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City Council approves appointments to the City of Portland’s new Planning Commission

Press Release
Eight new commissioners will help guide equitable growth and development across the city.
Published

Portland, Ore.— After voting in January to approve a new commission for the City of Portland focused on land use planning and equitable growth and development, on Feb. 22, City Council approved the appointments of eight inaugural members of the new Planning Commission.

"I want to thank these volunteers for their willingness to serve our City,” said Commissioner Carmen Rubio. “The new Planning Commissioners bring expertise in a range of areas – land use and planning, architecture and design, conservation and natural resources, and community development law – and I am excited about the shared commitment to economic, climate and racial justice in consideration of land use plans and policies."

Newly appointed Planning Commissioners

Michael Alexander 

Michael Alexander headshot
Michael Alexander, Planning Commissioner

Alexander is currently chair of the board of directors of The Albina Vision Trust. He also serves as chair of The Black United Fund and sits on the boards for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon and Wells Fargo Community. In June 2016, Alexander was appointed by Governor Kate Brown to 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 Lange

Wade Lange headshot
Wade Lange, Planning Commissioner

Lange was a founding member of the Lloyd EcoDistrict and served as chair of the Lloyd Community Association. Lange also served on the City’s North/Northeast Quadrant advisory committee for the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, and on budget-advisory groups for both the Portland Development Commission and the Bureau of Development Services.

Mary-Rain O’Meara 

Mary-Rain O'Meara
Mary-Rain O'Meara, Planning Commissioner

O-Meara is the senior director of community development at Central City Concern. She leads and facilitates community development outreach and engagement and volunteers with master planning and public housing development initiatives, working with residents of public housing and neighborhood members to gather input and develop a vision for community revitalization.

Nikesh J. Patel 

Nikesh Patel headshot
Nikesh Patel, Planning Commissioner

Patel is a land use and development attorney at Dunn Carney LLP. He served as a law clerk for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in Washington, D.C., and as an honors attorney for the City of Portland. As a Portland native and a first-generation Oregonian, he focuses on the success of development goals, while working collaboratively with local governments and communities to establish common objectives.

Michael Pouncil 

Michael Pouncil headshot
Michael Pouncil, Planning Commissioner

Pouncil is an environmental resource management and policy specialist and serves as the chair of the Willamette River Cleanup Portland Harbor Citizens Advisory Group. He organizes forums for private and public government stakeholders to investigate and collaborate on remediation work for the Portland Harbor Superfund. He also developed a river educational center at Green Anchor Eco-Industrial Park. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies with a minor in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) from Portland State University. 

Steph Routh 

Steph Routh headshot
Steph Routh, Planning Commissioner and former Planning and Sustainability Commission Chair

Routh was the former, and first, executive director of Oregon Walks, and the former communications and marketing manager for the Community Cycling Center. She has been a member of numerous Portland boards and committees, including the Jade District Policy and Equity Committee, Oregon Department of Transportation Region 1 Area Commission on Transportation, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation Budget Advisory Committee. Routh was the most recent former chair of the Planning and Sustainability Commission. 

Eli Spevak 

Eli Spevak headshot
Eli Spevak, Planning Commissioner and former Planning and Sustainability Commission Chair

Spevak is the founder of Orange Splot, LLC, managing the financing and construction of more than 250 units of affordable housing through community-based nonprofit organizations. He was a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University. He was the Planning and Sustainability Commission Chair between 2019 and 2021. 

Erica Thompson 

Erica Thompson headshot
Erica Thompson, Planning Commissioner and former Planning and Sustainability Commission Vice Chair

Thompson holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon. Her work experience includes commercial, mixed-use, housing, and nonprofit projects. She has previous experience in energy efficiency consulting. Thompson served as a vice chair for the Planning and Sustainability Commission in 2022.

Planning Commission background and next steps

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.

In January, City Council adopted the Planning Commission Code Amendments Project (PCCA), which amends the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and Title 33, Planning and Zoning, to define the purpose, powers, and duties of a new Planning Commission to focus on land use planning, specifically on plans and projects that implement the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, the Central City 2035 Plan and other land use plans. Later this year, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will begin work to create a new commission that will focus on climate and sustainability. 

The Planning Commission is a nine-member commission. Recruitment for the ninth position will begin later this spring. The new Commission's first meeting will be March 14.  

About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) develops creative and practical solutions to enhance Portland’s livability, preserve distinctive places and plan for a resilient future. BPS collaborates with community partners to provide comprehensive land use, neighborhood, district, economic, historic and environmental planning, and urban design; research, policy and technical services to advance green building, energy efficiency and the use of solar and renewable energy, waste prevention, composting and recycling, and a sustainable food system; and policy and actions to address climate change.

Contact

Eden Dabbs

City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability