Former BTA Director will take seat on Planning Commission

Catherine Ciarlo.
(Photo courtesy Catherine Ciarlo)

This Wednesday, City Council will appoint two new members to the Portland Planning Commission. One of those seats will go to former Executive Director of the Bicycle Transporation Alliance, Catherine Ciarlo.

Ciarlo — who is also on the board of the Coalition for a Livable Future Cycle Oregon — led the BTA from 1998-2005 and is now the Executive Director of Oregon Women Lawyers (she has a law degree from Lewis and Clark College).

In an email this morning, Ciarlo said she’s “honored” for the opportunity,

“I’m looking forward to serving on the Planning Commission. When I met with city staff to discuss the possibility of my joining the commission, I made it clear that I want to see Portland head in the direction of environmental sustainability and transportation systems that truly serve people. I am delighted and honored that that vision resonates enough with the Planning Bureau and the Mayor that they decided to appoint me.”

Made up of nine members that are appointed by the Mayor, the Planning Commission oversees a broad scope of planning and policy decisions that have a huge impact on how Portland grows and evolves. According to the City website,

“The Planning Commission advises City Council on any proposal that directly affects any goal or policy related to any element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission also may review and comment on the implementation of city policies in relation to land use issues, amendments to the Zoning Code, urban renewal plans, transportation plans, public facilities plans, tax abatement programs and other citywide policies, as well as street vacations, dedications and name change requests referred to the Commission.”

Back in May I stressed the importance of someone like Ciarlo grabbing a spot on this commission because I believe if Portland wants to become a truly world-class bike city, we must have bicycle-conscious people in these types of roles.

“I want to see Portland head in the direction of environmental sustainability and transportation systems that truly serve people.”
-Catherine Ciarlo

Former City of Portland bike coordinator and now planning consultant Mia Birk says the Planning Commission will play a large role in the Bicycle Master Plan. The plan, which is in the midst of its first update in over ten years, will go before the commission before it is officially adopted by City Council next summer.

Birk — who works as a consultant on the Bike Master Plan for PDOT — says three key components of the plan (zoning code recommendations, policies that set up legislative intent, and street reclassifications) will go to the Commission for approval.

I’m thrilled to see Ciarlo assume this role and I think this is a great step for bicycles in Portland. I was just getting my feet wet in the bike scene when Ciarlo left the BTA, but from what I’ve heard she will be a very effective commissioner.

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Metal Cowboy
15 years ago

I couldn\’t agreee more with the idea of getting bike aware/bike educated folks into positions of long term planning and power in Portland. It goes hand in hand with the community buiding/facts on the ground side of events and organizations like PP and shift. We need cycling and the livable sustainable practices that go with cycling forwarded by planners and commisioners etc. or Portland will simply be a talked about place for cycling but still anytown USA only with a few more cyclist – with or without clothes on 😉

Jim O\'Horo
Jim O\'Horo
15 years ago

WOW! Best news I\’ve heard in a long time. Catherine wil be great in that role. Congratulations Catherine.

Scott Bricker, BTA
15 years ago

Congrats Catherine.

Martha R
Martha R
15 years ago

Great news! Cathy\’s an amazing person. Congratulations!

Alison Hill
15 years ago

Congratulations, Catherine! Thanks for your service.

It\’s a promising step for the commission to include such a passionate and talented bicycle advocate.

Jessica Roberts
Jessica Roberts
15 years ago

Catherine is one of the people I admire most. She\’s visionary and practical, and she loves bikes (as well as walking, transit, and other things that contribute to good communities). I have high hopes for her time on the Planning Commission.

Congrats, Catherine!

Robert Ping
Robert Ping
15 years ago

Go Catherine! I think you will provide an important perspective on the Commission, and I am happy that the City has made this great decision. Congratulations! (Now, where are you going to find the time for this?)

Josh Berezin
Josh Berezin
15 years ago

Great news for Catherine and for Portland! Yay!

Lenny Anderson
15 years ago

Congrats Catherine,
I know you will be effective in your new assignment…time to dig out that copy of \”Cities & People\” to get a long term perspective.