EAST PORTLAND: No, you cant have a streetcar. Here, have this nice logo, though!
  • EAST PORTLAND: No, you can't have a streetcar. Here, have this nice logo, though!

You can talk and tweet about bioswales or bike lanes till you're blue in the face, but the fact remains that East Portland—much of which wasn't annexed by the city until the 1980s or 90s—remains neglected, lacking sidewalks, parks, or social services.

What it does have is a lot of low-income housing and the people who need government services the most. So the city drafted an East Portland Action Plan last year, which outlines specific steps to improve the lives of East Portlanders. There are no budget items here: it's a wish list for what to do when and if anybody gets the money to do it.

Today the Multnomah County board of commissioners voted unanimously to "adopt" the plan, which means they'll look back to the document when future funding and strategy decisions come up for a vote. Judy Shiprack, whose district covers most of the area in question, makes it clear that no money is being set aside.

"We have such a difficult budget this time around," she says. "But it will guide how we divert resources if and when we are able."

A quick look at the plan (PDF) shows that Multnomah County is a "potential partner" for the city mostly in the area of human services. Some of the projects the county could help with involve gang and crime prevention, help for families with home maintenance, rent, and energy, and increasing civic engagement.

Shiprack says that "all the board members had something nice to say" about the plan. She adds that in light of recent federal budget cuts, "we'll have to make sure we don't turn the dial down too far in East Portland."