Portland Planners project 301,500 new households will move into the region in the next 20 years and the hot topic of discussion right now is how to plan for those new people in a smart, dense way. Metro President David Bragdon pointed out last week at a neighborhood meeting that Portland is less dense now than it was 50 years ago. "If we accommodate growth the same way we accommodated it over the last 40 to 50 years, this will not be a good place to live," said Bragdon. At a citywide land use meeting last night, neighborhood leaders grilled Metro representatives with questions about the official vision for Portland's future. Neighbors wanted to know exactly how they could work with Metro to make their little areas good places to live - who should they call if a developer isn't building sidewalks or the neighborhood wants to write up some sort of master plan?

It's a little complicated, said the Metro rep, but here is a supremely helpful flow chart showing exactly how Metro works:

Metro: arrows for everyone!

So that makes total sense now, right? You uninvolved haters who say government is confusing and dense just need to memorize that flow chart and its accompanying four acronyms, THEN you can get heard in the decision making process about your city.

Metro is right now in the process of deciding whether or not to expand the Urban Growth Boundary - the border which limits city sprawl into farmland and forests. Their preliminary report doesn't take any yay or nay stance on whether to expand, but does note that while Metro has added 28,000 acres to the growth boundary since 1979, almost all of our growth has wound up staying in the original boundaries — 95 percent within the last ten years. Hopefully before Metro makes its final decision on the sprawl boundary in September, we'll have figured out how to get involved. Stay tuned.