Greetings from the Publisher, Summer 2011

What do you look for in a good beach read? I look for a good story, of course, but I also want something that teaches me a lesson from the past, forces me to question my assumptions about the present, and prompts me to imagine the future. We offer this summer issue of Metroscape® as an opportunity to dig into some thought provoking pieces about the past, present, and future forces shaping our metropolitan region and the challenges of making policy under conditions of uncertainty.

The Landscape focuses on Cornelius, where demographic changes in the midst of a stubborn recession pose challenges for those working to create economic opportunity. The piece points to city’s leaders commitment to form partnerships that leverage the community’s resources and to maximize the effectiveness of investments.

You’d never think a public service as mundane as wastewater treatment could be trendy, but it turns out that it’s the most recent addition to a long list of sustainable practices being developed, applied, and tested in our region. Lisa Eckman explores the world of small-scale wastewater treatment as a case study of how public services are evolving due to the need for efficiency and innovation.

How else has innovation influenced our public services and urban form? The historical transportation maps of this issue’s periodic atlas show how transportation technology and policy affected the way our region emerged and changed. The policy decisions of the past continue to influence what we see and experience on our residential and commercial streets today.

If you’re up for a long summer run, you’re not alone. Running has been part of our region’s economy and its culture since Phil Knight started selling sneakers out of the back of his car down south in Eugene. At the time, it wasn’t considered polite to sweat in public, but today, competitive running events are extremely popular. Amy Jackson’s interview with David Sobolik enlightens readers about how running and runners have changed over the past few decades.

What is the future of Damascus? Liona Tannesen Burnham explores the complex issues and emotions surrounding the recent vote to scrap the city’s comprehensive plan. In ten years, what will the editor of Metroscape® write about the implications of this vote? How will it affect the future identity, economy, aesthetics, and demographics of the city and the region?

Finally, the indicator page examines health outcomes and the factors affecting those outcomes for each county in Oregon, as reported by the University of Wisconsin. Given what we understand today about the social determinants of health, these maps paint a picture of the quality of life that involves more than physical and mental well-being.

Pull up a beach chair and dig in! As always, the Metroscape staff looks forward to your comments and discussion about this issue. Feel free to comment at ims@pdx.edu, or discuss your observations about the articles on our Facebook page.

Sheila Martin
Director
Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies