friday after each meeting on cable Channel 30:
- Fridays at 3 p.m.
- Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday at 7 a.m.