Focus Areas: Walkability, Food Access, Economic Health, and Leadership Development
The Alliance has engaged members, the public, decision makers, and economic and civic leaders at a number of events in 2013 (Big Ideas Forum) and 2014 (OAPA Annual Conference). Based on the feedback from these events, the Alliance is working on four focus areas—walkability, economic health, food access, and leadership development—to help make Oregon healthy, vibrant, and resilient for all.
Our cities and towns are where much human activity comes together and is intensified — innovation and learning, economic activity, social and civic interaction, recreation, and everyday living. Studies show that all of these activities are enhanced and magnified in communities that are highly walkable.
However, many cities in Oregon still struggle to provide safe, clean, well-connected, and walkable neighborhoods, especially in some of the poorest parts of town. Oregon 2050 is working with the State of Oregon and students to identify barriers to creating walkable communities and develop a range of practical solutions to overcome those barriers.
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The food system is a complex web of interconnected levers that extend from international trade agreements in the global food supply to personal food purchasing behaviors at local farmers markets. Many efforts are underway to improve and strengthen the Portland region's food system, but much more needs to be done there and across the state.
Many local governments throughout Oregon need to adopt provisions to increase the production of local, healthy, and affordable food through such measures as designating urban areas for agricultural purposes, adopting institutional purchasing agreements for local and healthy food preferences and setting targets for local agricultural investments.
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On-going, effective, and collaborative leadership will be the key to making real and substantial change in the future. Oregon 2050 intends to increase the influence of its partner organizations on the major issues affecting Oregon's future by enhancing their leadership capacity. This will involve indentifying on-going opportunities for new professionals, emerging leaders and experienced leaders to sharpen their leadership skills and expand their professional network. Where appropriate at local, county, state, and national levels of government and commerce, we want our organizations to be "champions" that can support the Oregon 2050 vision and be effective front-line leaders on critical issues, strategies, and solutions.
Traditional economic development strategies often focused on attracting major industries and enhancing traded sector activities. Creating a healthier economy for all Oregonians will involve expanding those activities to more consciously 'build, grow and buy locally, and sell globally.' For example, food and energy are two major economic sectors with potential for change. Even though Oregon is one of the best places in the world to grow food and has abundant renewable energy sources, Oregonians purchase approximately 90-95% of food from outside the region, and 85% of energy produced outside the state. Development of regional food systems and renewable energy alone present an opportunity to generate billions for the state's economy. Think about other opportunities...they are endless.
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