Mayor Wheeler's ambitious citywide lighting plan helps improves safety, visibility for local businesses  

News Article

Today, the Mayor’s lighting plan is in its second phase of bringing more lighting to the sidewalks and storefronts of Portland.  

"This lighting plan is a win-win for Portland, particularly during the dark months of winter, as we work to activate, cleanup and light the city,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Improved lighting on sidewalks and storefronts increases visibility to help improve safety and deter crime while making business districts more inviting.” 

Under the Public Environment Management Office (PEMO), a team working to address livability issues in the City of Portland as established by Mayor Ted Wheeler in May of last year under an Emergency Declaration, light installations are expanding across the city. The City partners with local business districts across Portland, offering to help manage and fund some of the lighting and installation.  

PEMO staff regularly meet with business associations and community stakeholder advisory groups in weekly meetings facilitated by Mayor Wheeler’s office, including Expediting Table meetings and Problem Solver meetings. 

Local business districts and PEMO identify areas with trees and infrastructure for possible installations. Urban Forestry reviews street tree light proposals to ensure appropriate installation.  

Phase 1: (installed) building off the historic downtown holiday lighting, the City has added lighting to 6 blocks of parks (Director’s Park, 3 South Park Blocks, Chapman and Lownsdale Squares) in the central city; increased the time the lighting will remain in place; and added 4 additional blocks of street tree lighting (City Hall, PDX Building, 3rd and Pine) 

Street tree lighting from Burnside to Glisan on NW 3rd, NW 4th and NW 5th avenues 

71 street trees on NE Sandy, NE 42nd and Kelly Plaza 

18 street trees on St. Johns Plaza 

Phase 2: (installation in progress) 

35 Street trees in Montavilla on SE Stark and SE Glisan 

142 trees in the Jade District (82nd, SE Division) 

103 trees on NE Fremont (Beaumont) 

Lents Commons (Portland Prosper is funding lighting trees in plaza adjacent to their building) 

Phase 3: (future installation projects)  

NE Broadway 

Lloyd District 

Central Eastside District 

SE Hawthorne  

St Johns (North Lombard) 


Foster Powell  

North Williams/Dawson Park 

Business Districts interested in participating in the lighting plan can email

“Covid was tough on our district,” said Maura White volunteer president of the Hollywood Booster Business Association. “Working with the city we’ve been able to light up the street trees making Sandy more inviting for pedestrians.” 

—Maura White/Hollywood Boosters, Northeast Portland 

"The additional district lighting in our Plaza that we were able to get with the help of Anne and her team really added to the festive and welcoming atmosphere in the heart of downtown St Johns during the holiday season and beyond. Creating an inviting public space helps keep the space engaged and activated both during the day at night, which means more people spending time in the district and patronizing our small businesses, as well as providing an accessible, outdoor option for the community to enjoy the holiday tree, eat outdoors, or meet up with friends. Any extra cheer in the dark months of winter is truly appreciated and embodies our "Light Up St Johns" tag line!" 

—Liz Smith, President of the St Johns Boosters Business Association, North Portland 

"While we are timing the turning on of our lights with Chinese New Year at the end of January, we are incredibly optimistic, and have felt so supported by the City for prioritizing this type of creative solution for our neighborhood."  

—Old Town Jessie Burke/Society Hotel and OCTA Chair 

“We would like to thank the City of Portland for the new tree lighting installed last month around the Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown. It has brightened the area up considerably and enhanced the arrival experience for our guests. We continue to support these programs, led by the City of Portland, to make the neighborhood and the city more welcoming to visitors both local and from out of town.” 

—Alex Dawes – GM, Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown 

“The enhanced lighting has created a warm and festive atmosphere throughout the Downtown and Old Town areas. Our goal is to increase safety and activations throughout our district, we were thrilled that this partnership with the City allowed our traditional holiday lighting program to be expanded and extended as it never has been before. The light installations are bringing people downtown and into public spaces in joyful and meaningful ways. In fact, there was actually a couple who got married under one of the light installations. For me, this is a demonstration of the positive impact that can happen when the City, community organizations, and private citizens collaborate on civic projects and programs.  It has been the highlight of my year.”    

—Sydney Mead, Senior Director of Downtown Programs for Downtown Portland Clean & Safe