Fall Conference “Growing Together Virtually 2.0” Update

Conference Logo: Two crossed compass arrows with a green outline of Washington and Oregon states, a green silhouette of a pine tree, and APA in green text. Bordered by a blue ring with the text "Growing Together Virtually 2.0"

Our fall conference is again a joint conference with the Oregon APA Chapter, and will be held October 13-15, 2021 using Zoom and Whova apps. The conference theme “Growing Together – Virtually 2.0” builds on last year’s joint conference, with an emphasis on issues that are of interest to all of our communities, such as resilience in the wake of the pandemic, racial equity, missing middle housing strategies, engagement with underrepresented populations, retrofitting suburban development, and climate action strategies.

The conference committee has selected three dynamic keynote speakers this year. Interestingly, none of them refer to themselves as practicing planners, but all work in related fields that intersect with the planning profession. The conference committee believes their “outsider perspective” and unique fields and interests will generate a lot of discussion and will set the tone for many of the breakout sessions that will follow.

  • Cupid Alexander most recently served as Spokane’s Director of Neighborhoods, Housing and Human Services, and prior to that was senior policy advisor on housing to Mayor Wheeler of Portland, OR. In addition to working in larger cities in Washington and Oregon, and now as a department director in a major U.S. city, he brings a depth of experience in affordable housing and racial equity issues, two key themes of this year’s conference. Mr. Alexander’s talk will be provocative and engaging as someone who has seen how housing policy can transform communities for the better, if it’s done right. Meet Cupid Alexander - YouTube

  • Joe Salvo is the recently retired Chief Demographer for the New York City Department of City Planning. Mr. Salvo is a self-proclaimed “data geek” who has been featured in the New York Times for his census work for NYC. Many planners have no idea how powerful a tool the 2020 Census can be in shaping public policy, let alone how to go about using it. Through a combination of insights into the powers of using census data, story-telling, and humor, Mr. Salvo is skilled at getting people excited about data-driven decision making and how immigration and population change affect communities. He is sensitive to the pitfall of coming across as “that guy from NYC” to an OR/WA audience, but he can speak to planners as policy wonks who operate in politically difficult situations at times. How N.Y.C.’s Population Expert Says the City Will Bounce Back - The New York Times (nytimes.com); Why the Census Matters (mcny.org) Scroll down for a video that Joe cut for this piece to promote NYC census participation. 

  • Ellen Dunham-Jones is a professor in the School of Architecture at Georgia Tech University and is an award-winning architect and expert in urbanism. She co-authored Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs and has been a keynote speaker at numerous planning conferences and featured on TedTalk. Earlier this year her follow up book Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia was published. Whether you work for a small town, county, or large city, suburban-style development can be found everywhere. Professor Dunham-Jones takes an unblinking look at our underperforming suburbs and suburban development – and proposes plans for making them livable and sustainable and how retrofitting suburbs can advance equity and climate action goals. Ellen Dunham-Jones: Retrofitting suburbia - YouTube

The conference program committee has selected a number of quality break-out sessions, and there are enough sessions to allow conference attendees to choose from up to three sessions at a time, whereas last year only two sessions were offered at the same time. The program committee is currently contacting selected proposers to ensure that the sessions are well-executed and, if possible, tie back to one or more of the keynote speakers.

Sponsorship Opportunities

The conference is in need of sponsors, both from public agencies and the private sector. The sponsorship levels will be the same as last year, with the deadline being October 1, 2021, to be included in the conference program. For more information, visit the APA Oregon Chapter website or contact Stephanie Green.

Local In-person Activities!

Although our fall conference will be held remotely, Oregon and Washington are opening up to in-person gatherings and we are encouraging in-person conference-related events in both states. We need people willing to plan and schedule such events – during the conference itself and during the week of the conference (including weekends!). What project or educational, social, or networking event in your community would you like to celebrate with your colleagues, and then follow-up with a visit to a nearby restaurant, pub or park? Learn more or send the details of your in-person event to Nancy Eklund and Stephanie Green and we’ll promote it in the conference materials, as well as on the chapter website – ALL chapter members are encouraged to be a part of these in-person activities – even those not attending the conference!

Learn more about conference registration and sponsorship online. One more reason to register for this year’s conference is that the sessions will be available for a full year following the conference, so you won’t need to miss any of the sessions or CM credits!

The conference committee sincerely looks forward to seeing you in October.